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Understanding Business Expenses

Leen Shami

November 10, 2022

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All companies and businesses will incur business expenses, but how can you know what exactly is considered business expenses? And how will the introduction of UAE corporate taxes affect business expenses and income reports?

What are business expenses?

Business expenses are costs a business incurs to run the business properly. In simpler terms, they're expenses made by the business for the business.

With the UAE introducing corporate tax laws in 2023, it's crucial for businesses to be able to track and categorize their business expenses, as some of them may be tax deductible.

While the IRS may divide business expenses into ordinary and necessary business expenses, the UAE takes a different approach.

Ordinary business expenses are anything that is "common and accepted" to a business, whereas necessary expenses are anything that is "helpful and appropriate" to a business but not essential.

The federal tax authority in the UAE does not take a similar approach and only considers business expenses as tax deductible or not. We will discuss this in a later section.

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Examples of business expenses

Business expenses include a wide range of expenses, from insurance to office space, to online subscriptions, such as Zoom, Figma, or Adobe.

Let's break it down; if a design agency bills a client AED 120K per year, that doesn't mean they made a profit of 120K. When a business brings in revenue, it must account for the business expenses made to provide its clients with its services. These services include digital software subscriptions, office rent, employee wage, and/or wifi fees.

Here are some examples of the most common business expenses:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Business travel (fuel, airfare, taxis, etc.)
  • Employee costs (payroll, salaries, insurance, perks, etc.)
  • Employee equipment (such as laptops, monitors, phones, etc.)
  • Legal fees
  • Office space rent & utilities
  • Software subscriptions

While many more expenses are considered business expenses, these are the ones most businesses will incur.

Types of business expenses

When setting up a budgeting plan, business expenses play a vital role in keeping the businesses' financials in check. When preparing a budgeting plan, finance teams typically begin by looking at the three types of business expenses incurred.

These business expenses include:

3 types of business expense; fixed, variable, and periodic

1. Fixed expenses

Fixed costs are costs that do not change; they happen at known intervals, such as month to month.

With predictable costs, budgeting is more straightforward, as these costs are always expected and never come as a surprise.

Examples of fixed expenses include:

  • Rent
  • Employee payroll/salaries
  • Utility bills
  • Insurance

2. Variable expenses

Variable expenses are business expenses that change from month to month. These costs vary depending on a company's production or sales volume; if production or sales increase, variable expenses increase, and if production or sales decrease, variable expenses decrease as well.

Variable expenses are typically a business's largest expense, as some may be unexpected or unaccounted for.

To calculate the variable cost, multiply the quantity of the output by the variable cost per unit of output.

Total variable cost = Total quantity of output X Variable cost per unit of output

Examples of variable expenses include:

  • Shipping expenses
  • Sales commissions
  • Raw materials (used in production)

3. Periodic expenses

Periodic expenses are business expenses that happen infrequently or, sometimes, semi-regularly.

Typically, periodic expenses happen on a quarterly or yearly basis, such as annual car insurance, but can also come as a surprise, such as a company car repair.

Budgeting can be tricky with periodic expenses, especially when expenses are infrequent.

Examples of periodic expenses include:

  • Maintenance & repairs
  • Merger and acquisitions costs
  • Major equipment purchases

Profit and loss statement report

A profit and loss (P&L) statement, also known as an income statement, is commonly used when businesses record business expenses. Through the P&L, businesses can determine their taxable income. This is especially important for UAE businesses with an annual net income above AED 375,000.

The 3 categories of an income statement include the following:

1. Costs of goods sold (COGS)

Costs of goods sold are the costs associated with the production of goods sold by a company. This typically includes direct costs only, such as materials used and labor costs to create the goods sold. Indirect expenses are not calculated regarding COGS; these include sales and marketing.

For a business to determine gross profit, the costs of goods sold must be deducted from its revenue. They also affect how much profit a company makes on its products.

2. Operating costs

For a business to run, operating costs are unavoidable.

Generally speaking, operating costs relate to a business's daily maintenance and administration. These include costs such as COGS, payroll, rent, and overhead costs. However, non-operating costs, such as interest and investments, are excluded from an income statement.

An income statement reflects operating income after operating costs are deducted from revenue.

