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Corporate vs. Business Credit Card: What is the Difference?

Leen Shami

October 10, 2022

5

Corporate credit card vs. a business credit card. You might have heard both terms used interchangeably, but what's the difference?

Primarily, corporate cards are issued to large businesses with many employees, while business credit cards are designed for smaller businesses. Corporate cards generally have higher spending limits and may offer more perks than business cards due to their volume.

This post will cover the main differences so you can decide which card is best for your business.

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What is a Business Credit Card?

A business credit card is a commercial payment solution for companies and businesses. Similar to a personal credit card, business credit cards are used when business-related purchases are made on credit provided by one of the credit card companies.

Banks in the UAE and MENA offer various business credit cards for small, medium, and large companies. 

Business credit cards usually offer higher credit limits than personal credit cards and may come with exclusive privileges, such as free travel insurance, concierge services, and air miles.

In the case of small businesses, a personal credit score will play an important role in credit limit approval.

What is a Corporate Credit Card?

A corporate credit card is issued to company employees to help with business expenses. The company will be liable for any debts incurred on the card.

It is important to note that corporate cards are not personal credit cards and should only be used for business purposes.

Financial institutions expect you to spend more with a corporate card than a business card, as the companies that require those cards are usually bigger. Therefore, the company must have a good credit score to qualify. This can come with various perks, such as lower interest rates, extended grace periods, and, most importantly - higher spending limits.

At the same time, there can be some drawbacks, such as:

  • Long approval periods due to the nature of the financial product.
  • Limited online features for your cards and company spend management. 

What is a Pluto Card?

Pluto is MENA's corporate card that helps finance teams take control of their company's expenses while saving their business time & money. While Pluto can't give you a line of credit, you will be able to instantly issue as many business and corporate cards as you need while getting a complete overview of your business's spend management on one dashboard.

Pluto Virtual & Physical Corporate Cards

Virtual credit cards

Virtual cards are corporate credit card numbers used for online business-related purchases and contactless payments.

Although there is no physical card, virtual credit cards are great as they are flexible, convenient, and controllable.

With virtual credit cards, you can:

  • Issue unlimited virtual credit cards/employee cards;
  • Create a virtual credit card within seconds;
  • Set employee spending limits to avoid going over budget;
  • Generate a one-time use purchase card that deactivates as soon as it is used;
  • Set purchases to be made with specific vendors so the card can't be used for other purchases;

Chances are that if you need a virtual credit card at your existing bank, it might take quite some time, and the reporting and limit setting options might not be very user-friendly.

While Pluto cannot provide you with credit cards, we can issue as many virtual cards as you need with just a few clicks:

Physical credit cards

Physical corporate credit cards serve the same purpose as virtual and business credit cards, making payments. Unlike virtual cards, physical corporate credit cards can be used in person to make purchases.

While both virtual and physical credit cards are comparable, the main differences are:

  • Physical corporate credit cards may take up to 3 business days to be delivered.
  • Virtual cards cannot be used physically.
  • Virtual cards are safer for the user, as they cannot be lost or stolen.

Benefits and perks

The benefits and perks differ for business and corporate credit cards and Pluto cards.

Business & corporate credit cards:

  • Receive Business reward points for purchases made that can be redeemed for future purchases.

Pluto cards:

Pluto Corporate Card Perks

Why are Business Credit Cards and Corporate Credit Cards Different?

Now you know the main difference between business and corporate cards, but let's investigate some of them in more detail.

Expense management tools

Business credit cards are frequently limited to your online banking platform. In the case of corporate credit cards, you may get something slightly better - an enterprise solution.

But from what we have seen, the speed of card issuing or limit changes is usually lacking.

Pluto doesn't give you a credit line, but here is a list of things that Pluto's expense management platform does:

  • Unlimited corporate cards (within seconds);
  • Set spending limits on corporate cards to avoid going over budget or being overcharged;
  • Issue one-time purchase cards that deactivate after being used;
  • Real-time transactional data - know what (and where) is being spent in real-time;
  • Ability to oversee company financials and receive instantaneous expense reports;
  • Automated accounting; 
  • Sync transactional data to major accounting platforms;
  • Simple and quick reimbursements;
  • Digitized receipt reconciliation;
  • Close books in hours, not days.

Corporate and business card fees

The fees that you might have to pay on corporate and business cards fall into two main categories:

Annual fees

For business and corporate credit cards, annual fees may differ depending on the bank or credit card issuer you choose to move forward with. Typically, the UAE's yearly fees range from 0-800 AED, with 'free for life' being the most popular.

If there are any fees, you can typically waive them by spending a certain amount per year.

Pluto cards do not have any annual fees and are entirely free; however, if you're a large corporation that wants unlimited users, custom ERP integrations, or a dedicated account manager, there will be a monthly subscription fee.

FX fees

Business and corporate credit cards tend to incur FX fees, making it expensive for a company owner, a small business, or a large business to do any transactions outside their domestic currency.

FX fees can be high, and credit card issuers are usually not transparent with the fees that come with them. Typically, fees come in the form of an FX spread and are hidden inside your payment, meaning you might be paying 2-6% for a transaction in a different currency.

Just imagine how much of your spending is in a different currency and take an optimistic 4% fee from that amount. Now multiply it by five years.

Pluto does not charge FX fees, making it the perfect choice for companies or businesses that frequently transact in foreign currencies.

Application & Approval Process

You must wait around two weeks for a business credit card approval. After the approval process, it may take up to 10 business days to receive your business credit card.

