Read

Why A Legacy ERP Is Not Enough For Modern Procurement Teams

Mohammed Ridwan

November 2, 2023

5

In today's fast-paced business environment, most organisations rely on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems as foundational tools to manage and integrate various business processes. ERPs traditionally offer a broad spectrum of functionalities, assisting in handling essential operations such as procurement, data management, accounting, and supply chain management.

ERP systems provide a comprehensive suite of software functionalities to enhance and optimise various aspects of business operations. Over time, these systems have evolved, shifting from on-premises solutions to cloud-based platforms. However, organisations still face challenges when implementing ERP solutions across their enterprise.

One significant aspect often overlooked in ERP systems is their limitation regarding financial operations & intelligence. ERP solutions primarily focus on improving business processes and management but do not directly handle monetary transactions or provide financial products. This necessitates the integration of external financial institutions and banks with ERP systems.

Moreover, traditional ERP systems struggle to keep pace with the dynamic demands of modern procurement, particularly in the ever-evolving supply chain environment. Today, ERP systems need to be more proactive, incorporating features like real-time analytics and flexible processes to meet the ever-shifting requirements of procurement. Adapting to these changes is essential for businesses aiming to enhance their procurement efficiency and agility.

ERP Systems vs Procurement Solutions: How Are They Different?

ERP systems were initially designed to automate business processes and offer insights for internal controls, while procurement solutions comprehensively manage the ecosystem.

A P2P or a procurement solution is primarily built to meet an organisation's procurement and supply chain needs, an arena always problematic for traditional ERP.

Innovative organisations are now adopting leaner and cheaper solutions for their procurement processes. These tools can deftly handle specialised tasks and yield instant results.

Limitations of ERP

Factors like market volatility, evolving work dynamics, and shifting supply chains have made it challenging for businesses to integrate their procurement processes into their current ERP systems. Hence, it is vital to use specialised solutions to cater to dynamic business processes.

But before exploring the benefits of specialised solutions, let us consider the limitations of ERP:

Long Implementation Duration that Impedes ROI

Customising legacy ERP to meet procurement or supply needs is a hassle. It contributes to a longer implementation duration lasting several months. Customisation projects are resource-intensive. That makes a fast ROI virtually impossible to achieve.

Moreover, businesses must hire ERP consultants or trained partners for the implementation. The success rate and the implementation duration heavily depend on the expertise of such third parties.

With many companies already strung tight regarding capital, implementing legacy ERP to function as procurement systems may prove counterproductive.

Expensive Implementation and Maintenance

Legacy ERP licenses come at a high price. Depending on your software, ERP implementation costs can range from $150,000 to $750,000.

Moreover, procurement processes almost always require extra modules that can further increase costs. It also includes the additional burden of maintenance costs and training employees to use the software.

Failures To Meet Business Goals

The success rate of ERP implementation is dwindling. Recent studies from Gartner indicate that the failure rates of ERP implementations can exceed 75%. McKinsey, a reputed global consultancy, supports this claim as it quantifies the failure rate of all digital transformations to be higher than 70%.

One famous example is Hershey's ERP implementation failure in 1996 as they set out to replace their legacy IT systems with an integrated ERP environment. They chose SAP's R/3 ERP software, and an implementation time of 48 months was recommended, which was later cut down to 30 months. The result - a $10 million investment leading to a loss of $150 million in revenue, a 19% reduction in share price, and a 12% loss in international market share.

With such massive costs and periods involved in achieving numbers from legacy ERP solutions, using specialized procurement systems can make achieving business objectives far easier.

Lack of analytics and insights

ERP systems often fail to deliver the necessary analytics and data for effective operations. Managing vast volumes of data within these systems can be daunting. Challenges include ensuring data quality, the lack of real-time insights, limited data analysis capabilities, and integration issues with other software applications.

Poor User Experience

Many ERP systems require makeshift solutions to modify their functionality according to user demands, leading to frustration with end-users.

Legacy ERP systems are notoriously complex, making them challenging for end-users. Frequently, users must navigate between multiple interfaces, hindering productivity and adoption.

Furthermore, the lack of mobile apps and scattered functionalities exacerbate the issue—problems that a dedicated procurement solution can readily address.

Complex User Interfaces

ERP systems offer enterprise-grade capabilities, yet their inherent complexity and poor user experience pose significant challenges. Users often struggle with confusion, as traditional ERPs are overly intricate. The need for add-ons further exacerbates the complexity, as these additions must seamlessly integrate with the existing ERP system. This constant juggling of different user interfaces not only hampers productivity but also hinders widespread adoption.

Compromised Collaboration

One of the most disappointing aspects of legacy ERP systems is the lack of in-built communication channels. ERP systems struggle with establishing themselves as a medium of dialogue between internal business users and external suppliers, as they are not accessible from outside the business network. It tangles communication channels through unnecessary phone calls and scattered information exchange lines.  