3. Depreciation

When accounting for depreciation, there are two types to look at:

a. Depreciation expense

A depreciation expense is a loss in value of fixed assets that companies record through depreciation. During the period you use an asset, its value decreases, and the price you originally paid for it is allocated over time.

An example would be a physical asset that loses value over time, such as a car or vehicle.

b. Accumulated depreciation

Accumulated depreciation refers to the accumulated depreciation charge a specific asset has taken as it wears down or becomes obsolete. Accumulated depreciation is shown on the balance sheet, unlike depreciation expenses reported on the income statement.

Personal and business expenses

Knowing the difference between personal and business expenses incurred is vital, especially with the UAE corporate tax law coming up. Business expenses can be used to lower a business's taxable income; however, personal expenses incurred are not considered deductible expenses.

So, what's the difference between personal and business expenses?

Personal expenses

Personal expenses are purchases made for personal reasons and cannot be used as deductible expenses.

If you make a purchase for the business but add in an item for personal use, it is crucial to have two transactions to avoid mishaps coming your way. Having two receipts will help you record and store the receipt so the business expenses can be used as deductible expenses.

Business expenses

If you're making purchases that benefit the business, such as driving more revenue, they can be considered business expenses. When making business expenses, it's essential to keep a record of the purchase by storing the receipts. By doing so, you can use these business expenses to lower your tax liability by deducting the amount from your income.

Tax deductible expenses

We've reviewed personal expenses, the 3 types of business expenses, and what goes into P&L statements. But which of these are considered tax-deductible expenses? In a nutshell, all the above, other than personal expenses. Let's delve deeper into tax-deductible expenses.

Tax deductible expenses are business expenses that help businesses generate revenue. These expenses are deducted from the company's income before applying any taxes.

Examples of tax-deductible expenses:

  • Administration fees
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Bank charges
  • Insurance
  • Legal fees
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Office expenses
  • Office rent
  • Payroll/salaries
  • Supplies
  • Travel and transportation
  • Utilities

Non-deductible tax expenses

Non-deductible tax expenses cannot be deducted from a company's income.

In the UAE, there are 3 main categories for non-deductible tax expenses:

1. Related party payments from the mainland to a Free Zone Person

The related party payments made to a Free Zone Person that is taxed at 0% on receipt of the income will not be deductible for CT purposes. However, if the payment is attributed to a mainland branch of the Free Zone Person, the related party can claim a deduction.

2. Entertainment expenses

Because these types of expenses often also have a non-business or personal element, businesses can deduct up to 50% of the expense incurred to entertain customers, shareholders, suppliers, and other business partners.

3. Other expenses

No deduction will be allowed for certain specific other expenses, such as 

  • Administrative penalties
  • Recoverable VAT
  • Donations paid to an organization that is not an approved charity or public benefit organization.

How to keep track of business expenses

To maintain your business, it's important to track your business expenses. There are several ways to track business expenses; however, you will need to establish a system to account for costs and accurately manage your business.

Here are 6 steps to keep track of your business expenses:

1. Open a business bank account

A business bank account should be completely separate from your personal checking account and must only be used for business expenses/purposes. This will help you manage your business expenses easily and give you eligibility for business credit cards or, even better, Pluto corporate cards.

2. Select an accounting system

If you haven't chosen an accounting system yet, choosing one that's appropriate for your business is vital. Some businesses opt for spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel; however, to simplify the accounting process, we recommend going for accounting software that will automate the process for you.

3. Choose cash or accrual accounting

Choosing cash or accrual accounting typically depends on the size of your business.

Small businesses can use cash accounting and record transactions when they happen, as volumes are small.

For bigger businesses, accrual accounting is essential, as they have high volumes of transactions. With accrual accounting, only the product sold is recorded, rather than payment received for the product. Similarly, an expense is recorded when a bill is received rather than when an invoice is paid.

4. Store receipts

Storing receipts is essential, as they are proof of business expenses made. You can store receipts by scanning them, taking photos, and keeping digital copies.

5. Regularly manage and record expenses

It's important to track spending and categorize them accordingly. Examine every transaction to compare these business expenses to your revenue.

6. Consider subscribing to an expense software

For some businesses, it is worth looking into expense management software to automate the process of tracking, managing, and recording expenses.

Tracking business expenses with Pluto

If you choose to go for an expense management software, it will help you automate the tracking, managing, and recording of expenses. But Pluto's expense management software offers more than just tracking, managing, and recording your business expenses.

