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The 12 warning signs of outdated rebate management

Posted by Elizabeth Allcock on September 21, 2020 09:14:41

Most businesses start out managing their rebates using a variety of simple, standalone tools such as financial spreadsheets. But from experience, we know that these outdated rebate management processes can prevent businesses from calculating, accruing, and allocating rebates easily. Businesses that rely upon inefficient rebate processes as they evolve, could face various challenges and risks that prevent growth, efficiency, and increased ROI.

Don’t let obsolete rebate management processes hinder your business’s evolution; discover the twelve warning signs you’ve outgrown your old rebate system or financial spreadsheets and why you need a modern rebate management system that can help you maximize the performance of your B2B deals.

1. Spending too much time on data entry

Do you often find yourself spending hours on end creating reports or staring at financial spreadsheets because your current system can’t keep up? Or do you find yourself constantly manually entering data? Both of these tasks can easily be automated with a rebate management system – so your valuable time is not being wasted.

2. You’re relying too much on financial spreadsheets

Creating, updating, and generating rebate calculations in financial spreadsheets requires a significant amount of manual labour. Plus, financial spreadsheets are extremely limited when it comes to collaboration and version control. For example, employees from several different departments may have contributed data to the spreadsheet which can also present challenges when it comes to regulatory compliance and month-end closings. As such financial spreadsheets can be a warning sign that your rebate processes are not up to the job.



3. Lack of storage for your trading agreements

Business-wide awareness and collaboration are needed in rebate management. However, when a trading agreement is stored within various file paths, emails, and filing cabinets, businesses leave themselves at risk of losing their rebate agreements. The solution to this outdated rebate process is a secure deal repository where teams can organize, track, and store their trading agreements. Along with maintaining version control, quickly locating legacy contracts, track approval statuses, undergo internal and external collaboration, and much more.

4. Unable to measure the real-time cash and financial position of your business

Making informed decisions about your B2B deals and rebates tends to start with access to and a clear understanding of your current financial position. How can you know what’s coming in and going out if your rebate data is kept on an outdated financial spreadsheet? To keep your cash flow thriving, you need to have full visibility into your rebates across the entire business which requires an automated rebate system that has forecasting capabilities and generates financial reports you need to make timely business decisions.

5. You’ve missed critical deadlines

Whether you’ve missed an auto-renewal date on an agreement that’s just not working out and getting locked in for longer than you’d like, or having to renegotiate a contract you’d like to extend without adequate preparation, failure to stay on top of your trading agreements can be costly. At the same time, if you’re managing a large supplier portfolio, you likely have thousands of milestones and deadlines of which to keep track of.

6. Lack of collaboration

To help both sides of the trading relationship succeed, you should be able to share real-time rebate information with your trading partners in an easy and secure way, so you both have clear visibility. If you don’t this could potentially jeopardise the relationship, meaning rebates aren’t claimed. If this applies to you, it could mean that your needs have outgrown your current process and need software that allows your trading partners, and those authorised, to collaborate at any time anywhere.

7. Your rebate data doesn’t feel secure

A natural concern for any businesses is data security and you’re probably too familiar with your financial spreadsheet shutting down before you’ve had a chance to click save, but with a cloud-based rebate management system your data is secure and backed up in real-time – meaning if anything was to happen you’d be able to access it on a different laptop and continue from where you last left off.

8. You have to switch between multiple tools

Switching between tools can waste time and opens the door to human error. Plus, when your numbers live in different places, it’s hard to make sense of them. You need an integrated, all-in-one rebate management system that allows you to work seamlessly without interrupting your workflow. This results in rebates that are always up to date, accurate, and readily available so you can see where your business stands and can plan your next steps.

9. Not cloud-compatible

Cloud compatibility is currently revolutionizing the way businesses operate because say you want to access your rebate deals on the move or collaborate with your trading partners ‘live’ on the system: a basic rebate system or spreadsheet just won’t cut it. Cloud-based rebate management systems are flexible by their very nature, being accessible from any location and always up to date. By moving your rebate management to the cloud, your business will benefit from a rebate system that adapts to your specific needs, instead of making you bend to fit the technology available.

10. Your current processes are not scalable

As your supplier list expands, the complexity of your rebate agreements can become overwhelming. You will most likely find that your legacy system or financial spreadsheets are not designed to scale as the business expands. Hence, when your business is expanding, you need a rebate management software that grows with your business and is able to cope with your complex rebates.

11. Your team complains about usability

If your current rebate software or processes are causing employees to complain that it’s difficult to use or that it’s preventing them from completing their tasks, this is a major sign that your system needs updating or replacing. Usability is key, so failing to update an outdated system could cause your employees to start working outside the software, diminishing both its value and effectiveness. This could also result in data inputting becoming prone to human error, making monitoring and reporting on your rebates extremely difficult. When you implement Enable, we provide your employees with additional and ongoing training to help them become more familiar with it in a shorter time frame.

12. Strong reliance on key people

Older rebate systems, especially those that have been developed in-house or are heavily customized, are usually reliant on just one or two people in the business to keep them running smoothly. These employees know the system inside out, but what if they decided to leave? This could pose a large threat to the success of your trading agreements. The solution is to select a modern rebate management system that is easy to use, to guarantee there will always be someone in your team who can manage the system.


Every business will face a range of different issues with their current processes and it is essential you regularly review them to determine if you’re using an outdated system or process. Start by trying to evaluate how your business’ requirements have changed over time against how your system is currently performing.

We know that embracing automation can seem daunting. However, the good news is that Enable has years of experience in supporting businesses to implement the right rebate management software for them. We can not only help you claim against missing rebate but also give you a significant edge over your competitors.

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Topics: Rebate Management, Rebate Management System