If you think expense management only means collecting receipts for meals and taxi rides, think again. Your employees spend money every day on things they need for their job. For emerging to mid-sized enterprises, this may range from a new computer to a last-minute trip to keep a customer happy. Many of these companies manage these expenses through a manual process. This means lost productivity for your employees and a lack of visibility into cash flow.

Here are five signs that will help determine if you need a new automated spend management system – which is easier to get than you may think.

1. You’re frustrated by too many expense surprises.

On the 15th of the month, you believed you had enough cash to invest in a new website. Ten days later, you realize the cash is gone because someone bought 10 new laptops. This can be stressful because the website is more important to your business than the laptops.

A new system can help you set up approval processes to define budgets and trigger individual purchasing approvals for laptops and much more. With a purchasing marketplace integrated right into your spend management system, and the option of virtual cards, the ordering process will automatically send out an approval request before the money is spent. With this system, you’ll have the opportunity to decide in real time which is more important for your business, a new website or 10 new laptops.

2. Your forecasts are off because you don’t have enough time to do them correctly.

You find yourself consistently working around the clock at month’s end to reconcile the books and obtain a cash flow forecast for your business. Often, employees put off an unpleasant manual process for expense approvals until the end of the month. Sometimes, they’ll even do several months’ worth at once, long after the actual purchases. This means you spend more time accruing for expenses than accounting for actuals and the resulting forecast never seems to be accurate.

With an automated solution that operates in the cloud, your employees can conduct the entire purchasing process – from sourcing to approvals to expense claims – in one, easy-to-use platform. The virtual card integration empowers a business to issue a payment method (virtual accounts) to all users in their business, no matter how frequently they find themselves needing to buy goods/services, without tying up funds to secure the traditional credit card. Payment methods issued to employees have no limit until they submit a request that must be approved. It’s only at that point that the digital payment method is activated with a set amount to buy.

Also, because this automated platform can be integrated with leading finance systems, the books are balanced as expenses are entered into the system. Now, at the end of the month, the forecast is practically done for you.

3. You feel out of control when it comes to the buying decision process.

Your employees seem to be sourcing and spending all over the place. Maybe two people are buying the same type of supplies from two different suppliers at two different prices. Or travelers are booking trips without a travel policy to guide their choices or even traveler care services if they need help.

By integrating suppliers, including your travel management company’s booking tool, into one easy-to-use spend management tool, you can direct your employees to the suppliers you select. You’ll be able to save money on goods and services and book travel with a trusted agency that can help support your traveling employees as they get back on the road.

4. You fear that you’re not making the right business decisions.

You know your business, but you’re frustrated when it comes to getting the data you and your staff need to make good, timely decisions. You find yourself going to several places to get data, which may be up to 90 days old.

Having one place that shows where a large portion of discretionary spend is made makes it easy to find and analyze all your spend data. Presenting that in an intuitive, integrated digital environment that is available to all can empower your staff to make the right decisions and be accountable for their choices. It becomes easier and quicker for everyone to make better, fact-based business decisions.

5. You’re putting off change to avoid added expense and effort.

Setting up a new spend management solution has been on your to-do list forever. You know you need something better but can’t seem to find the time to do the due diligence before investing in a new tool – much less the time to set it up and onboard your entire staff.

A new spend management solution doesn’t necessarily mean a big IT project. You need a solution that is fast to set up, comes with built-in connections for your business systems and is easy to use for all employees. This type of system will help you get your cash flow in check and keep it there.

Amex GBT Neo1 (Neo1™) addresses all these signs. It’s free to subscribe and only takes five minutes to set up. Once you’re registered, your team can access it from home or office. Integrated with Amazon Business and American Express Global Business Travel, Neo1 allows your employees to source goods, services, and travel all in one place.

If you recognize these signs and want more information on how Neo1 can help, register today. It’s free, takes five minutes to set up, and can help change the way you think about spend management.