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Efficient Receipt Management For UAE Businesses

Vlad Falin

December 6, 2022

5

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.

Find out how much your business can save with Pluto

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

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

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Spend Management
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
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Spend Management
November 2, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Top 6 Spend Management Software for Businesses in the UAE (2023)

Managing business spend is a key concern for most companies. The use of spreadsheets, paper receipts, paper vouchers and handwritten notes makes processes inefficient, time-consuming, and resource-intensive. It also reduces the finance team’s visibility over the company’s spend. 

The lack of control over spend causes stress within finance teams, who lag behind due to lack of visibility.  Moreover, the cash chaos leads to unspoken internal resentment wherein CFOs think that their teams aren’t providing the necessary key financial insights they require.

A spend management platform can solve this problem. But not every software offers the same functionalities and benefits. You need to select the one that has a good UX and in-depth offerings, enables more reporting, is flexible and scalable, integrates with your ERP, supports the complexities of your business, and has robust security. It should also fit into your organizational structure.

To help you choose the most suitable one for your organization, this article will cover the top 7 spend management software to manage your corporate spending. 

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What Is Spend Management Software?

A spend management software is a tool that helps manage corporate spend, i.e., all non-payroll expenses. It does this by:

  • Simplifying capture, storage, and retrieval of receipts and documents to reduce the risk of misplaced receipts
  • Deploying approval workflows to ensure that business spending follows the company's approval hierarchy
  • Providing real-time visibility into business expenses, helping to identify any irregularities
  • Generating alerts when an expenditure violates company policies
  • Automating employee reimbursement processes to reduce delays in employees getting paid
  • Maintaining a complete audit log, including spending approvals and changes
  • Easily sync with your ERP/accounting tool for streamlined month-end close
  • Managing petty cash expenses by tracking and recording small, miscellaneous expenses in real-time
  • Facilitating payment capabilities to handle outgoing financial transactions
  • Integrating corporate cards for real-time expense tracking and control spending
  • Facilitating procurement processes for the purchase of goods and services
  • Handling invoice management to ensure timely payment and record-keeping to foster healthy vendor relations

Hence, spend management software provides financial visibility and control.

Top 7 Spend Management Software

These are the top 7 spend management software to consider:

1.Pluto 

Spend management software by Pluto

Pluto is a spend management platform for enterprises that transforms your finance processes with automation to provide more visibility and control. It brings together the spenders, savers, and sourcers of your business to offer a complete revolution from a chaotic spend management system to a seamless collaborative workflow. It is the fastest way to manage your finances, including account payables and employee reimbursement

Key Features:

  • Custom approval workflows that adapt to the company's hierarchy for timely and accurate approvals 
  • Facilitate intricate multi-layer workflows to adapt to complex hierarchies to support seamless purchase requests and automate purchase orders
  • Unlimited corporate cards with budget controls to maintain expenses within corporate policies
  • Offers zero-balance cards, which get funded once the expense is approved.
  • Card-specific policies to make branch & subsidiary-level reimbursements easy
  • Ability to add comments and document the conversation along with other transaction details to maintain a comprehensive audit log
  • View-only access available for external accountants to review financial data without making changes
  • Automated receipt capture through OCR, with the ability to support bulk upload via WhatsApp and emails 
  • Alerts in case of duplicate receipt uploads to avoid fraud and compliance issues
  • Custom expense reports to overview business expenses and spending trends
  • Integration with accounting platforms like Netsuite for advanced general ledger (GL) coding, tax tracking, vendor syncing, etc. 
  • Secure document storage with a 5-year audit log and bank-grade encryption

Pricing:

 Request a custom quote

Pros:

  • Enables branch & subsidiary-level spend tracking (not offered by other platforms)
  • WhatsApp integration to make receipt upload easy
  • Offers up to 2% cashback on all non-AED transactions 
  • Independent PCI DSS Level 1 Certification

Cons:

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

2.Procurify 

Spend management solution by Procurify

Procurify simplifies spend management by accelerating the approval and reconciliation process. It helps to track the business spending with real-time tracking and breaking down data silos. With a core focus on simplifying invoice payments and management, it helps businesses in vendor and spend management.  

