Want us to reduce spend? An open letter from employees to CFOs everywhere.

In Spend management by James Deem

Dear CFOs,

We employees have been doing some talking. It turns out a few of us are happy with how our companies approach employee spend management. Upon further examination, the happy folks either (a) work in an environment that has already solved the issues outlined below, or (b) never deal with managing employee spend during their day to day.

The rest of us are pretty livid. Here’s why:

Spend management policies are disconnected from reality.

According to the Aberdeen Group (yes, we did some research), best-in-class T&E expense management companies are 67% more likely to involve multiple stakeholders in policy development. That makes total sense, and frankly, we’re surprised it’s not closer to 100%.

Why wouldn’t you involve the people who can quickly tell you whether a policy (that makes sense on paper) makes sense from a practical standpoint? How would you feel if your boss handed down strict guidelines for how to perform your job without ever consulting you?

We’ve incidentally started our own spend management support group. It’s just people taking turns telling their own non-fiction horror stories.

You wouldn’t believe the stuff we’re dealing with. We’ve got people wasting hours on password management, let alone the actual work that needs to be done once they get into the system. And speaking of systems, do you realize how many different platforms, tools, apps, sites, docs, etc. you have us using? You’ve managed to turn spend management into rocket science (Disclaimer: None of us have actually worked in rocket science, but we can’t imagine it’s far off).

We’ve got people who make $50+ an hour performing hour-long tasks to save $5. At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got people flushing $100s down the toilet with each transaction because it’s easier than using the recommended system. There’s no oversight to prevent it, or insight to catch it.

It’s not all venting. Great ideas are flowing. In fact, here’s one idea for your first new spend management policy upon reading this letter: Do not enact another spend management policy without first seeking feedback from the people it will directly affect.

A sensible solution is within reach.

Look, we both want the same things. We want the peace of mind that comes from working for a financially stable company. We want to work in an environment where logic ultimately wins, where people are generally happy (although some of us will settle for “not miserable”). We think you can agree that’s not too much to ask.

So let’s get there together. Our collective current states are filled with complexity, and we’re here to help you simplify (and trust us, there are ample opportunities to simplify).

We’re ready when you are.

Let’s make our company faster, stronger, and smarter, shall we?


Your faithful employees


To help bring you up to speed before we meet again – or for many of us, meet for the first time – we recommend checking out A New Hope for Employee Spend Management.

About the Author
James Deem

James Deem

James Deem will make the opposition green with envy as he highlights our awesome social events, casts a spotlight on our amazing collection of talent, and provides potential hires with insight into who we are, what we do, and why Deem is one of the hottest places to work in San Francisco. Keep an eye on the culture blog for frequent updates on all things Deem.