With a corporate credit card, the time may vary, but the chances are that you will need to wait more than 5 business days before you get approved.

From our experience, when you need an expense card - you need it on the spot!

Pluto has adopted a KYB & KYC (know your business and client) process that allows us to onboard customers in minutes. After you set up your account, you can start issuing virtual cards and continue your work without halts or limitations.

Corporate vs. Business Credit Cards Pros and Cons

While a corporate credit card and a business credit card may be comparable in some aspects, there are some differences between the two financial products.

Business credit card pros

  • Available for most businesses in their standard banking products;
  • Standard application process with low business requirements;

Business credit card cons

  • Usually limited in numbers, one card is internally shared amongst many employees. That creates bottlenecks in spending and raises various security risks;
  • Non-existent (or very limited) spend management platforms to monitor your reporting;
  • No virtual cards;
  • High FX fees;

Corporate credit card pros

  • Higher spending limits;
  • Possibility to issue several cards;
  • Safe & secure, as information is not being shared;

Corporate credit card cons

  • Longer approval process;
  • High FX fees;

While the pros and cons for both types of cards may vary, the final decision will be based on the size of your business.

Why Pick Pluto Card for Business and Corporate Users?

As mentioned, Pluto won't give you a line of credit; instead, Pluto provides you with an all-in-one expense management solution. 

Pluto's spend management platform

  • All your business expenses are at your reach on Pluto's dashboard;
  • Control over all issued cards and their limits;
  • Creation of unlimited virtual cards;
  • Real-time expense reporting;
Pluto's Dashboard

Approval workflow on Pluto

Once you have access to Pluto's expense management dashboard, you'll also be able to set up approval flows and automation.

With Pluto's approval workflow, you can:

  • Get visibility and control over your expenses;
  • Streamline how you manage your spending;
  • Automatically direct approvals to the right employees;
  • Create approval flows within departments;
Pluto Card Approval Workflow

Real-time expense reports

With Pluto cards, you'll gain real-time transactional data on company spending while being able to set strict budget limits.

This will also help you make informed decisions about allocating resources and improving your P&L.

Additionally, you can also set up notifications to be sent to your accounting or finance team whenever a transaction is made. This way, they'll always be in the loop and can take appropriate action if needed.

Which Card is Best for My Business?

The final pick of the card will depend on several factors related to your business.

Industry

The needs of companies based on their industries may differ. Consulting businesses need a flexible card solution with no FX fees, as their employees travel frequently. Digital agencies need multiple virtual cards to onboard new projects and pay for ad networks daily.

Consider the needs relevant to your industry and decide from there. While Pluto is an excellent pick for all industries (as we have a very versatile product), here are some of the use cases that illustrate the needs and how Pluto solves them:

Size

Annual revenue, the number of employees, and spending volume will also come into play when making your decision.

If it is just you or a couple of employees, you may not need many cards (or you might take advantage of Pluto's virtual cards).

On the other hand, if you have a sales team that needs to pay for lunches with prospects every second day, one card in the business owner's name will be problematic! 

Control

How much control do you need over your spending? Classic credit cards (be it business or corporate) usually have just a few features that are extensions of your online banking.

In some cases, that might be enough. If there is one card and one person using it - setting limits and monitoring the spending is not an issue.

Pluto comes into play when you have several holders and many cards, as you can set custom limits on cards. Real-time reports of spending suddenly become very important to increase and decrease limits on the go.

Pluto Corporate Card Budget Control

Key Takeaways

  • Business credit card is the best fit for small business owners; they offer a standardized solution.
  • Corporate credit cards are for bigger companies, allowing higher spending and slightly better control.
  • Pluto cards (used for all business sizes) can provide unlimited virtual cards and give you access to an all-in-one expense management platform.

FAQ

Does a corporate credit card affect my credit score?

A corporate card is a company's liability and does not affect your credit score, and you will not see them on your personal credit report. Pluto cards do not affect your credit score in any way (as they do not provide loans or credit facilities).

What is the difference between a business and a corporate credit card?

The main difference between small business credit cards is the size of the company that uses them, followed by credit limits and available control features. Pluto provides cards to corporations and businesses through the all-in-one spend management platform.

What is meant by a corporate credit card?

A corporate credit card refers to a card provided by the company to the employee for various business-related expenses.

Is a corporate card the same as a credit card?

Credit cards primarily draw from an approved loan balance, while corporate card programs are just an extension to a dedicated corporate account. But the terms are used interchangeably nowadays.

What is the difference between corporate and domestic credit cards?

A domestic card may refer to a debit card or a card issued by your local bank for your local use. Corporate cards are accepted internationally, at the ATM, or online.

Can a corporate card be used for personal use?

No. By default, corporate cards have to be used for business expenses, which are reported into accounting, but most importantly, it is the company's money on that card. The only exception will be if your company allows it.

What is the advantage of a corporate credit card?

Usually, it comes down to higher spending limiting. Compared to small business credit cards, corporate credit card debt does not usually require a personal guarantee, as the company guarantees it.

In the case of Pluto's corporate card, we can also add - unlimited virtual cards, real-time team-wide spend control, instantaneous reporting, and no FX fees!

Does a corporate credit card affect my credit score?

No. If the corporate credit card has a credit facility attached to it (it usually does), it is a company liability, not a personal liability. You are given access to a portion of their credit facility that does not fall into the personal loans group, and you do not need to provide personal guarantees.

Can my company require me to put business travel on my own credit card?

No, the company cannot force you to put business expenses on your credit card, but it is sometimes easier for everyone. So, if you agree with that, and the company agrees to reimburse you - it is not a problem. 