Pluto will keep detailed records of all your expenses, reduce your taxable income, and help you if you are audited or need to reconcile accounts.

With Pluto, you'll be able to do the following:

Store receipts

  • Upload your receipt through Whatsapp or the Pluto app as soon as a business expense is made
  • Store all digital receipts on Pluto's software
Upload receipts using Whatsapp

Record business expenses

  • All transactions are recorded on the software automatically when using Pluto corporate cards
  • Petty cash is automated, meaning expenses are recorded on the spot
  • If an expense is made using an employee's personal card, the expense is recorded automatically as soon as they file for a reimbursement

Track business expenses

  • All business expenses made by employees can be tracked through Pluto's dashboard
  • Daily, weekly, or monthly expense reports are available in real-time
Real-time reporting through Pluto

Accounting integrations

  • Pluto integrates with all major accounting platforms

Auto-categorization

  • All expenses recorded are auto-categorized through Pluto's AI technology
  • Pluto categories are synced to your GL codes

Create tax codes

  • Create and activate tax codes that sync with your accounting platform to mark expenses as tax deductible or not
Create and activate tax codes on Pluto's dashboard

Business expense FAQs

More often than not, business expenses have many different rules. Here are the commonly asked questions about business expenses:

How do I categorize expenses?

Most accounting software already has business categories incorporated in the software, so you can use them and amend them as needed.

Pluto's expense management software allows integrations with significant accounting platforms and automatically syncs to your GL codes and chart of accounts.

Do fuel costs count as business expenses?

If the fuel cost was made for business purposes, such as travel for a client meeting, then yes, it is counted as a business expense and can be considered tax deductible.

However, driving to and from work is rarely considered a business expense.

Can business expenses be carried forward?

The UAE corporate tax law details report still hasn't come out yet. We will update this question once the Federal Tax Authority shares more details in the UAE.

Is personal expenses tax deductible?

No. Personal expenses are not tax deductible.

Is my rent deductible if I am self-employed and my home is my office?

In some cases, yes, it is possible if you are self-employed, but only a certain percentage of your rent will be considered a business expense, for example, 25% of your rent.

Find out how much your business can save with Pluto

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Learn how Pluto is helping Keyper        to eliminate petty cash spending and optimize spend management

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At Pluto Card, our mission is to assist businesses of all scales make well-informed choices. To uphold our standards, we follow editorial guidelines to guarantee that our content consistently aligns with our high-quality benchmarks.

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Spend Management
November 12, 2022

Leen Shami

Expense Management; Definition, Types & Tips

Effective expense management is a critical aspect of any organization's financial health, ensuring smooth operation through controlled employee spending. Employees frequently incur various business expenses, from travel and entertainment to office supplies. To facilitate reimbursement, these expenses must be meticulously reported with detailed descriptions and receipts, subsequently reviewed and approved by line managers and finance teams. This process, central to expense management, not only streamlines how employees pay for business expenses but also provides a comprehensive track of their spending through organized expense reports.

What is expense management?

Expense management is the process of tracking, processing, and reimbursing employee spending. This involves scrutinizing expense reports, evaluating reimbursement claims, and enforcing company policies on permissible expenses. It is a key practice in ensuring adherence to the organization's expense policy while maintaining accurate financial records.

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Why is expense management important?

As an essential part of any business, expense management is vital for various segments of a company, such as the following:

1. Finance teams

An expense management process is the most important to a finance team or accounting department. Their main goal is to sustain accurate business financial records and analyze past trends to determine future business decisions.

Additionally, it can help identify cost-saving opportunities and risks by providing insights into the company's financial health.

2. C-level executives & managers

Owners, managers, or C-levels are more concerned about growing revenue, managing risk, reducing expenses, satisfying employees, and having a productive business.

3. Employees

Having reimbursements processed quickly creates a feeling of trust and satisfaction among employees. This greatly influences the productivity of your employees and your company.

4. Compliance

Maintaining detailed records of your business expenses ensures that your company stays compliant and assists companies in audit activity in case of fraudulent behavior.

Nevertheless, with the corporate income tax being introduced in 2023, expense management makes it simpler for businesses to file their taxes.