Key Features:

  • Ability to approve requests based on attached receipts and leave comments for clarification
  • Custom budgets for different departments or projects
  • OCR to auto-extract invoice data with a dedicated centralized invoice box and automatic matching with purchase orders
  • Detailed reports based on different departments, categories, or other relevant parameters
  • Tailored expense request forms to capture specific information relevant to the organization's needs
  • Compatibility with multiple currencies, streamlining international expenses
  • Storage of all expense-related documents, including receipts, invoices, and expense reports
  • Integration with ERP to sync expense data

Pricing: 

It has standard all-in-one pricing of $2000/month. But custom pricing quotes are provided for add-ons like more users, more domains, NetSuite integration, on-premise training, implementation services, and on-premise hybrid implementation.

Pros:

  • Easy to make amendments, for instance, to invoice amounts, which helps when raising a PO before receiving the invoice
  • Responsive support team when handling technical issues

Cons:

  • Does not offer corporate cards in UAE 
  • Only supports procurement based spending 
  • Poor reporting capabilities—lacks functionality  

3. Spendesk 

Spend management platform by Spendesk

Spendesk combines approvals, corporate cards, expense reimbursements, and invoice management to automate the spend management process. Specifically designed for finance teams, it offers real-time expense tracking and offers custom workflows for complete control. By consolidating all payments, it provides a spend management solution that enhances financial transparency. 

Key Features:

  • 100% digital expense reports
  • OCR technology to capture and extract key details from receipts 
  • Expense claim history, available anytime, anywhere, for quick and accurate reporting
  • A mobile app for quick reimbursement requests by snapping a photo of receipts
  • Real-time expense monitoring to spot errors and missing receipts and stay compliant
  • Automates categorization of expenses and VAT account
  • Detects duplicate invoices and errors to support three-way matching
  • Tracks all purchase orders and invoices with the ability to schedule payments

Pricing: 

Request the sales team for a custom quote. A free trial is available.

Pros:

  • Single purchases are straightforward and simple
  • Easy to integrate with an SSO provider, making login easy and secure for users 
  • Handy drag-and-drop receipt functionality

Cons:

  • Virtual cards are glitchy, with merchants rejecting transactions that have already gone through
  • Some basic features are not included in the basic option where they should have been (i.e., memorizing accounting patterns for vendors). 
  • Corporate cards have defects (especially for travel expenses)

4. Airbase

Spend management solution by Airbase

Airbase simplifies expense reporting with AI and ML. It ensures quick, hassle-free, and smart corporate expense management. It is an automation solution for SMBs and large enterprises. It packages various modules such as AP automation and corporate cards to ease the spend management process for accounting teams and employees.

Key Features: 

  • OCR to populate details, including GL category, date, amount, and purpose
  • Ensures compliance by sending reminders and, if needed, locking cards until policies are met
  • Reminders to upload receipts, eliminating the need to chase employees for receipts
  • Custom approval workflows and budget limits for physical cards
  • Real-time alerts for suspicious activity, enabling quick responses to potential fraudulent purchases
  • Supports onboarding with a self-service vendor portal and custom questionnaires
  • Facilitates payments and approvals, including multi-subsidiary support, international currency, and real-time GL sync
  • Real-time audit trail with receipts, notes, and documentation for transparency.

Pricing: 

Request the sales team for a custom quote.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Poor reporting capabilities
  • The mobile app is slow and takes time to load pages 
  • SSO-based login sometimes takes a few tries
  • Not suitable for complex branch-level approvals and expenses

5. Coupa

Coupa: spend management software

Coupa is a cloud-based automation platform to manage business spending, ranging from procurement to expense management. It facilitates supply chain optimization by providing visibility and control. It streamlines expenses, reduces risk, and ensures compliance by automating reporting, simplifying reimbursements, and offering mobile tracking. 

Key Features:

  • Offers virtual payment cards for pre-approved expenses, speeding up the reconciliation
  • OCR technology and integration with accounting software eliminates manual data entry
  • Provides expense reports with intelligent algorithms to prevent fraud and ensure compliance
  • A centralized view of all expense spending, enabling accurate assessment
  • Enables visibility and control over travel expenses before they occur, ensuring budget control
  • Simplifies procurement by offering a centralized area for comparing items from various suppliers and managing punchouts and hosted catalogs
  • Provides real-time visibility into purchase orders, order lifecycle, and order line availability
  • SmarterTrip feature to automate expense tracking based on the user's location, including mileage and receipt capture

Pricing: 

Request the sales team for a custom quote.