If you are looking for a better solution, let the Pluto team know, and we will provide you with an easy corporate card platform for your whole team.

Do corporate credit cards require a credit check?

A corporate credit card (in its classical meaning) is attached to a loan facility. To approve this loan facility, banks must do a company credit check. 

Find out how much your business can save with Pluto

Discover your savings with Pluto's Cost Saving Calculator and take control of your expenses. Unlock cost-efficiency now!

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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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5
All
Spend Management
December 6, 2022

Vlad Falin

Efficient Receipt Management For UAE Businesses

Collecting, storing, and otherwise managing receipts is essential to a well-oiled expense reporting machine. 

Each receipt serves as confirmation of payment processing between yourself and the customer or vendor. You also need expense and sales receipts to file taxes and maintain your peace of mind.

Unfortunately, while saying receipt management is easy, the whole process itself is daunting. Tracking hundreds, thousands, even millions of employee and customer receipts leaves loopholes for fraud and misreporting. 

Physical expense receipts are especially susceptible to being lost, damaged, or fading with time.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to do it: digital receipt management with Pluto.

  • Automate more of the expense management process
  • Reduce the risk of fraud and inaccuracies
  • Create more efficient workflows and financial departments
  • And overall streamline modern business operations

While you probably can’t eliminate 100% of paper receipts from your workday, you can still improve your process with an increasingly-digital footprint!

What is Receipt Management?

Receipt management is the process of collecting, tracking, and storing business receipts. This task is usually handled by internal finance teams. Their role involves collecting various receipts, tracking costs in accounting software, and storing these receipts for future reference. Additionally, they may need to manually sort each expense, depending on the system in place.

Why Do You Need It?

  • A well-run receipt management protocol is crucial for businesses for several reasons:

1. Simplify Employee Reimbursement Programs: It aids in the smooth operation of reimbursement programs for employees.

2. Track and Report Tax Deductions: It's essential for accurately tracking and reporting tax deductions.

3. Provide Proof during Tax Audits: It serves as necessary documentation during tax audits.

4. Streamline Expense Reports and Budgets: Helps in making expense reports and budgeting more efficient.

5. Combat Internal Fraud and Inauthentic Chargebacks: Plays a key role in preventing fraud and false chargebacks within the company.

6. Avoid Repair or Replacement Costs for Items Under Warranty: Keeps track of receipts necessary for warranty claims, saving costs on repairs or replacements.

7. Calculate and Improve Long-Term Profitability: Receipt management is vital in calculating and enhancing the long-term profitability of a business.

Different types of receipt management systems are in use today, including those for printed receipts, e-receipts, and even handwritten receipts. This diversity can be challenging for businesses, as they need to follow multiple procedures to reconcile their books effectively.

Types of receipt management

Today, there are three basic ways to handle receipts directly:

  • Manual receipt management involves handling, tracking, and storing paper receipts
  • Digitization receipt management scans physical receipts to digitize the tracking process
  • Digital-only receipt management is used for online or digitally generated receipts

While many businesses are moving toward digitization and digital-only receipts, some businesses are stuck in the dark ages. (The kind that involves typing physical receipt information into a digital spreadsheet.)  

And as we’ll see below, manual entry strategies come with some…problems.  

Difficulties of Manual Receipt Management

1. Easily Lost or Damaged Receipts

Perhaps the most obvious problem with physically tracking expense receipts is that there’s so much that can go wrong. Lost, damaged, or faded receipts make the business expense tracking process that much harder.

Even if the employee who spent the money doesn’t drop their receipt, it’s possible for paperwork to get lost on a desk somewhere. And if you need to find a receipt two years later? Better hope it was filed properly and hasn’t faded completely.  

2. Consumes Human Resources

Manual receipt management is an extremely hours-intensive process.

Your financial team has to collect invoices, type their data into your accounting software, and double-check their work. Then, they have to reconcile business expenses against company credit card statements and track down potential instances of fraud or misreporting.

Not only does this require a lot of time, but it also impacts employee productivity. Every hour an accountant spends tracking receipts is an hour of productivity lost elsewhere.

3. Leaves Room for Human Error

Aside from the time and human resource cost, manual receipt management presents the potential for human error. And unlike on the product line or in customer service, every reporting mistake risks an unfavorable tax audit.

Even the simplest receipt management and tracking process involves several steps from collection to reconciliation. Every stage is an opportunity for an employee to get distracted, mistype a name or number, or duplicate entries. In bigger cases, they might even duplicate a payment, costing you more money.

And even if you catch the mistakes before they’re submitted, that’s more human hours wasted double-checking and correcting completed work.

4. Increases Fraud and Misreporting Risk

The risk of fraud is higher in manual receipt management programs, and instances of fraud may be harder to detect. Types of fraud that commonly crop up in expense reporting include:

  • Inflated claim amounts
  • Claiming personal costs on the business’ dime
  • Submitting expense reports twice
  • Falsifying “proof” to claim for money that wasn’t spent

Unfortunately, manual receipt management makes these kinds of fraud more likely and difficult to catch. For example, if the employee who authenticates receipts is committing or permitting the fraud, it’s harder to detect until after you’ve lost money.

Over time, even small acts of fraud can have massive financial consequences.

5. Contributes to Employee Dissatisfaction

For many companies, employee reimbursement programs contribute both to the need for manual receipt management – and to employee dissatisfaction.

Think about it. In a modern, tech-savvy business world, why should employees have to pay out of pocket, ever? 

Virtual cards and online-based businesses have all but eliminated the need for an employee to front your expenses.