They are also severely limited in their capacity to maintain supplier pipelines, requiring most data to be entered and managed through several spreadsheets.  

Urgent reports, design changes, and other important information cannot be communicated promptly, which may lead to losses. It leads to unnecessary time consumption and inaccuracies.

Solving ERP Issues with Dedicated Procurement Solutions

Addressing the limitations of ERP systems, organisations are increasingly turning to dedicated procurement solutions to streamline their purchasing processes and enhance efficiency. These specialised solutions offer advanced analytics, real-time insights, and improved data quality, making it easier for businesses to manage their procurement operations effectively.

By integrating dedicated procurement solutions with their ERP systems, organisations can bridge the gap between data management challenges and their need for comprehensive procurement intelligence, ultimately driving better decision-making and cost savings.

Addresses Overspending Issues

Integrating P2P software with ERP can prevent overspending in procurement. By harnessing ERP with eProcurement solutions, you can efficiently assess expenses across purchasing categories.

It allows you to manage budgets and increase savings. Moreover, integrating procurement solutions with ERP simplifies procurement management by automating approval processes.

Boosts Vendor Collaboration

Vendor collaboration is one of the most essential aspects of procurement. Keeping them informed of the relevant business operations helps avoid miscommunication.

By integrating procurement solutions with ERP systems, buyers and suppliers can access real-time data, empowering them to make informed decisions. This integration brings advantages such as:

  • Enhanced collaboration: Seamless collaboration between buyers and sellers, achieved through transparent access to purchase orders, invoices, and receipts.
  • Supplier empowerment: Suppliers are empowered with real-time insights into payment statuses via a supplier portal, which enables sound financial planning.
  • Stronger buyer-supplier relationship: Heightened transparency nurtures and strengthens the critical relationships between buyers and suppliers, a fundamental cornerstone for any successful business.
  • Improves Scalability and Flexibility

As businesses expand, stakeholders must seek platforms that can swiftly adapt to increased operational demands and changes in the operational cycle.

Procurement software provides essential features like mobile and remote access that most businesses require to scale operations. It also allows businesses to create highly specialised and efficient platforms, saving money, time, and human resources.

Helps Eradicate Duplication Issues

Procurement solutions can help connect all departments to ensure office supply orders are placed through a centralised system. They help share real-time data across tech, IT, finance and accounting, HR, sales, and marketing teams. It helps prevent duplicate purchases by coordinating buying across departments. Improved coordination also allows teams to maximise discounts and negotiation opportunities while saving time, money, and effort.

Reduces Procurement Errors Through Automation

Specialised software can help organisations optimise deals, accelerate processes, and reduce errors through automation. It helps allocate repetitive and simple tasks to the system rather than to users.

For example, businesses can automate their supply ordering with this technology. Automation helps set limits to ensure timely orders, prevent shortages, and follow any restrictions they have in place.

Handles Compliance and Risk Management Issues

Managing procurement-related risks and complying with regulations can be pretty challenging. An ERP-procurement integration empowers the software to handle compliance matters and mitigate risks during procurement processes, even involving multi-currency transactions.

Supplier Performance Management

Managing supplier performance during the procurement process can be quite challenging without the right tools at your disposal. However, by integrating procurement software with an ERP system, you can simplify collecting and analysing data related to supplier performance.

This valuable information encompasses delivery times, product quality, and responsiveness, enabling you to decide whether to maintain or end supplier relationships.

Inventory Management

Inadequate inventory management can result in too much or too little stock. These outcomes affect working capital and operational efficiency. One practical approach to tackle this problem is integrating procurement solutions with ERP systems. Such integration offers benefits like:

  • Real-time visibility into inventory levels, allowing for monitoring.
  • Automated reordering process, reducing the burden on manual efforts.

For example, a supermarket chain can leverage sales data to automate the reordering of items, minimising waste and ensuring the availability of products.

Provides Analytics for Better Insights

By integrating procurement solutions with ERP, businesses gain a flexible data model capable of handling big data. It manages the data and offers valuable insights to enhance information generation, storage, and decision-making. Procurement software encompasses advanced spend analytics, supplier benchmarks, and comprehensive performance management.

Drastically Improves End-User Experience

Procurement solutions are built from the ground up, keeping procurement operations as the top priority. It helps avoid a cluttered, mismanaged UI that comes with legacy ERPs, enabling users to be more productive.

End-users can adapt to changes in the software much quicker, increasing efficiency.

Conclusion

Procurement and sourcing processes require a dedicated platform in 2023. Unlike legacy ERP, such dedicated solutions can handle complex sourcing and procurement operations. They ensure a streamlined and seamless flow of relevant information between internal business organisations and external suppliers, allowing all stakeholders to have complete project visibility.

The outcome of implementing a smaller yet far more efficient tool will facilitate faster time to market, subsequently letting you achieve your ROI at an expedited rate.