Pros:

  • Several categories and filters in the analytics section to streamline data
  • Chat option enables approver and claimant to discuss issues with receipts
  • Enables setting up of customized approval chains and including additional new approvers  

Cons:

  • Lots of unnecessary notifications, making it difficult to select the ones that need action or comment
  • Low receipt searchability, making retrieval time-consuming
  • Inconsistent syncing of remit-to address from NetSuite
  • Complex to implement and not intuitive, forcing admins to spend more time resolving employees' queries
  • Slow customer service 
  • Very expensive

6.BILL

Spend management solution by Bill

BILL simplifies expense tracking by providing real-time visibility and customization to manage expenses. It is a spend management solution for SMBs to control payables, receivables expenses, and all corporate expenses. It allows businesses to combine a scattered spend management process into a single platform with seamless syncing. 

Key Features:

  • Provides credit limits ranging from $500 to $5 million to control spending within constraints
  • Makes it easier to monitor spending with real-time visibility into the business finances
  • Custom approval workflows to speed up the approval process with minimal friction
  • Multiple payment options, including ACH, credit card, check, international wire transfers
  • Automates purchase order workflows with the ability to sync and automate two-way matching and three-way matching
  • Ability to do quick coding and sync with accounting systems to streamline expense reconciliation
  • Enables automated receipt matching, categorization, and expense reporting, reducing administrative workload
  • Offers security features, including the ability to freeze and create corporate cards instantly
  • Notifies administrators of each employee's transactions, ensuring timely oversight

Pricing: 

Bill 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

How to Choose the Right Spend Management Software 

To pick the right software, understand your organization's unique needs.

  • What are your goals—cutting costs, enhancing compliance, or making expense processing more efficient?
  • What issues do you face with expenses now—a time-consuming process, too many errors, or poor vendor relationships?
  • How many employees will use the software, and should it be scalable to accommodate future hires?
  • Do you have specific industry rules or in-house policies the software must follow?

Consider these eight factors:

Ease of Use

The software should require minimal training or support with a not-too-steep learning curve. Admins shouldn’t have to spend hours training their employees.

Automation

Choose software with features like automated approval workflows, expense categorization, and notifications. This will improve not only visibility but also accuracy and speed. You will have complete control over finances without having to do tedious manual tasks. 

Security

Pick software that complies with security and is certified. It should provide data encryption, role-based access control, and regular security updates.

ERP Integration

The software should integrate with existing financial and accounting systems. This provides a unified view of your financial data without any disruptions. You shouldn’t have to sync data from multiple sources, which can add up to the manual tasks. 

Document Capture and Retrieval

Pick a software that has simple document capture and retrieval capabilities. Attaching or retrieving receipts, invoices, and other relevant documents should not take more than a minute. OCR-based software that detects the information to auto-populate expense reports is better than that requiring manual entry.

Budget Control

Select software that enables specifying budgets for different projects, departments, or expense categories. It should be able to monitor the set budgets and raise alerts in case of breach. It should also allow you to modify these budgets at your discretion, ensuring funds reach the right place at the right time. 

Multiple Payment Options

The software should allow you to configure custom payment options to suit your business needs. This includes credit cards, ACH, or other payment methods.

Scalability and Flexibility

Select software that can accommodate increased usage for growing businesses. It must also be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs, such as new expense categories, compliance requirements, and organizational structures.

The Spend Management Solution for Your Team

Investing in a spend management tool like Pluto is a smart decision that can improve your financial visibility. From set-up to integration and managing intricate workflows, Pluto handles all aspects of spend management. 

  • It seamlessly integrates with your current processes, ensuring a smooth transition. 
  • It offers flexibility to handle complex operations, catering to the needs of both small and large teams. 
  • Its automation capabilities reduce manual tasks and enhance accuracy for better expense management. 

Pluto is the only independently audited PCI DSS Level 1 provider in the UAE, ensuring the highest security standards for enterprises.

Pluto offers a spend management tool that adapts to your evolving needs and provides freedom from financial chaos.