But if you’re still stuck doing manual receipt management, chances are, your employees are still submitting reimbursement tickets. (And grumbling about the time it takes to get paid back.)

And that’s not even touching on the frustration, tedium, and headaches manual receipt management programs cause your high-paid finance teams.  

6. Jacks Up Business Costs

Together, all these factors paint a picture of increased business costs.

The time and human resource cost to track, reconcile, and store receipts.

The human and financial cost of detecting and counteracting fraud.

Even the maintenance costs for your printer and filing cabinets.

Every dollar spent on manual receipt management is a dollar sucked from office parties, growth, or your bottom line.

Benefits of Digital Receipt Management

It’s easy to see the costs that manual receipt management impose. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: digital receipt management.

In short, digital receipt management involves using digital copies of receipts in your expense reporting strategy. Digital smart receipts are easy – simply integrate them into your accounting software and let automation take you away.

But even physical sales receipts can be digitized, Pluto allows you to digitize your receipt very simply - through your phone. 

Incorporating such technology means that even paper receipts fold neatly into your overarching digital strategy.

And as you’ll see, the process comes with tons of benefits.

1. Increases Integration Potential

A massive benefit of digital tracking is the sheer integration potential. Most receipt management tools, from receipt scanning devices to receipt tracking software, easily mesh with your existing expense reports system.

From there, you can automate mindless tasks and set up occasional human checks to ensure the system works as intended.

2. Fewer Costly Errors

Another way that a digital receipt management program saves costs is by reducing employee errors. Digital receipts should meld seamlessly into your tracking system – no surprises there.

But even processing physical receipts is cheaper and easier.

With their mobile phones, employees can scan receipts and upload them instantly. From there, Pluto categorizes the information and adds it to the overall report.

While employees may spend a second filling in any blanks, increased automation greatly reduces the risk of input errors.

3. Reduces Risk of Fraud

Less human interference means your financial system is more resilient to fraudulent activities. Pluto improves speed and accuracy while digitizing the receipts.

That leaves fewer opportunities for fraudulent claims.

4. Reduces Clutter

Uploading physical receipts means less physical space is needed for storage. That can save you on storage costs and reduce desktop and file cabinet clutter.

And because everything’s digitally maintained, you’ll still meet or exceed your tax authority’s required financial record storage period. 

Not to mention, just finding your records will be easier than ever!

5. Easier Audits

No person or business enjoys tax season. But digital management makes the process at least a little easier. 

Because all of your information is stored online, it’s easier to access and export receipts as needed. 

When tax time or the dreaded audit comes around, your data will be well-organized and easily accessible.  

6. More Efficient Expense Reporting

Traditional receipt management is a costly, time-intensive, error-prone manual process that used to be necessary. With modern tools, businesses can streamline the entire financial structure of their organization.

No more lost receipts or worrying about fraud.

Less time spent inputting and double-checking data, and more time helping your business grow.

All these positive benefits will improve efficiency – and even bring smiles to your accountants’ faces.

7. Faster Reimbursements

Like using a virtual corporate card, digital receipt management speeds up the reimbursement process. 

Since everything is tracked and verified electronically, it’s easy to set up an automatic or streamlined reimbursement protocol.

8. Putting Your Eco-Friendly Foot Forward

Lastly, any step your business can take toward going paperless is good news for the environment. 

Cutting down fewer trees and reducing printer ink usage are laudable goals that can decrease your environmental footprint. 

Not only will you enjoy cost savings, but you’ll feel better about doing business in an increasingly eco-conscious world.

8 Tips for Efficient Receipt Management

Digitizing your receipt management strategy is just the first step toward expense report success. To ensure you’re operating at maximum efficiency, consider the following tips.

1. Use Pluto App

The first step is to get Pluto and start managing your spending digitally. 

While you’re moving toward digital efficiency, your vendors aren’t required to follow. Keeping the proper tech on hand ensures you can digitize any paper receipts that come your way.

Pluto allows you to take a picture of the receipt, upload it to your expense and just like that the reconciliation process is done!

2. Save Your Receipts

While you can set up secure digital folders to store all your digital originals and copies - Pluto does that for you! 

Just take a picture of the receipt, upload it to the app and that is it.  

3. Ensure High-Quality Digital Format Uploads

There’s no point in uploading and saving documents if you can’t read them. 

Before tossing your physical copies, make sure you can clearly read the essential information on each receipt. (Such as the company name, date, purchased item(s), and amount.)

4. Categorize Submitted Expenses

Take some time to categorize your expenses (most businesses do this in chronological order). Pluto helps you with that, but just make sure to check the right category so the reporting stays in top notch condition. 

5. Set Up a Simple Expense Report Strategy

Expense reporting is the backbone of any business’ financials. For prompt, complete reporting and tracking, ensure that you design a straightforward strategy. 

Same-day submissions, fewer Excel sheets, and faster reimbursement protocols will improve efficiency and attitudes. Better yet, invest in a quality expense and receipt management software.

Or even better - start with Pluto, we have a free package. It will allow you to completely digitize and control your spending, while keeping your reporting in the best possible shape. 

6. Establish Accountability

A top-notch expense reporting strategy only works if people use it.

To ensure your protocols are followed, emphasize and encourage accountability. Keep all managers and supervisors up-to-date with company spending and card policies and remind them to disseminate that information appropriately. Follow up with employee expenditures as needed.

7. Run Regular Internal Audits

Regular expense report audits help businesses track receipts fraud, clear up discrepancies, and streamline inefficiencies. 

