Spend Management
New research reveals the next big CAS opportunity for accounting firms: spend management

New research reveals the next big CAS opportunity for accounting firms: spend management

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Client accounting services (CAS) represents one of the strongest growth opportunities for accounting firms, with a 2022 survey from and AICPA finding CAS practices have reported a “double digit trend in growth” every year since 2018.

CAS offerings have developed in lockstep with technology advancements for more than a decade. For example, payments digitization and automation has made it more efficient and profitable for firms to provide bill pay services–so much so that accounts payable (

Now, new research from ahas uncovered the next opportunity for CAS offerings: spend management.

The research report, From Expense Tracking to Spend Management: The Next Client Advisory Services (CAS) Opportunity for Accounting Firms, collected responses from both small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and accounting firms to understand the need for spend management services and how firms can expand offerings and elevate profitability.

Moving beyond expense tracking

Before diving into the benefits of spend management, it’s important to understand what spend management services offer and the value to clients. In general, the accounting community often interchanges the terms “spend management” and “expense management.” However, spend management includes expense management and much more.

Spend management is the ability to view, control, and manage a business’s cash flow (including expenses) in real-time within a single, centralized location. This offers actionable insights to key financial decision-makers. It also represents a proactive approach to managing spend that requires an integrated platform linked to corporate cards. This supports pre-set budgeting and spend caps while also offering more control of spend via real-time updates, enforced expense guidelines, and reporting.

Automated spend management can include travel, expenses, and all other types of spend. For example, businesses use BILL Spend & Expense to budget for, manage, and control costs such as software subscriptions, online advertising like Google Ads, utilities, supplies, and more–ultimately providing a more comprehensive, real-time view into a company’s financial performance. Plus, its card-based approach allots applicable cash-back rewards to companies, not individual card-holders.

51% of SMBs that outsource expense management said their accounting firm implemented card-based spend management technology and it has been a game changer for their company.

3 takeaways from the spend management research report

The survey, which includes responses from 368 accounting and 763 SMB participants, shares compelling data in support of offering spend management services.  Here are the top three.

1. SMBs want proactive spend management.

The survey results show that there is a demand from SMBs for spend management services from accounting firms.

69% of the SMB respondents said they want a new way to manage spend, citing challenges like spending too much time on expense tracking, accurately coding expenses, and getting real-time visibility into spend.

Nearly three out of four SMBs (72%) responded that they were interested in a proactive approach to spend management–one that includes matching expenses to budgets before the money is spent.

72% of SMBs polled agree that they want a proactive approach to spend management

2. Spend management represents a CAS competitive advantage.

With 72% of SMBs showing interest in spend management, the survey found that only 34% of accounting firms are offering expense management services–meaning firms offering spend management services may have a CAS competitive advantage.

Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of, expands on this concept in the report:

“Businesses are looking to their CPAs and accounting firms more than ever for the next level of advisory services. They want deeper business insights, proactive advice, and a true partner in their trusted advisor. Firms have the opportunity to lead right now, and those who level up their CAS offerings to meet the expectations, such as adding spend management as a service, will have a tremendous edge in the market.

Only 34% of accounting firms offer outsourced expense management services
Stats of how accounting firms interact with clients' expense management programs

3. Spend management services and technology can lead to growth.

The findings indicate that 72% of SMBs that outsource expense management and use spend management software say they’re interested in exploring additional services with their accounting firm. 71% of the same group say they are referring their accounting firms to other companies and colleagues.

These numbers demonstrate an active endorsement from SMBs, which can help boost growth for a CAS practice.

Part of this may stem from the results SMBs are realizing by combining outsourced expense management and spend management technology. When asked to rate the combination, here’s how SMBs responded:

  • 97% agree that they have greater control over spend and are able to stay within budget. 
  • 96% agree that it enforces expense guidelines.
  • 95% say they have a more efficient process for managing expenses.
  • 94% say it automates transaction coding/categorization.

The growth potential is also supported by accounting firms that provide expense management services and track it as a revenue stream. Nearly three out of four agree that the services help them attract and retain clients and 63% say that innovations offered by card-based spend management technology make them more efficient and profitable.

“We are finding that our average growth is at least double, if not triple, the median on our Client Advisory Services. Spend management is what our clients need the most.”  (Megan Bronson, advisory partner for Squire & Company)
Stats of how outsourcing SMBs rate their expense or spend management software

CAS, spend management, and BILL Spend & Expense

The delivery of CAS services continues to become more sophisticated with the help of technological innovation. Likewise, technology is at the heart of proactive, automated, and efficient spend management services.

BILL Spend & Expense is’s preferred corporate card and spend and expense management solution. BILL Spend & Expense technology budgets, tracks and manages expenses in one place, enabling accounting firms and their clients to have greater visibility into cash flow, help save time on closing books, and even eliminate expense reports.

Next steps for accounting firms and CAS practices

Spend management enables firms to offer an additional, high-value advisory service to clients and grow CAS practices, while also supporting clients with deeper data insights to better manage cash flow and fuel growth.

To learn more about BILL Spend & Expense, we recommend you:

1 Survey conducted in partnership with

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.