Expense management process

The expense management process is designed to safeguard against policy violations and mishaps, and it typically follows a uniform sequence across most businesses:

  1. Employee Expenditure: An employee makes a purchase for business purposes.
  2. Reimbursement Claim Submission: The employee submits a claim for reimbursement of the incurred expense.
  3. Claim Review: The submitted claim is reviewed and either approved or rejected.
  4. Payment Processing: Upon approval, the reimbursement is scheduled, often aligning with the employee's End-of-Month (EOM) salary.

Types of expense management

Approaches to expense management may differ from company to company. Here you'll find the different ways in which expenses are managed:

1. Paper tracking

Employees collect paper receipts and submit them to the accounting department for approval monthly or quarterly. This is the traditional (and outdated) method of managing expenses.

2. Spreadsheets

Businesses, especially in the UAE, usually use spreadsheets to manage their expenses and reduce dependency on paper receipts. Some common spreadsheet software is Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Zoho Sheets.

3. Expense management software

An expense management software simplifies the process for companies by automating it. After an employee makes an expense, the managers are alerted to either accept or reject the expense. If the expense is accepted, it is usually scheduled to be reimbursed with the employee's EOM salary.

4. Pluto: Automated expense management software

Pluto is an expense management software that helps accounting teams save time by automating reimbursements, expense reporting, expense tracking, and budget control.

When a business expense is made, a Whatsapp notification is sent to the employee, prompting them to upload their receipt by snapping a photo; this also simplifies the reconciliation process. When that is done, the admin/manager is notified to accept or reject the expense. If the expense is accepted, it is reimbursed to the employee's bank account in seconds.

On the other hand, Pluto gives you the ability to create unlimited corporate cards with spend limits so you won't have to go through an approval workflow.

Real-time expense reports are also one of the many benefits Pluto offers, helping finance teams, CFOs and accountants make informed decisions. Learn how to improve internal control over financial reporting on our new post.

Pluto's overview dashboard

Traditional vs. automated expense management

Despite the benefits of automated expense management, a large percentage of organizations in the UAE still perform manual expense management. This leads to expense reports that are time-consuming and prone to error.

Traditional expense management

Traditional expense management is one expense management process that relies on several steps to manage spending and ensure the process for an expense claim is correct. As an expense management solution, expense tracking is usually in the form of paper tracking or excel sheets, as mentioned above.

Typically, once employee-initiated expenses are made, the employee must store the expense receipts and file them as reimbursable expenses at the end of the month when the accounting department is doing the end-of-month closing. After the expenses are submitted, the approval process begins. The employee's manager either accepts or rejects the reimbursable expense; if it is accepted, it is sent to the accounting team for reimbursement.

This is considered a nightmare for accounting departments, as they will have to go through manual data entry and spend countless hours on expense reporting at the end of month closing.

Automated expense management

Unlike traditional expense management, automated expense management software reduces time spent on processing expense reports, managing the business's cash flow, reconciliation processing, and controlling expenses incurred for finance teams.

Automated spend management software, such as Pluto, eliminates the manual process and automates the process for finance teams from A-Z. With expense management software like Pluto, you can automate different flows.

Benefits of using an expense management software like Pluto

1. Automate Reimbursements

Pluto helps you manage expenses incurred by digitizing the reimbursement process. Once an expense is made, Pluto sends you a Whatsapp notification prompting you to upload your receipt by replying to the Whatsapp or by uploading it onto the Pluto app. Once that is done, the expense record is saved, so employees don't lose it, and the expense is submitted for approval.

As an added perk, Pluto also auto-categorizes expenses made so employees and finance teams won't have to worry about categorization!

2. Streamline expense reporting

With Pluto, all expense records are in one place, meaning expense reports are automated; this helps accounting departments save hundreds of hours on manual work.

Additionally, expense reports are trackable in real-time, giving managers, finance teams, and accounting departments complete visibility over the business's finances.

Real-time expense reports on Pluto

3. Accounting automation

Close your books 5x faster!

Whether you use Zoho expense, SAP Concur, or Quickbooks, your accounting software can integrate directly with Pluto's platform.

Through our integration, you can also sync your chart of accounts and your GL codes to automate bookkeeping.

Accounting integrations with Pluto

4. Smart budget control

Pluto allows you to issue your employees unlimited corporate cards with spend control. If you have daily allowances, weekly budgets, or travel expenses, you can get better control over your employee spending by setting custom limits on their corporate credit cards.