While customising an ERP may sound enticing, opting for an eProcurement solution is smarter.

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!

Calculate Now

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

Read More

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.

You may also be interested

5
All
Spend Management
January 12, 2023

Vlad Falin

How To Manage Your Company Spending In 2024?

When it comes to growing a business, many executives focus on increasing profits and growing revenue as the way to achieve their goals. 

However, one aspect of growth that is sometimes overlooked is the expense management of your organization, and how to make it more efficient.

Without proper spend management strategies, your efforts to grow the company revenue could be easily sabotaged by overstuffed budgets, inefficient spending, and a lack of expense tracking that hurts your bottom-line when tax season comes around.

That’s why this article will discuss the importance of managing your company spending, and how to do it efficiently!

The Importance Of Company Spending Management

Business spend management is a combination of strategies and business tools used to track, analyze, and manage business spending, in particular in regard to supplier relationships. 

When companies are unable to track and control their spending in real-time, they may expose themselves to financial leaks and lose revenue in the long run. 

The majority of a company's costs come from external expenditures, which account for 40-80% of its total costs. A lack of efficient spend management can have disastrous effects on your business; the statistics speak for themselves.

As a result, businesses that understand and wish to mitigate this risk need to use spend management software to do the heavy lifting. Not only does the software offer cost-saving opportunities, but it also prevents overspending.

A spend management solution becomes particularly crucial when it comes to tax reporting, as the expense documenting process simplifies the tax reporting, which makes it easier to receive tax breaks and avoid hefty penalties.

For the United Arab Emirates region, corporate income tax (or CT for short) will be applied to business activities starting on the 1st of June 2023. You’ll be charged 9% for taxable income exceeding AED 375,000, but 0% if your annual taxable income falls below that threshold. As such, keeping track of your expenses and managing spending will be even more important than ever.

Benefits of Expense Management

The importance of spending management is not limited to enterprises with large expenses, but also to small and medium-sized businesses looking to improve profitability, scalability, and sustainability. 

There are several benefits to spend management automation, regardless of your business size. These benefits include:

An in-depth analysis of all spending

Saving money for your business requires analyzing all aspects of it in order to find cost-cutting opportunities or other areas of improvement. 

Pluto gives you a general overview of your operations in terms of costs, as well as an in-depth analysis of your spending, making it much easier to find what you are looking for.

Maintaining an efficient budget

When it comes to proper spend management, your budget is crucial. But building a proper budget requires that you have both an eagle-eye view of your business, as well as attention to the smaller details. This is made much easier through the use of spend management software.

Control over company spending in real time

It’s much harder to make efficient decisions about your spending when you are basing them on data that is already outdated. 

With Pluto, you’ll be working with real-time data to ensure your decisions are based on current information.

An easier time identifying and eliminating out-of-policy and fraudulent expenditures

It’s harder to reduce out-of-policy spending when you can’t track it effectively. Pluto will help you automatically detect fraudulent and out-of-policy employee expenses and alert you to them.

Payables can be tracked and processed easily

If you are managing your expenses properly and using the right account payable software to do so, you won’t have an issue keeping track of your payables, as well as have a better overview of your spending.

Better negotiations with your suppliers

You can make better decisions when it comes to your supply contracts and purchases when you have real-time data of your expenses.

Using Pluto's unified spend management dashboard, finance teams can always see where money flows. Pluto's procurement software enhances the visibility of financial transactions, enabling more informed decision-making for procurement and sourcing processes.

Budgeting is the key to delivering on your promises, growing your team, enhancing your product offerings, and weathering inevitable economic downturns.

The Problem with a Manual Spend Management Process

Trying to manage business spending without proper oversight and strategies in place is like putting all your home expenses on a credit card without checking the statement every month. You might not know what you are facing until it’s too late. 

If you don't implement intentional spend controls, you may still be profitable, but you won't know when your situation will change or how close you are to the edge. 

The importance of spend control becomes more obvious to companies, especially growing ones, after they face a tight situation or a disruption to their business. As a result of these problems, businesses can experience budget overruns, erratic cash flows, supply chain management issues, and deteriorating customer relations. 

But traditional spend management techniques are limited, which is where the aid of software comes into place. If you limit yourself to manual spend management strategies, you might face the following issues:

  • Outdated spending reports: Traditional methods of managing spend tend to produce spending data that is at least a month old. As a result, finance teams have difficulty identifying and correcting unnecessary spending before the damage is done. 
  • Overspending: Overspending and budget noncompliance are a consequence of finance teams being unable to track real-time spend. Costs like these can quickly add up to cause trouble for tax authorities as well as overspending. 
  • Inefficient strategies due to lack of real-time data: If you lack real-time data and work only based on reports that are outdated, you might be missing the forest for the trees. This could have the effect of optimizing your spending rather than improving your overall business process efficiency. In order to cut costs and optimize operations, real-time spend data is essential. 
  • Manual entry errors: Data entry errors skyrocket if your finance team has to move data between multiple software programs and map employee spending manually. As a result, financial reporting could be delayed. 
  • Issues with remote working and compliance: Employees who work remotely need to pay for other business expenses quickly and in accordance with compliance requirements. The traditional spend management system, with its shared corporate cards and lengthy approval processes, simply cannot keep up.
  • Strained resources: It takes finance teams a long time to manually align expenditures to budgets after the expenditures have been made. This takes up many productive hours and, of course, can lead to errors when entering data. 