If you want to see how Pluto can transform your spend management into a simpler process, book a demo today.

Disclaimer: The comparisons and rankings of spend management 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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January 29, 2024

Mohammed Ridwan

SaaS Procurement: How to Optimize SaaS Purchases and Streamline Workflow

One of your teams discovers a SaaS tool and makes a quick purchase using the company credit card, thinking this software solution will simplify processes and increase efficiency. It seems straightforward at this point—a hassle-free process.

However, this purchase workflow shadows the IT and legal departments. None of them are involved in the decision-making process. As a result, the chosen product never undergoes the risk assessment for security threats and legal regulations. What appears as an elementary and frictionless process becomes a breeding ground for chaos and potential operational disruptions.

This blog post is for procurement teams that wish to understand the SaaS procurement process and streamline the purchases for efficiency. We will discuss the challenges with the traditional approach and how you can overcome these to create a secure and cost-effective tech stack.

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What is SaaS Procurement?

SaaS procurement is the acquisition and management of cloud-based software solutions through a subscription model.

As a member of the procurement team, you assess organizational software needs, evaluate vendors, negotiate contracts, and oversee the entire lifecycle. You aim to ensure cost-effectiveness, compliance, and optimal performance of SaaS applications.

Challenges With Traditional SaaS Procurement Process 

The most significant loophole in traditional SaaS procurement processes is the lack of proper approval workflow. Employees purchase suitable SaaS tools by themselves based on self-assessment. While this approach is flexible and saves time, it leads to operational bottlenecks in the long run.

Here is an overview of what happens when the relevant stakeholders aren’t involved in the SaaS procurement process:

Absence of Procurement Team

When teams proceed without involving the procurement team, they introduce several challenges, impacting the following aspects:

  1. Cost-Optimization: Without a centralized team overseeing SaaS subscriptions, different departments independently select similar plans, leading to redundant expenses. For example, two teams might unknowingly invest in the same SaaS product for $ 12/month/user plans. However, when consolidated under an enterprise plan, they could get added security features more cost-efficiently.
  2. Vendor Management: Vendor management becomes fragmented without a procurement team, as various teams engage with multiple vendors independently. Hence, It becomes challenging to negotiate favorable terms, track performance, and ensure consistent service levels across the organization. This absence of centralized management hinders the organization's ability to leverage its purchasing power effectively.
  3. Inconsistent User Experiences: Different teams choose diverse tools for similar tasks, resulting in variations in workflows and collaboration. This lack of standardization hinders overall efficiency and employees' ability to work seamlessly across different projects.
  4. Renewal Management: The decentralized approach of SaaS procurement makes it challenging to track and manage subscription renewals effectively. Unintended renewals for underutilized or obsolete SaaS subscriptions ensue, leading to unnecessary costs and potential inefficiencies in resource allocation.

Absence of Legal Team

Legal professionals evaluate and ensure that the chosen SaaS solution adheres to data protection and privacy laws. Also, they help craft and review contracts to protect the enterprise’s interests.

The absence of legal scrutiny leads to inadequate safeguards, exposing sensitive information to security breaches. Moreover, without their input, contracts with SaaS vendors lack clarity, leaving room for misunderstandings, disputes, or unfavorable terms. There's a high risk of violating laws, regulations, or contractual obligations, leading to legal consequences and financial penalties.

Absence of IT Team (Also Known as Shadow IT)

IT professionals assess the security measures of SaaS products. The absence of IT involvement results in security compromise and operational inefficiencies. Let's say the sales team, without prior knowledge of the IT team, independently procures a SaaS product for inbound leads, integrating it swiftly into their workflow. This incident is also known as shadow IT.

But after a few weeks, a technical issue arises. Unaware of the product's existence, the IT department struggles to provide immediate support or resolve the issues promptly. It disrupts the sales team's workflow and raises broader concerns for the organization, exposing the company to potential data breaches or regulatory non-compliance. Moreover, fixing this issue involves potential legal ramifications and additional unplanned costs for IT intervention.

6-Step SaaS Procurement Process 

Each relevant stakeholder reviews and gets an overview of the purchase cycle — this is what a collaborative SaaS procurement process looks like.