Expense management advantages for business

If you've reached this far, you might already know the advantages of automated expense management.

1. Accurate expense reporting

  • Real-time, automated expense reports
  • Sort reports by day, week, month, or by department, or category

2. Quick reimbursements

  • Faster approval process for employees and finance teams
  • Auto-categorization when uploading receipts

3. Monitor employee spending

  • See what is being spent and where in real-time
  • Set daily, weekly, or monthly allowances

4. Close books faster

  • Integrate with all major accounting software to close your books 5x faster
  • Sync your GL codes

What is an expense management policy?

Employee spending can be controlled by implementing an expense management policy. The policy can function as grounds for rejecting or questioning expenses and help determine whether they should be reimbursed.

In every expense management policy, the following items should be included:

Types of expenses

 A complete list of everything employees may purchase and what they may not purchase.

Budgets

The current budget should be disclosed to everyone, and those with questions should be able to contact those responsible.

Reimbursements

 A reimbursement policy must specify the reimbursement method, such as online, by credit card, or by other payment methods.

Key features to look for in an expense management software

If you're purchasing an expense management solution, make sure it fills your company's unique needs, offers the right level of functionality, and comes with a dedicated account manager.

Some of the key features you should be looking for are:

1. Real-time expense tracking and reporting

Having real-time expense reports is vital, as it helps finance teams monitor employees' expenses and manage them on the go.

For example, if the company's marketing department uses 70% of its monthly budget in the first two weeks of the month, the finance team can notify them that 70% of the budget has been used so they can plan and budget for the remaining 30%.

With Pluto, you can:

  • Get notified as soon as an expense is made, so you know who spends what, where, and when
  • Keep track of all business expenses, such as reimbursement, travel, and employee expenditure data, to avoid going over budget

2. Quick reimbursements

End-to-end reimbursements are crucial for a business to operate seamlessly. With quick end-to-end reimbursements, employees no longer have to wait till payroll to get reimbursed.

With Pluto, you can:

  • File a reimbursement request through Whatsapp or the Pluto app
  • Get reimbursed in seconds

3. Approval flows

Approval processes should be hassle-free. It's essential to have automated approval flows to ensure employee expenses and expense claims are approved by the right managers.

With Pluto, you can:

  • Automatically assign expenses to the right reviewer
  • Create your own customized approval flow
Approval workflows with Pluto

4. Integration with accounting software

Integrating your accounting platform with your expense management software reduces the time spent on bookkeeping.

With Pluto, you can:

  • Integrate most major accounting platforms
  • Sync your chart of accounts
  • Sync your GL codes
  • Close your books 5x faster

5. Customizable budget control

Setting limits and budgets is essential to control your company's financials fully. This helps your company stay within its budget and avoid mishaps with company spending.

With Pluto, you can:

  • Create unlimited corporate cards with set limits
  • Increase limits on corporate cards in seconds
  • Issue vendor-specific cards
Spend limits & vendor specific payments with Pluto corporate cards

Pluto combines the above features with easy integrations, complete visibility, and total control over every aspect of your company's expense management.

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Updates
December 7, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Pluto Wins Big at the MENA Fintech Awards

The MENA Fintech Awards, a prestigious event within the financial technology industry, recently celebrated the most innovative and impactful solutions in the sector. 

We at Pluto are thrilled to announce that our company has been honoured with the 'Best Corporate Solution' award! This recognition is a testament to our team's hard work, dedication, and innovative approach in the fintech space.

Our co-founders, having spent a considerable part of their lives in the UAE. Working within the fintech sector, identified a significant gap in the region's finance sector. They observed that the tools, platforms, and software available to CFOs and finance teams were not only outdated but also overly complex, hindering efficient financial management.

With Pluto, they embarked on a mission to develop a software solution that would change how mid to enterprise level businesses handled their finances. 

The MENA Fintech Awards, organised in collaboration with the MENA Fintech Association, are designed to recognize excellence and innovation in financial technology. These awards are a highlight of the Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFinanceWeek), an event that fosters innovation and growth in the fintech sector. The 'Best Corporate Solution' category, in which we were victorious, emphasises practical, innovative solutions that address significant corporate financial challenges.

Our award-winning solution, the Pluto Card, addresses various corporate financial management needs. It offers features like employee reimbursements, petty cash management, and an efficient account payable cycle, along with robust accounting integrations. 