How To Manage Company Spending

Managing your company spending is both a science and an art, but much more the former than the latter. 

Each business will have its own unique challenges to overcome when it comes to spending, but there’s still general strategies you can adopt that will fit most situations.

Create a Budget that Accounts for the Future

When it comes to budgeting, you shouldn’t just think about the expenses in front of you, you also have to consider potential unexpected expenses. 

If you limit yourself to budgeting for the present, you’ll have a hard time dealing with expenses that can pop up out of nowhere.

Your budget should be realistic, but also reviewed frequently to ensure it is still appropriate for your business as it grows and evolves. 

Creating a good budget will require that you examine your current and past expenses, take a look at your spending habits, and consider your potential expenses as your business grows. 

This will give you an opportunity to review your existing processes, expense policies, and track expenses that you might not be thinking about.

Use Zero-Based Budgeting

It’s not uncommon for organizations to focus on past expenses and budgets when creating a new one. 

However, businesses and the environments around them change, and so budgets need to change as well. 

That is where zero-based budgeting comes in. This technique creates a new budget from scratch for each budgeting period. The budget is then compared to past budgets and weighed against current expenses.

In a company, zero-based budgeting can be used to keep your expenses under control. Your budget needs to be a living breathing element of your operation, and as such you need to constantly evaluate it to find realistic cost-cutting opportunities and areas that can be made more efficient when it comes to expenses.

Report and Track Your Expenses

Any expenses incurred should be documented and filed as soon as possible. This way, your business expenses are accounted for when filing its tax return. This is one area where the use of spend management software becomes crucial, as it dramatically simplifies the process of reporting and tracking your expenses. Pluto helps to categorize said expenditure, further assisting you when it comes to tax season.

Use a Spend Management Platform to Automate Processes and Digitize Expenses

As your business grows, you’ll find that using a spend management tool to track your expenses saves you a lot of time and money. In addition to tracking expenses, it tends to offer many other features, such as the ability to track invoices, payments, and credits all in one place. 

Furthermore, Pluto gives you the ability to assess your expenses on the go, thanks to mobile apps and online dashboards.

It is easier to keep track of your expenses and receipts by digitizing them. Employees can do this by taking pictures of their receipts as soon as they receive them. These images can then be uploaded and tracked through Pluto.

Automating your approval workflows and processes will help to reduce, if not outright eliminate, human error.

Key Spend Management Software Features

Using spend management software is almost mandatory if you want to make your spend tracking and reporting as efficient as possible. 

When looking to choose a platform, consider the following features:

Complete Control Over Spending Data 

If your finance teams don’t have complete control over spending, real-time data cannot be of much use to your business. 

Pluto allows your business finance managers to streamline and automate processes with superior customizability and control over workflows. 

This freedom allows admins to change or optimize workflows as business/processes scale. 

Real-time and in-depth spend analytics

Managing company funds efficiently is the essence of spend management. In order to do that, you need to keep track of your employee expenses as they occur. 

Pluto records employee expenditures in real time and provides you with a reliable picture of what they are spending. 

You can control expenses by using real-time expense tracking without restricting your employees’ work.

Additionally, Pluto provides your finance team with insights and analytics based on all the data it gets. A feature like this is crucial for proper management, especially if your goal is to cut costs and optimize spending through automation. 

Your finance team will struggle to drive meaningful change without detailed analytics, requiring them to go through reams of data and make sense of it. 

Reports on expenses provide an overview of your expense history, making it easier to track down individual purchases. Maintaining accurate records, limiting expenditures, and avoiding fraud are all made easier with this functionality.

Easy to Use

The most advanced software in the world is worthless if no one wants to use it. Simplicity and ease of use of essential business software, such as spend management, should therefore be a priority. 

You might find, for instance, that employees don't use your spend management software if they find it clunky and difficult to use. This can result in a manual spend reporting process that is time-consuming and error-prone. 

A lot of time is spent by businesses storing and processing invoices, receipts, and purchase orders. 

Pluto makes it easy to retrieve and keep track of essential documents, including matching documents to authenticate transactions, for record keeping and due diligence.

An all-in-one platform

Your spend management platform should be a centralized solution for all your spending needs. Keeping all company spending in one place, in real time, is more efficient (and more secure) than using multiple smaller tools. 