Take time each month or quarter to check for fictitious or overblown expenses or troubles with your expense reporting strategy. 

Pluto allows you to run real-time reports at any given moment for any period of time.

8. Switch to Virtual Corporate Cards

Virtual corporate cards make managing receipt tracking even easier. Not only can you digitize the entire process end-to-end, but corporate p cards give you greater control over your expenditures and tracking.

Sure, you can’t prevent vendors from handing you physical receipts. But you can greatly minimize instances of employees walking in with a big stack of thermal paper to scan in.

Pluto offers unlimited virtual cards which will book all your expenses right into the dashboard!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper receipt management is key to running a financially successful business.
  • While manual receipt management reconciles physical copies, it’s increasingly unnecessary in an increasingly digital world.
  • Digital receipt management simplifies the collection, reconciliation, and storage process.
  • Digital tracking also reduces fraud potential, time and financial waste, and increases employee satisfaction.
  • Digitizing your expense reports pairs nicely with digitizing your own payments with virtual corporate cards.

5
All
Procurement
November 2, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Top 6 Procurement Software Solutions for Modern Businesses

The traditional procurement process is time-consuming, prone to errors, complex, and challenging to implement efficiently. From raising a purchase request to making vendor payments, multiple stakeholders are involved. In addition, securing approvals through various channels of an organization leads to chaos. Hence, 77% of companies are shifting to procure-to-pay solutions, also known as procurement software.

What is Procurement Software? 

Procurement software are tools that automate the procurement process

Instead of relying on multiple platforms and different channels to procure goods and services, the process is automated and brought together on a centralized platform. 

A powerful procurement solution helps you in:

  • streamlining the request and approval process for purchases
  • generating, tracking, and managing purchase orders
  • creating, negotiating, and tracking supplier contracts
  • managing and maintaining supplier relationships 
  • automating invoice validation, approval, and payment workflows
  • integrating with other systems for seamless data flow and coordination.
See a Demo

What Are the Benefits of Procurement Software? 

By automating your procurement process with a procurement management software, you can improve it in the following ways: 

  • Once you enter data, it is auto-populated throughout the procurement cycle. This minimizes the risk of errors due to manual data entry in purchase orders, invoices, and other documents.
  • You get real-time visibility into the procurement process. You can also track the status of purchase requests, orders, deliveries, and payments. 
  • With built-in reporting and analytics tools, you can generate detailed reports on spending, supplier performance, and other key metrics. This data-driven insight enables better inventory planning and strategic decision-making.
  • You can standardize workflows for purchase requisitions and approvals. Route the requests to the appropriate individuals for approval and reduce any delays. Notifications and reminders are automated, ensuring timely responses.
  • Invoice processing and payment workflows are automated. This ensures that invoices are paid on time. This helps in taking advantage of early payment discounts and strengthens vendor relationships. 

Top 6 Procurement Software 

To help you select the procurement management software best suited for the needs of your organization, we have listed the top 6 procurement solutions:

1. Pluto 

Procurement management software by Pluto

Pluto is an all-in-one procurement software designed to transform your accounts payable (AP) processes. It reduces your finance team's workload and makes procurement easy. From automating purchase requests to setting multi-layer approval workflows and managing vendors, it is the ultimate procurement solution to transform a chaotic procurement process into a faster and more efficient one. 

Key Features:

  • Features fully customizable and automated workflows for raising purchase requests and purchase orders, requiring no technical expertise
  • Offers flexible approval engine capable of managing intricate hierarchies
  • Enables multi-layer invoice approvals with policies to align with your company's structure
  • Ability to upload invoices easily via WhatsApp images, eliminating the need to search for invoice details. Also, facilitates invoice capture via emails directly to speed up the receipt capture process.
  • A centralized dashboard to gather bills in one place and track the status to avoid double payments
  • Vendor-specific corporate cards to control budgets and detect irrelevant expenses
  • Supports local and international wire transfers to make payments 
  • OCR technology minimizes manual data entry by creating and populating bills from invoices
  • Supports ERP integration to synchronize your vendors, POs, and bills and integrates with accounting software, such as Oracle, NetSuite, Zoho, Quickbooks, Wafeq, Xero, etc.
  • Raises alerts for upcoming payments and enables scheduling payments in advance and automate invoices 
  • Provides a complete audit trail of the process to ensure visibility at each step
  • Shows real-time analytics to facilitate deep insights for supporting budget control

Pricing:

Request the sales team for a custom quote

Pros:

  • More financial control with vendor-specific corporate cards 
  • Better Forex rates than most local banks 
  • Multiple integration options

Cons:

  • Slightly longer on-boarding due to corporate card offering 
  • Integrates with all other major ERPs except Tally

2. Yooz 

Procurement software by Yooz

Yooz optimizes the AP process, specifically focusing on invoice management. It is a cloud based software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to enhance security and control in AP automation. It is suitable for mid-size companies of all sectors wanting to automate procurement with a cloud-based procurement solution. 

Key Features:

  • Enables online, real-time management of supplier relationships, improving communication and collaboration
  • Provides mobile access for invoice approval and communication
  • Maintains regulation-compliant traceability, ensuring adherence to relevant laws and standards
  • Automates real-time GL coding and purchase order matching
  • Captures all types of documents through various channels, such as email, drag-and-drop, mobile, scan, and sFTP, supporting multiple formats, including PDF, Factur-X, UBL, CII, and EDIFACT
  • Integrates with accounting software and  and ERPs
  • Allows users to approve and pay invoices in batches, offering multiple payment options, such as Virtual Credit Card, ACH, eCheck, and Paper Check
  • Offers a range of services, including consulting, configuration, training, and user support

Pricing:

Free trial for up to 15 days followed by a "pay-as-you-use" model.