Winning the 'Best Corporate Solution' award at the MENA Fintech Awards is not just an honor but also a motivation for our future endeavours. We are excited about our upcoming initiatives, which include further enhancements to the Pluto Card and expanding our market reach to serve more businesses globally.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the organisers of the MENA Fintech Awards and ADFinanceWeek, the judges for recognizing our efforts, and most importantly, our dedicated team and loyal customers. Your support and trust in our solution have been invaluable!

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Procurement
December 20, 2023

Vlad Falin

Procure-to-Pay Process: What it is, Benefits, and Steps Involved

The procure-to-pay process doesn’t mean the procurement process. It is a subset of procurement that integrates purchasing and accounts payable.

Traditionally, the procurement process is scattered across the business, and the procurement team needs help to gain visibility or control. The employees purchase from different vendors, the approval process is chaotic and delayed, the stakeholders are stuck in email threads to review the expenses, and the procurement team struggles to get an overview of the organization’s needs.

Procuring the best goods and services becomes problematic since the team is left with open information loops. As a result, it spends more time optimizing the procurement cost and improving the bottom line.

What is the Procure-to-Pay Process?

The procure-to-pay process streamlines the scattered procurement parts to combine purchases and payments. Instead of a process spread across different software, the procurement process shifts to a centralized platform.

The employees get a dedicated platform to raise purchase requests and obtain approvals. The platform notifies stakeholders, such as managers, legal teams, finance teams, IT teams, and other relevant decision-makers to review and approve the proposals. As a result, the procurement team seamlessly moves to the vendor evaluation and negotiation stage without worrying about approvals or delays. The finance team efficiently handles accounts payable since the purchase and payment process is integrated.

So, while earlier, the purchases were handled solely by the procurement team and payments solely by the finance teams, the procure-to-pay process gives both teams an overview of the process from start to finish. In this post, we will discuss how this procure-to-pay process helps you optimize your procurement function and improve your bottom line.

Why Do You Need a Procure-to-Pay Process?

The procure-to-pay process is not just for your finance team or procurement team. It helps the entire organization to gain resources efficiently. Here are eight ways that demonstrate how moving to a streamlined process benefits you:

1. Visibility

All the relevant stakeholders get visibility into the process and the status. Be it the employee, managers, finance team, legal team, IT team, or procurement team — each one can track the progress without delving into multiple email threads. Additionally, teams get insights that help procurement teams optimize costs with data-driven decision-making.

2. Compliance and Control

You can implement advanced controls, such as customized approval workflows and spending budgets, without micromanaging the teams. You can successfully enforce internal control over financial reporting without creating unnecessary team resentment. 

So, for instance, if any expenses or purchases beyond $50,000 require additional approval from the legal and IT team, you can easily configure those controls within the approval workflow.

3. Streamline Workflows

The traditional process demands the employees to go from one office to another or spend days on email and Slack conversations before the managers give the green signal. At times, approval of a critical stakeholder is missed, causing delays and disrupting the workflow.

With the procure-to-pay process, you can create custom workflows depending on the purchase category, department, amount, etc. This accelerates workflow, and all the relevant stakeholders get notified right away.

4. Centralized Management

The procure-to-pay process integrates purchases and payments to bring all the critical information on a single dashboard. As a result, any discrepancies in the procurement process are identified in minutes. The entire procedure accelerates the real-time visibility of each stage.

5. Reconciliation

A centralized management system makes collecting and storing documents easy; additionally, since it integrates purchases and payments, the information syncs across accounting systems and ERPs.

During the audit season, this becomes a blessing where the finance team doesn’t have to chase teams for complete records. Also, it becomes easier to store and lock all the transactions and share these records with external parties.

6. Risk Management

The procurement operation is prone to financial, operational, and reputational risks. With the procure-to-pay process, teams can efficiently manage the vendors, purchase requests, approvals, and payments on a centralized platform in real time. It reduces the risk of fraud, ensures policy compliance, and provides visibility into spending patterns without burdening any team.

7. Insights

You can easily see the inside out of your procurement process, whether you want to know how much the marketing team spends or which vendor costs you the most. It makes it more convenient to reduce procurement costs and optimize purchases to improve the bottom line. Also, as all the information is centralized, there are no gaps or missing loopholes, providing complete transparency of your expenses.