Pluto has it all: 

- Unlimited virtual cards

- Efficient reimbursements

- Spend management platform

- Real-time analytics

- Real-time spend control

Essentially, anything that will allow you not only manage your expenses, but really take you spending under control and make sure that everything is at it's maximal eff

Key Takeaways

Managing your company spending is a crucial aspect of company growth that is sometimes overlooked. Proper spending management strategies can help you find cost-cutting opportunities, gain a better overview of the health of your business, and simplify your tax reporting to avoid penalties.

When it comes to developing effective spending management strategies, you should focus on creating a budget that can evolve with your organization, reporting and tracking your expenses in real time, and using a spend management platform to automate and simplify your expense tracking and reporting.

5
All
Procurement
December 4, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Top 7 Accounts Payable Automation Software

An invoice has landed in your inbox. As soon as it arrived, a team member cleared the payment. Later, when another team member came across it, they made the payment again. This is a common scenario of duplicate payments that results in cash leakage. Invoices are not consolidated. There is no proper approval workflow, and stakeholders lack visibility. 

Overall, managing accounts payable (AP) becomes a nightmare. 

An automation tool solves these bottlenecks and provides a centralized platform for invoice management and accounts payable. An accounts payable automation software automates invoice capture and retrieval to consolidate all the information on a unified platform. You get real-time visibility and control over your payables. 

As a result, you establish better vendor relationships and supply chain management without impacting cash flows.

This post will cover 7 AP automation software to help you choose the right automation partner.  

{{less-time-managing="/components"}}

Top 7 accounts payable automation software 

Here are the top 7 AP automation software. You can pick one of these to automate your accounts payable based on your company size and needs.

1. Pluto

account payable automation software by pluto

Pluto is an accounts payable software that transforms your AP processes by simplifying bill processing. From enabling GRN matching to setting fully customizable multi-layer approval workflows, it is the best AP automation software to manage your vendor payments. 

Key Features:

  • Facilitates three-way GRN matching with purchase orders and item-based matching
  • Offers a flexible approval engine capable of managing intricate hierarchies without requiring technical expertise
  • Enables multi-layer invoice approvals with policies to align with your company's structure
  • Ability to upload invoices easily via WhatsApp images and emails to speed up the receipt capture process
  • Facilitates optical character recognition (OCR) technology to retrieve invoice information, including tax and general ledger (GL) codes
  • Offers a centralized dashboard to gather bills in one place and track the status to avoid double payments
  • Consolidates approved invoices in a single window to highlight pending bills and avoid delays
  • Raises alerts for upcoming payments, enables scheduling payments in advance and automates invoices 
  • Allows you to seamlessly carry out bulk local and international wire transfers for easy payment clearing through their treasury partners.
  • Enables you to split payments for different tax and GL codes, departments, etc. 
  • Provides vendor-specific corporate cards to control budgets and detect irrelevant expenses
  • Supports ERP integration to synchronize your vendors, purchase orders, and bills
  • Integrates with accounting software such as Oracle, NetSuite, Zoho, Quickbooks, Wafeq, Xero, etc.
  • 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: 

Free to get started 

Pros:

  • Free to get started!
  • Enables branch and subsidiary-level spend tracking (not offered by other platforms)
  • Offers up to 2% cashback on all non-AED transactions 
  • Independent PCI DSS Level 1 certification for advanced security
  • SSO/SAML Capabilities for Enterprises
  • Better Forex rates than most local banks 

Cons:

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

{{less-time-managing="/components"}}

2. Tipalti

AP automation software by tipalti

Tipalti is an automation tool that supports end-to-end AP processes. It streamlines accounts payables and facilitates global payments in local currencies for various recipients, from suppliers to freelancers. The cloud-based platform helps finance teams manage payments without losing visibility and control. 

Key Features:

  • Supports supplier onboarding and vetting to ensure supplier reliability and trustworthiness
  • Integrates with ERP and accounting systems to help with reconciliation reporting
  • Uses OCR to scan, capture, match, and process invoice data to reduce manual errors
  • Provides built-in approval workflows and payment scheduling 
  • Offers invoice processing, including two-way and three-way purchase order matching and approval to avoid overpayments
  • Assists AP processes for subsidiaries and entities

Pricing: 

Starts at $129 per month per user for the platform fee and charges for additional features separately

Pros:

  • Can manage supplier bank account details in a secure environment

Cons:

  • Cannot use it for prepayment invoices on inventory purchases with the ERP system
  • High foreign currency exchange fees
  • Tax forms can be difficult to fill out and very difficult if you do not speak English

3. Airbase

AP automation platform by Airbase

Airbase manages global AP processes. It focuses on ensuring compliance and syncing with your accounting tool to streamline payment. It is an automation solution for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises with 100-5,000 employees.