Pros:

  • Integration with Sage Intacct
  • Ability to tag people in the comments and email them directly from the invoice
  • Numerous criteria available for setting up the approval workflows

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t offer payment services in UAE, so you need to carry out payments on a different platform
  • Doesn't have integrations with major suppliers as a form of punchout
  • Time-consuming to download and export files
  • Hard for vendors to send the invoices through Yooz

3. Procurify

Procurify's Procurement software solution

Procurify speeds up the procurement process, enhances internal communication, and reduces financial risks. It is an easy-to-implement tool that saves time for finance and operations teams. From catalog management to custom user controls, it helps to track the procurement process in real-time. 

Key Features:

  • Tailors purchase orders to match your internal processes and vendor expectations
  • Creates, tracks, and maintains an audit trail of all procurement transactions for transparency and compliance.
  • Enhances financial controls by enabling purchase order-based purchasing
  • Ensures that requested items are approved against budgets before procurement.
  • Sync purchase orders with your accounting system or ERP, whether via API, CSV, flat file, or direct integration
  • Integrates with trusted suppliers through PunchOut catalogs to streamline the ordering process.
  • Enables blanket purchase orders, which involve making multiple purchases against a single purchase order, even when details of future purchases may be unknown.
  • Purchase order workflows to save on shipping costs, unlock vendor discounts, and reduce paperwork 

Pricing:

Starts at $2000/month with a custom pricing tier

Pros:

  • Easy to make amendments in the original purchase order
  • Enables ordering from multiple websites for resources, including Amazon
  • Makes it easy to upload documents to support expense and order reports

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer payment services in UAE, so you will need to carry out payments on a different platform
  • Isn’t catered to the UAE market, and does not support UAE specific workflows such as VAT management
  • Cannot edit orders once they are approved
  • Cannot see the order history for a catalog item without running a report
  • Physical inventory has to be tracked outside Procurify

4. Precoro

Procurement platform by Precoro

Precoro is a cloud-based solution designed to streamline operations, automate tasks, and centralize purchasing procedures. It enables tracking discounts, monitoring corporate expenses, and enhancing cash flow transparency. It also provides analytics and reports for strategic procurement planning.

Key Features:

  • Simplifies the approval by allowing users to approve from any device via email or Slack notifications. 
  • Supports customizable approval workflows with multi-step and role assignment
  • Facilitates creating, approving, and tracking purchase orders and transfer orders from Amazon Business via Punch-in
  • Connects with various ERPs and business tools like NetSuite, QuickBooks, and Xero, or its API
  • Ensures data security through Single Sign-On (SSO) and 2-factor authentication
  • Offers an intuitive interface and guidance from a dedicated customer success manager whenever needed
  • Gives a risk-free 14-day free trial with access to all features

Pricing:

Starts at $35 per user per month billed annually for teams with under 20 members and offers custom pricing for enterprises

Pros:

  1. Provides flexibility for enterprise needs
  2. Works well for budgeting procurement
  3. Allows tracking invoices in a centralized environment

Cons: 

  1. Requires training to customize complex workflows
  2. Invoice processing is slow
  3. Isn’t suitable for manufacturing industries
  4. Difficult to collaborate on invoice drafting

5. Kissflow

Procurement solution by Kissflow

Kissflow simplifies and enhances procurement processes while ensuring transparency and compliance. It helps to automate the entire process without requiring technical expertise or coding experience. It comes with 50+ ready-to-use applications, enabling unlimited automation applications.  

Key Features:

  • Offers fluid forms to enable easy capturing, approval, and tracking of purchase requests
  • Allows to register and maintain vendors effortlessly with access to multilingual catalogs
  • Integration with accounting systems, ERP, and finance systems like Quickbooks, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics 
  • Accelerates the invoice approval process with timely alerts and automated checks. Connect invoices to contracts, purchase orders, and service entry sheets in a single dashboard
  • Customizable reports to visualize data using charts, filters, and heatmaps
  • Ability to define and manage budget restrictions with dynamic rules throughout the entire procure-to-pay lifecycle
  • Customized approval workflows to ensure transparency with rule-based approval processes
  • Smart alerts that provide real-time updates on the status of purchase orders and invoices to keep stakeholders informed 

Pricing:

Starts at $2499/month (billed annually). Pricing varies based on transaction volume and number of users.

Pros: 

  • Intuitive interface with a relatively short learning curve
  • Allows automated workflows to be created with limited technical expertise

Cons:

  • Not built specifically for procurement teams
  • Does not support payment flows in UAE
  • Cost of its license is high (particularly for SMBs)
  • Can not handle intricate processes that require a high degree of customization or involve multiple conditional branches
  • Customization options are limited, including specific integrations, advanced business rules, or more sophisticated automation capabilities

6. Vendr

Procurement management software by Vendr

Vendr is a practical solution for streamlining SaaS procurement. It simplifies the entire process, from intake requests to contract management. It provides essential SaaS insights, negotiates expert advice, and integrates with core business tools for procurement and vendor management. 