8. Invoice Management

The procure-to-pay process ensures that all the invoices are captured and extracted into a centralized platform. This facilitates two-way and three-way matching without causing delays. Moreover, the reconciliation process becomes easy as all the records are systematically recorded.

So, whether you receive an invoice via email, WhatsApp, or physical copy, you can easily add it to the system without risking losing an invoice.

What are the Stages in the Procure-to-Pay Process?

The traditional procurement process has over nine steps strewed across different platforms. These include identifying goods and services, purchase requests, vendor selection, negotiation, purchase orders, inspection of the goods received, three-way matching, approvals, and payment and reconciliation.

While the procure-to-pay process doesn’t alter these stages, it integrates them for a streamlined workflow. So, earlier, if the approvals took days or weeks, keeping employees and the procurement team on hold, now it only takes a few minutes or hours. You centralize the procurement process and save money and time.

Here are five key stages in the procure-to-pay process:

1. Purchase Request

Purchase Request

Employees no longer need to travel from one office to another, seeking approvals manually from managers. The streamlined procure-to-pay process gives employees a centralized dashboard to raise requests and specify their needs. It helps the procurement team to understand what the employee needs as well as examine the purchase details. Moreover, the stakeholders can quickly approve or reject the requests from the dedicated platform.

Administrators add customized approval flows to enforce internal policies. They create trigger-based approval workflows based on the expense amount, category, and department to accommodate intricate hierarchies.

For instance, they have the option to create separate workflows for expenses below $5000 and those exceeding a certain budget. Similarly, they can add specific stakeholders to the custom workflows for minimum friction and delay. 

2. Purchase Order

Purchase order

While the vendor evaluation, selection, and negotiation happen on dedicated ERPs, the procure-to-pay process enables you to bring all this information on a consolidated platform. You maintain a synced and consistent database to make purchases faster and more secure.

Pluto integrates with your ERPs and allows you to maintain a centralized vendor database. You can add the vendor directly to the platform and systematically record information. You can add a field in your approval workflow to determine whether the employees are purchasing from a vendor list or a new vendor.

A systematic list helps you consolidate expenses and optimize costs. Moreover, ordering becomes more accessible with a unified platform for raising and approving purchase requests and maintaining an ERP-synced vendor database.

3, Invoice Management

Invoice Management

Traditionally, vendors send invoices to a dedicated email or an address. The employees send them for approval and payment. It takes days to clear the expenses. Additionally, the accounting team spends considerable time and energy on maintaining records.

The procure-to-pay strategy reduces this effort and streamlines the procedure. It captures and extracts the invoice from the emails and attaches to a dedicated purchase request and order. This helps the teams match the purchase order, invoice and goods received note (GRN) without juggling multiple platforms.

It pulls all the information with optical character recognition (OCR) technology, reducing manual data entry. Since this platform syncs with the accounting system, the accounting team spends minimal time on data entry.

4. Payment Processing

Payment Processing

Processing payments becomes a task when the finance team has to chase employees for invoices and wait for approvals and verification. The procure-to-pay technique centralizes the entire process, giving real-time visibility and helping finance teams make timely payments. 

Moreover, with Pluto, you can integrate your procurement software with the payment gateways to ease the payment process further. Also, you get better Forex rates than banks, helping you save more money. Overall, with the approvals and invoices streamlined, payment processing becomes easy.

5. Reconciliation

Reconciliation

Reconciliation is the hardest part, even when you perform the data entry and data sync monthly. You risk losing documentation and creating gaps in the records.

The procure-to-pay process consolidates the entire procurement cycle to bring all the critical information on a single platform. There are minimal gaps; records are up-to-date due to real-time tracking and recording.

With Pluto, you can integrate with platforms like MS Dynamics, Oracle Netsuite, QuickBooks, etc. So, with your ERPs and accounting software synced, you can easily record all the transactions digitally and securely.

Pluto further enables you to lock the transactions to avoid fraud once approved. Moreover, you can create view-only access for your records to simplify auditing for external parties.

Improve Your Bottom Line With the Right Procure-To-Pay Solution

Overall, the procure-to-pay process helps you automate your procurement process without changing your approach too much. You just need to find the right solution that assists your procurement process. 

We discussed more about this in our procure-to-pay solutions post, where you will find what procure-to-pay software does and how to pick the right one.