More than ever, companies are looking to digitization to provide the accurate data and connectivity that they need to cope with a post-covid world.

That is the finding from our groundbreaking annual Travel and Expenses survey. We asked finance departments all across Europe what their priorities were for 2021 and what we found were some striking differences.

The impact of Covid-19 was, as you’d expect game-changing and the way that finance department coped with the upheaval showed the resilience and creativity of accounting teams.

We surveyed people between September 2019 and August 2020, and have drawn on data from Kivu users across France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. In addition to this, we also commissioned an independent survey company, Census wide, who questioned more than 200 financial directors at companies with 500-5,000 employees.

What we saw was a diverse range of opinions, that differed markedly in some cases from territory to territory.

Table of contents
  1. What do we mean by ‘digitized systems’?
  2. Which are the most connected industries?
  3. How finance teams are changing
  4. Accurate data is a priority
  5. Covid has accelerated change

What do we mean by ‘digitized systems’?

If you read the academic papers then there is quite a lot of discussion of the origins and use of the word ‘digitization’.

However, to most finance professionals, the term digitization means the use of digital systems to connect people, systems, companies, products and services.

Digitizing your finance function can mean connecting your internal systems, using software and apps instead of analogue methods of recording data and connecting to outside agencies to send and receive information.

The Kivu Travel and Expenses system is a perfect example of where an analogue method of claiming expenses, in other words, paper, can be replaced by a digital method.

The adoption of digital systems to increase efficiency and improve data accuracy has been going on for some time now and our survey shows that take-up has increased.

When we asked whether they had digitized already, two-thirds of respondents said either, ‘Completely, all our processes are online with no paper’, or ‘mostly, all the major functions’ were digitized.

This shows that the message about the benefits of digitization is hitting home – digitized systems mean accurate data.

Bearing in mind that our survey data goes up to August 2020, it will be interesting to see whether the subsequent lockdowns have persuaded more companies to look to new systems.