Key Features:

  • Buyer guides to provide negotiation insights and gain the upper hand in software purchases
  • Negotiation advisory to provide personalized guidance on negotiating like a pro and enter negotiations with confidence
  • Simplified intake forms to ensure company-wide compliance and visibility
  • Integration with different accounting and finance tools, such as Oracle, NetSuite, Intuit, Quickbooks. 
  • Integrates with platforms like Rippling Workday to include correct stakeholders. Additional integration with SSO providers such as onelogin.
  • Comprehensive renewal dashboard to receive early alerts and streamline the renewal preparation process to maximize savings.
  • Vendr Slack integration for quick answers and timely notifications to collaborate in real time with your team, minimizing approval cycle times

Pricing:

There are 2 packages—the basic one starts at $15,000/year and the pro package starts at $20,000/year.

Pros:

  • Offers assisted buying with a team who negotiates on your behalf
  • Comprehensive database of vendors in one place
  • Helps standardize procurement workflow 
  • Provides insights about fair market value 

Cons:

  • Restricted to SaaS procurement only 
  • Multilingual services are limited 
  • Navigating multiple workflows is not as fluid as desired
  • Doesn't support multiple currencies 

Find the Right Procurement Software 

When choosing procurement software, focus on user-friendliness, scalability, and integration capabilities. Make sure the software aligns with your specific needs.

Finding the right software for accounts payable automation will be crucial for your business. For instance, if you frequently deal with multiple suppliers and have a complex approval process, ensure the software can accommodate these intricacies. Similarly, if you're in the healthcare industry, look for procurement software that complies with industry regulations like UAE Healthcare Law and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) regulations. This ensures the privacy and security of patient data and adheres to local data protection standards. Moreover, check if the vendor offers active support and training. In case of a technical issue, having an unresponsive support team can disrupt the process and create bottlenecks.

Don't rush the decision. Thoroughly evaluate multiple options. Investing in an appropriate solution will save you money and headaches in the long run.

Want a tool that is safe, fast, and transforms your chaotic procurement process into an automated solution? Book a demo today and see how Pluto can simplify procurement for your team.

Disclaimer: The comparisons and rankings of procurement software competitors in this article are based primarily on reviews found online. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, these reviews are subjective and reflect the opinions of the users who posted them. The information presented is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as a definitive guide for choosing a software provider. We encourage readers to conduct their own research and consider their specific needs before making a decision.

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December 20, 2023

Vlad Falin

The Role of Accounts Payable Automation in Modern Accounting Practices

From receiving goods to clearing payments, it is not a single-click process. Multiple steps in between make the accounts payable process tedious and time-consuming.

You receive goods, match them with purchase orders and invoices, send the invoices for approval, make the payment, and finally, maintain records for bookkeeping. This process alone takes weeks and creates confusion when multiple stakeholders are involved.

Think about purchases above $50,000. There are multiple approvals, and each purchase triggers a unique workflow. Documents are not consolidated, and no one has a clear idea of the payment status. 

Thus, accounts payable become chaotic.

Can You Automate Accounts Payable?

To streamline your accounts payable process, you can use tools to automate it. This will simplify bill payments and give you more visibility and control over money.

While it will take time for stakeholders and employees to embrace automation, you can consolidate your scattered pieces on a centralized platform. If you are looking for suitable AP automation tools for your company, check out our list of the top accounts payable automation software.

This post will delve deeper into how you can automate the accounts payable process and how it will help your business. 

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What is the Accounts Payable Automation Process?

Accounts payable automation uses tools to automate invoice verification, approval workflow, payment processing, and bookkeeping. 

Instead of manually organizing, matching, approving, and clearing invoices, the entire process goes on a digital platform to provide visibility and control at each step. So, earlier, employees would spend hours getting approvals and days clearing payments, but now, an automation tool reduces the invoice processing time. 

Account Payable automation process

The platform captures and extracts the invoice from emails via optical character recognition (OCR). The invoice goes to the platform with all the critical information, such as purchase order and simplifies three-way matching. A trigger-based approval workflow notifies the stakeholders to approve invoices. The admin gets complete visibility of each step and clears the payment without going through a variety of software. 

How to Automate Accounts Payable

Automating accounts payable is as simple as choosing and integrating the right automation software with your existing accounting and procurement software.  

The automation software offers visibility into where the money is going and control over the entire process. You can customize the approval workflows and payment gateways and create an ecosystem that supports your procurement process. You can accommodate manual processes and integrate them with other software without going through a complete flip.

With the right automation software, you bring all the critical stages of accounts payable on a centralized platform. Here are the five key steps you can automate:

1. Invoice Management

Invoice Management

Manual: The vendor sends an invoice to a dedicated email or a physical copy via fax or mail. The employee receives it and moves from one stakeholder to another for approval. The process is delayed for days if any manager is unavailable. Once the approval is complete, all the documents go to the accounting team, who clears the payment. 

Automated: Depending on how the vendor sends the invoice, the automation platform captures the invoice from email or WhatsApp. If you receive a physical invoice, you can upload the invoice, and the system extracts all the vital information via OCR. There's no need to manually enter details or add a general ledger (GL) and taxation code. The system captures, extracts, and consolidates all the invoices.

2. GRN Matching

GRN matching

Manual: The dedicated team receives goods along with the goods receipt note (GRN) and must match it with the invoice and purchase order. This ensures that the specified goods are received as per the purchase order. Manually, this process is prone to errors, leading to discrepancies. It demands accuracy to ensure you receive the correct items in specified quantities. 

Automated: Automated software makes this easy by combining all the relevant documents on a single platform. The dedicated team has the invoice and purchase order side by side, making it easy to compare items, purchase orders, and invoices for three-way matching. As a result, spotting discrepancies becomes more manageable, reducing the chances of errors.