Key Features: 

  • Offers OCR to populate details, including GL category, date, amount, and purpose
  • Supports onboarding with a self-service vendor portal and custom questionnaires
  • Has a centralized dashboard with all key information about the invoice to avoid friction 
  • Accepts invoices from email or vendor portal across all subsidiaries
  • Offers automated approval workflows based on multiple parameters, such as vendor, amount, GL category, etc.
  • Enables three-way invoice matching to ensure compliance and reduce wasted spend
  • Real-time audit trail with receipts, notes, and documentation for transparency

Pricing: 

Request a custom quote

Pros:

  • Intuitive and easy to use; no training or previous knowledge required

Cons:

  • The mobile app is slow and takes time to load pages 
  • SSO-based login is not smooth
  • Not suitable for complex branch-level approvals and expenses

4. Ramp

Ramp's AP automation solution

Ramp is an accounts payable solution for managing payments and business expenses. It automates bill entries, approvals, and payments while offering complete visibility and control. By tracking each AP step from data recording to approvals, it simplifies payment processing and takes the burden off teams. 

Key Features:

  • Uses artificial intelligence (AI) to extract key details from invoices to offer accuracy and eliminate data-entry errors
  • Identifies duplicate invoices and helps with two-way matching to purchase orders
  • Offers custom approval workflows to minimize errors and ensure timely payments 
  • Provides a unified dashboard with visibility into the status of invoices
  • Consolidates multiple payment options, such as check, card, same-day ACH, or international wire
  • Integrates with accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks, Xero, Oracle NetSuite, Sage, etc. for auto-sync bill pay transactions
  • Supports international payment processing in multiple currencies 
  • Tracks vendor data and transactions for easy reporting and data-driven decisions

Pricing: 

Three pricing packages—free or basic features, $15 per user per month for Ramp Plus, and custom quote for enterprises with features like enterprise ERP integration, custom implementation, and local card issuance

Pros:

  • Works with multiple subsidiaries
  • Offers cash back on credit card purchases made using VISA cards

Cons:

  • Can’t unmatch an incorrectly matched invoice (invoice to credit card)
  • Approval routing can only be set on the vendor level, not the department level
  • Limitations in syncing repayments

5. Bill

Accounts payable automation tool by Bill

Bill is an accounts payable solution for SMBs to control payables, receivables, expenses, and all corporate expenses. It allows businesses to streamline scattered AP processes into a single platform and gain more control over their finances. 

Key Features:

  • Enables custom approval workflows for minimal hassle
  • Automates purchase order workflows with the option for automated two-way and three-way matching
  • Automates receipt matching, categorization, and expense reporting, decreasing administrative tasks
  • Syncs with all major accounting systems like QuickBooks, Sage, Intacct, and NetSuite
  • OCR auto-populates invoices for data entry
  • Provides bulk payments of approved invoices with payment choices, such as ACH, credit cards, checks, and international wire transfers
  • Offers audit trail of any changes or actions related to the invoice on a single page

Pricing: 

Provides a free trial and essentials pack starting at $45 for six standard user roles. Its team and corporate pack are for $55 and $79, respectively. Enterprises need to request a custom quote.

Pros:

  • One-click swift payments
  • Minimum training required
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

Cons:

  • Customer support is difficult to initiate, slow, and unresponsive
  • Frequent changes in the interface create confusion for users

6. Procurify

Procurify's AP automation software

Procurify streamlines AP reconciliation, offering a straightforward solution for financial operations. From catalog management to custom user controls, it helps to track the procurement process in real time. Its no-code configuration allows for a prompt deployment in under six weeks, making it a suitable choice for mid-market to enterprise organizations.

Key Features:

  • Creates, tracks, and maintains an audit trail of all procurement transactions for transparency and compliance
  • Ensures that requested items are approved against budgets before procurement
  • Integrates with trusted vendors through punchout catalogs to streamline the ordering process
  • Syncs bills and completes bill payments directly with platforms like QuickBooks Online, NetSuite, and other major accounting systems
  • Supports OCR  technology to extract data from invoices

Pricing: 

Starts at $2000/month with a custom pricing tier

Pros:

  • Ability to upload different invoices in the same PO and group invoices

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer payment services, so you need to carry out payments on a different platform
  • Physical inventory has to be tracked outside Procurify

7. ZipHq

Accounts payable automation by ZipHQ

Ziphq is an end-to-end procure to pay software designed to streamline the entire procurement process, from purchase order to payment. It caters to businesses of all sizes — startups, mid-size companies, and enterprises with no-code configuration and deployment in under six weeks.