1. Identify Need

saas procurement summary

This step involves identifying the specific software needs of the organization. Departments communicate their requirements to ensure the chosen SaaS solution aligns with overall business objectives. They fill out custom forms that become the procurement team's base to select the right vendor. 

2. Vendor Selection

The procurement team researches and evaluates various SaaS vendors to find a solution that meets the identified needs. At this stage, it aims to find the best vendor that offers functionality and security at reasonable pricing. Factors such as vendor reputation, integration capabilities, and contractual flexibility shape the selection process.

3. Approval Process

Relevant stakeholders, including IT, legal, and finance, review the selected vendor and approve the procurement. This collaborative approach ensures that the desired SaaS solution complies with legal standards, aligns with IT strategy, and fits within the budget.

However, this collaborative approach can quickly become a root cause for internal resentment if you don’t lay out proper approval workflows. A lack of workflow makes departments wait for weeks, while none of the stakeholders has visibility over the process. There is unnecessary back-and-forth communication, and eventually, teams move to the traditional, flexible, yet risky SaaS procurement process.

saas purchase request

If delays and friction in approval workflows disrupt your SaaS procurement process, centralized SaaS procurement software helps teams collaborate with minimal friction.

You can create proper approval workflows that define who needs to approve what. You get a no-code workflow builder, where you add if-then rules and make the desired workflow. You can have multiple workflows for different kinds of purchases, including parallel approvals as well.

For instance, a purchase request goes to the line manager, then the finance team, and after that, for a combined legal and IT review. You can have intricate workflows as required to suit your hierarchical structures.

 

purchase request details

With proper workflows laid out in a procurement automation platform, you simplify approvals. Moreover, a centralized dashboard makes it easier for each stakeholder to get an overview of the process without getting stuck in long email threads. 

4. Purchase and Deployment 

After approval, the procurement team finalizes contractual agreements with the chosen SaaS vendor. They negotiate on pricing models, licensing terms, and any customization requirements unique to the enterprise's needs.

Also, the procurement team ensures that the purchase aligns with the organization's budgetary constraints and financial policies. This step involves securing the best possible pricing and managing payment structures through one-time transactions or recurring subscription models. Further, the procurement team develops and finalizes contractual agreements with the vendor. This step involves clarifying terms and conditions, specifying service-level agreements, and addressing legal or compliance-related aspects.

With the procurement formalities completed, the deployment phase starts. Firstly, the SaaS solution has to be configured to align with the specific needs and processes of the company. This step ensures that the SaaS solution seamlessly fits within the organizational framework.

Secondly, the deployment team collaborates with IT and relevant departments to ensure that the SaaS tool integrates effectively with other applications to have a unified data ecosystem. Moreover, they establish and maintain robust access controls by defining user roles, permissions, and authentication mechanisms to safeguard sensitive data and maintain compliance.

5. Onboarding and Training

Once deployed, the onboarding and training phase ensures employees use the new SaaS tool effectively. This step is crucial for optimizing usage and ensuring that the software contributes to increased productivity. 

Training sessions, documentation, and support materials are provided to familiarize end-users with the features and functionalities. This step minimizes the learning curve and maximizes user adoption.

6. Monitor and Renew

Once users are onboarded and the SaaS solution is integrated into the organization's workflow, the focus shifts to post-onboarding and ongoing management. This stage involves the following:

  • Encouraging ongoing user engagement and collecting feedback, where regular communication channels help gather insights into user experiences and identify areas for improvement.
  • Monitoring the SaaS solution's performance to identify and address issues promptly. The IT and support teams collaborate to resolve technical glitches, ensuring uninterrupted functionality and a positive user experience.
  • Assessing functionality, user satisfaction, and alignment with business objectives to make renewal decisions. Simultaneously, compliance with legal and regulatory standards remains a significant consideration to avoid potential risks.

Collaborative Effort for Efficient SaaS Procurement

While SaaS procurement seems like a small piece of the puzzle, choosing and implementing it requires attention to detail to avoid operational and financial shocks. Each team needs to work together and help create a secure and cost-effective tech stack for the organization. 

However, collaborative efforts demand a centralized platform to overcome two core challenges — delay and friction. We have shared the top nine procure-to-pay software for enterprises for you to find solutions that transform the SaaS procurement process.