3. Approval Workflow

Approval Workflow

Manual: Once the invoice is received, the employee gets it approved by dedicated managers. Based on the invoice amount, they need more than a single approval. Manually, this means going from one office to another or delving into long threads of email or Slack conversations. It becomes difficult for accounting teams to track approval and clear payments. 

Automated: With automated software, each invoice triggers an approval workflow for relevant stakeholders to approve the payments. The admin can create custom no-code workflows based on different if-then rules. For instance, marketing purchases above $50,000 will have more approvals than expenses of $5,000. Also, all the relevant teams will have visibility into the approval status, making it easier to clear payments on time without confusion.

4. Payment Processing

Payment Processing

Manual: Once the invoice is approved, the accounting team determines the details and pays via checks, cards, or other payment methods. It takes a few days before the payment is cleared, and the teams need to sync all the information across the accounting software for reconciliation.

Automated: With automation, accounting teams and employees enjoy more flexibility. For instance, Pluto offers corporate cards, payment gateway integration, and a digitization platform for bookkeeping.

  • With corporate cards, you can create custom vendor-specific cards with advanced controls to ensure payments are made only for approved vendors.
  • Pluto integrates directly with your payment gateways to facilitate payment within the platform. 
  • If you make payments via checks or other physical modes, Pluto will act as a digital bookkeeping platform. You can enter the payments made on the centralized platform and ensure that all the information is streamlined. 

 

5. Reconciliation

Reconciliation

Manual: Reconciliation is the messiest part of accounts payable. Teams must maintain records, manually enter all the details, and sync them across the accounting platforms and ERPs. It is time-consuming, prone to errors, and tricky in case of purchases where one invoice invites multiple tax and GL codes.   

Automated: Automation consolidates all the information on a single platform without manual data entry. It uses OCR to extract all the critical information with a feature to upload the invoices in bulk. Further, you can split the transactions to add multiple tax and GL codes to address the audit season rush.

How Accounts Payable Automation Simplifies the Procurement Process

Accounts payable automation is not just for the procurement or the accounting department. It also makes it easier for stakeholders to approve the payments and employees to get timely resources.

Procurement Process

Source

Overall, it assists you in bringing together scattered parts of the procurement process. Here are reasons why you must invest in accounts payable automation:

1. Improve Compliance

You get complete visibility and control over your accounts payable. You can create custom workflows to ensure that any purchase that goes against the company policy is rejected. You can also accommodate intricate hierarchies to suit your organization's needs and get timely approvals.

2. Avoid Double Payments

It is usual for teams to end up paying the same invoice twice as no one has visibility into the payment status. It happens when the same invoice is paid twice by different team members or when vendors send the same invoice twice, and both get paid. You can avoid this as the software detects duplicate invoices and gives visibility into the status of invoices. The main dashboard highlights the pending invoices and the ones awaiting approval. It becomes easy to stay on top of all the invoices and avoid errors.

3. Faster Approvals and Matching

Faster Approvals and Matching

You get a trigger-based no-code approval workflow engine where you can create customized workflows to accommodate intricate hierarchies. The software notifies the stakeholders to review and approve the invoices. Since all the information is available on a single dashboard, two-way or three-way matching is a matter of a few minutes. This accelerates the approval process, and payments are disbursed much faster. It improves the vendor relationship without risking over, under, or delayed payments.

4. Better Reconciliation

You get all the relevant documents consolidated on a single platform with the appropriate purchase. Additionally, the software automates the coding and categorization, simplifying the reconciliation process. In case of discrepancies, spotting errors becomes easy. Moreover, with features like locking the approved payments and restricted access for auditing, you can eliminate the chances of fraud or manipulation.

5. Accuracy

You improve the accuracy of your records and GRN matching with all the information streamlined on a single platform. Moreover, as the software relies on OCR, you eliminate the need for manual data entry, reducing the chances of errors. Also, you can integrate the automation software with your accounting platform and ERPs to sync data and ensure consistency across the platforms. 

6. Centralized Dashboard

Centralized Dashboard

You get a centralized dashboard with all the key information available in a unified place, acting as a single source of truth. Additionally, you get insights that can help in data-driven decision-making to facilitate procurement cost savings. Further, you can view all the awaiting payments and approvals on a dedicated dashboard. You no longer need to run from one platform to another for information as the software integrates with your accounting system.

7. Accessibility

The unavailability of a single person can create bottlenecks in the approval process and block the supply chain. With all the information streamlined on a single platform, each stakeholder can access relevant data for decision-making. So, whether the CEO is traveling or the CFO is not at the office, they can access the details from any corner of the world and avoid disruption in the supply chain.

8. Visibility

You get visibility for each step, each document, and each purchase. You can bring the entire procurement automation on a single platform and track the status in real time. Whether an employee raises a request, gets an invoice, or needs to clear payment, you will stay on top of the information without creating any delays or friction.

Automation is Easy With the Right Software

Adopting automation software isn’t easy, especially for critical processes like accounts payable, which also involve external stakeholders. The top three factors to look for in appropriate software are flexibility, visibility, and integration. 

Choose one that integrates with your existing processes and systems and is flexible enough to accommodate complex hierarchies. Instead of focusing solely on the accounting or procurement team, it should cater to all the key stakeholders and make automation easier to adopt. 

At Pluto, we aim to bring a balance among the spenders (employees), the savers (finance teams), and the sourcers (procurement teams). Each stakeholder gets visibility, and decision-makers get flexibility. Pluto integrates with your current system and enables you to automate accounts payable without affecting the supply chain. 

You can also automate your entire procurement process with Pluto and improve your bottom line. Read more in our procurement automation post.