Key Features:

  • Offers vendor cards to automate recurring and one-time payments
  • Centralizes purchasing workflows, providing real-time visibility into the AP process
  • Facilitates automatic purchase order matching, ensuring invoice accuracy and timely payments
  • Provides automated, no-code workflows, referencing all stakeholders in the approval chain
  • Allows employees to comment on invoices and tag stakeholders, ensuring everyone has the context and visibility needed
  • Automates renewal planning with workflows initiated well ahead of deadlines, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions
  • Supports vendor payments in 140+ countries and 40+ currencies
  • Integrates with ERP, ensuring quick and easy reconciliation, even for complex, multi-subsidiary operations

Pricing: 

Request a demo quote

Pros:

  • Provides various customization options to configure internal processes

Cons:

  • Localized to the USA market
  • Takes over five days to settle vendor payments 
  • Can’t bulk upload documents

How to choose the right accounts payable automation software?

User-friendliness

Select software that is adaptable and user-friendly, with intuitive trigger-based workflows and a clean interface, ensuring ease of use without excessive reliance on support for basic tasks.

Versatile payment capabilities

Choose a solution that supports a broad spectrum of payment methods, including the ability to issue vendor-specific cards for secure and speedy payments, a feature not commonly found in many platforms.

Accurate Invoice Processing

Opt for software with OCR technology to enhance invoice processing speed and accuracy, capable of handling invoices from various sources and integrating them into a centralized database for reduced manual entry.

Efficient Approval Workflows

The software should include a straightforward, no-code workflow builder that can handle complex hierarchies, essential for large organizations with intricate approval processes.

Seamless System Integration

Ensure the software integrates well with existing accounting systems to automate data entry and maintain synchronized records, which is crucial for effective financial management.

Advanced Reporting Features

Reporting functionality that offers insights into spending patterns and department-specific expenditures is vital. The software should provide a robust reporting dashboard with options for deeper analytics.

Choosing the right accounts payable automation software 

Implementing accounts payable software will support your procurement process only when you carefully pick an option that provides flexibility, visibility, and security without losing on functionality. 

Imagine software that makes it easy to clear payments but doesn’t settle payments for days on the vendor’s end. Contrarily, consider an option your legal or IT team is skeptical of implementing. 

That is why, at Pluto, we focus on simplifying processes and cutting all the chaos without risking security, flexibility, or functionality. We simplify accounts payable by syncing with your payment gateways for faster payments at better forex rates than banks. You get a PCI DSS Level 1 certified solution that provides you with bank-grade security. 

So, book a demo and learn more about how you can optimize your entire procurement process.

5
All
Spend Management
October 13, 2022

Leen Shami

How to Take Control of your Employee’s Fuel Reimbursements

Many companies require in-person meetings, site visits, or attending events. Whatever the business-related travel may be, fuel reimbursement comes into the picture.

What is Fuel Reimbursement?

In a nutshell, fuel reimbursement is when an employer reimburses you for the cost of fuel used for business purposes.

While other countries may consider this a travel expense or a mileage reimbursement, the UAE considers this a 'fuel reimbursement.'

{{take-control-banner="/components"}}

Why Did Reimbursing Travel Expenses Grow?

In a post-pandemic world, where many companies are going back to the norm of office work, it is common for travel reimbursement costs to increase.

The mileage reimbursement rate has risen with regular office hours, more in-person meetings, and less remote work. But that's not the only reason.

Due to the surge in fuel costs globally, it's no surprise that consumers are becoming more aware of their travel expenses.

The UAE alone has seen a significant spike of 74% in fuel prices and petrol prices over the last 7 months, indicating that reimbursing travel expenses grew.

Subsequently, UAE companies have seen a 38% increase in fuel reimbursements and travel reimbursement requests from their employees. Inflation alongside a post-pandemic world, fuel reimbursement expenses have become the most requested reimbursement category in the UAE.

A study by Bayzat has shown that fuel is among the most requested reimbursements category for UAE employees, with an increase of 18% in the average amount per reimbursement since January.

This indicates that companies and employees have spent more time managing and filing fuel reimbursement expenses. 

Unsurprisingly, the cost of average travel reimbursements has increased with the significant spike in fuel prices and petrol prices these past few months.

With Pluto's corporate cards, companies can wave goodbye to everyday fuel reimbursement expenses' pain points by issuing their employees fuel cards to keep track of their fuel expenses and travel reimbursement costs.

{{cta-component}}

Why Use Pluto Fuel Cards For Fuel Reimbursement?

There are many advantages to using Pluto fuel cards for business travel expenses:

Create unlimited fuel cards

Create and distribute as many virtual or physical fuel cards as needed for your employees, so you won't have to worry about travel expenses, mileage reimbursement requests, or having to reimburse employees.

Create fuel cards
Create Fuel Cards on Pluto's Platform

Set limits on fuel cards

Create fuel cards for employees with daily, weekly, or monthly spending limits to keep track of employees' fuel expenses.

Set Custom Limits on Fuel Cards

Track fuel expenses in real-time

Expense tracking in real-time
Real-time Transactional Data

It's essential to keep track of what is being spent and where. With Pluto, you can:

  • Get notified as soon as a fuel expense is made so you know who spends what, where, and when.
  • Keep track of average travel reimbursements' costs, travel expenses, and employee expenditure data to avoid going over budget on fuel expenses.

No more end-of-month expense reports on fuel!

Digitized receipt reconciliation

Whether your employees are using personal vehicles or company vehicles, they can simply make a transaction with their personal card, snap a picture of the receipt and upload it to the Pluto dashboard for fuel reimbursement.

Alternatively, UAE companies can issue their employees virtual or physical cards, and the receipt can be attached to the business expense by dragging and dropping it onto the Pluto dashboard.

No more searching through piles of paper receipts! 

Fill up your tank anywhere

Once you issue your UAE employees a virtual or physical fuel card, they can use it at any gas station in the UAE for business travel expenses.

While requested reimbursements for fuel expenses grew over five-fold over the past couple of years, there is a solution to make CFOs' and finance teams' lives easier; Pluto Card.

With Pluto, finance teams have an all-in-one integrated platform for fuel reimbursements, budget & spend control for business travel expenses, and fuel receipt reconciliation.

Fuel Reimbursement vs. Mileage Reimbursement

When looking for information about fuel reimbursement, another term that you may stumble on frequently is mileage reimbursement. While they are similar and sometimes interchangeable, they are not the same.

What is Mileage Reimbursement?

Mileage reimbursement refers to the practice of reimbursing employees for business-related travel expenses.

While it accounts for fuel, it also considers lease, vehicle depreciation, and other car-related expenses. This type of reimbursement is usually given per mile driven.

In some countries, mileage reimbursement refers to accounting rules and categories that help standardize expenses.

What is Fuel Reimbursement?

Fuel reimbursement, on the other hand, only covers the cost of fuel used for business travel. It doesn't take into consideration any other car-related expenses. This type of reimbursement is usually given based on receipts.

The difference between fuel reimbursement and mileage reimbursement is that mileage reimbursement takes into account all car-related expenses, while fuel reimbursement only covers the fuel cost.

How Does Fuel Reimbursement Work?

If you use your car for business purposes, you can be reimbursed for the fuel costs incurred. The reimbursement is usually calculated based on the number of kilometers traveled or miles driven.

However, to qualify for fuel reimbursement, you will need to keep accurate records of your travel expenses. This includes maintaining a logbook of your travels and keeping receipts for all fuel purchases.

To ensure that employees are reimbursed correctly, they need a receipt and an accurate logbook. Fuel and travel expenses can be included as costs, but you must show all travel logs if necessary.

What Counts as Business-Related Fuel Reimbursements?

Here are some examples of obvious and less obvious fuel expenses that you can get reimbursed for when you are an employee:

  • Traveling for a client meeting;
  • Driving to pick up anything on behalf of the company;
  • Driving to the airport to pick up a client or a colleague;
  • Going to another city for a business-related event;

Anything done to advance the business, big or small, is business related.

Is Commuting to Work a Business-Related Expense?

While some big corporations may reimburse you for commuting to and from work, typically, commuting is not considered a business expense.

What to Track For Fuel Reimbursement?

Keeping a gas log is one of the best ways to ensure employees are correctly reimbursed while companies have a clear overview of their travel expenses.

Last but not least, when you put fuel reimbursements into your profit and loss statement to apply them as costs (which you should), you must have a detailed log of travels - in case the tax authority wants a record.

Here is the main employee expenditure data that you should store in your fuel reimbursement logbook:

  • Date of each journey
  • Start time and end time of driving.
  • Purpose of the trip.
  • Kilometers driven.

If a company provides employees with company cars, this is all. But, if you're filing for fuel reimbursement while traveling with your personal vehicle, you will have to provide the following:

  • Brand of the car and the year it was made.
  • Average fuel consumption as per the car documentation.
  • Engine size or engine capacity.
  • Copy of car technical documentation.

Does an Employer Have to Pay For Fuel?

Most companies reimburse fuel expenses for employees who need to travel for business, but there might be some limitations. For example, a company may ask you to use its corporate Careem account for business travel.

Typically, if you incur the cost of fuel, your company will reimburse you as it is a cost tightly associated with the business.

Is Fuel Reimbursement Tax Deductible?

A massive shift for UAE companies will be the introduction of corporate taxes in 2023. With a corporate tax rate of 9%, UAE companies must keep track of all their spending. Fuel reimbursements fall under that category, as they can help reduce the amount of taxable income that a company has.

If you have a fuel reimbursement policy in place, it will help ensure that all of your employees are mindful of their spending on fuel and that they only claim back what they have spent.

Pluto allows UAE companies to issue unlimited fuel cards while centralizing the expense in one dashboard, so you can see in real-time how much is being spent and the number of tax-deductible costs your employees are making.