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Efficient Receipt Management For UAE Businesses

Vlad Falin

December 6, 2022

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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
March 30, 2023

Vlad Falin

How IT & Procurement Teams Should Evaluate Spend Management Products

In today's fast-paced business world, managing expenses can be a daunting task for IT and procurement teams.

To help you out, we compiled a list of features and functionalities that you should consider when picking your spend management platform.

Spoiler alert, Pluto has them all.

PCI DSS Level 1 Provider

One of the essential features that should be given high importance is the product's PCI DSS Level 1 compliance.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of guidelines and security requirements designed to safeguard payment card data. 

The standard was developed by major credit card companies, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and JCB, to ensure that all companies that handle payment card data maintain a secure environment. PCI DSS compliance helps to prevent fraud and data breaches, protecting both the company and its customers.

PCI DSS Level 1 is the highest level of certification a company can achieve for PCI compliance. 

It requires companies to undergo a rigorous independent audit to ensure compliance with all 12 of the PCI DSS requirements, including network security, access control, and vulnerability management. 

Achieving PCI DSS Level 1 certification demonstrates that a company has a comprehensive and effective security program in place to protect payment card data.

When evaluating corporate spend management products, IT and procurement teams should look for products that have achieved PCI DSS Level 1 compliance to ensure that the product meets the highest security standards. 

This will help to ensure that the company's payment card data is adequately protected and that the company is meeting its compliance obligations. By prioritizing PCI DSS Level 1 compliance, IT and procurement teams can help to safeguard their company's reputation and financial well-being.

Being PCI DSS Level 1 compliant is essential for any organization that handles corporate card information, as it provides a high level of security and assurance that the organization is taking all necessary measures to protect its customers’ data.

Pluto Card is proud to be PCI DSS Level 1 compliant. This means that our customers can trust that we have taken all necessary measures to secure their data and protect it from unauthorized access. 

We also partner with vendors who are held to the highest security standards, such as PCI or SOC2 compliance.

Passwordless Login

Passwordless login is a secure and convenient way for users to access their accounts without the need for a password. It is an effective way to protect against unwanted access to your account, as passwords can be easily compromised or stolen. By tying your Pluto access with a company email account provided by your organization ensures that when your employees lose access to their company email address they also lose access to Pluto. 

At Pluto Card, we understand the importance of passwordless login, and we offer this feature to our customers. With our passwordless login feature, our customers can access their accounts quickly and securely, without the need for a password.

Activity Log And Audit Trails

Activity logs and audit trails are crucial for ensuring strict auditing everywhere. An activity log records all user activity within an application or system, while an audit trail provides a record of all changes made to data within the system.

Pluto Card offers a 7-year audit log, which means that our customers can track critical changes made to their data over a seven-year period.

Data Access

Employees that are using our platform have only as much access as they need, and we have infrastructure redundancy built into Pluto, which means that all compute and data is  run in multiple geographies. 

Business continuity is paramount at Pluto - to this end, we ensure data redundancy with redundant backups in multiple geographies as well.

In addition, at Pluto, your application data is always encrypted in transit, and at rest. 

Continuous Security Scans

Pluto also provides a continuous security scan, which tackles multiple dimensions, including code or dependency  vulnerabilities, infrastructure, and public endpoint scans. 

Our customers can be assured that we take security very seriously and are always on the lookout for any potential security threats. 

In the event of a security incident, we have an immediate incident response plan in place and will notify impacted customers without undue delay of any unauthorized disclosure of customer data.

24x7 Customer Support and Dedicated Account Manager

In addition to these security features, Pluto Card also provides 24x7 customer support.

We understand that our customers need support around the clock, and we are always available to help with any questions or issues that may arise.

Data Infrastructure, Redundancy and E2E Encryption

We also provide infrastructure and data redundancy, which means that our customers’ data is highly available and secure, even in the event of a system failure or outage. 

Data is always encrypted in transit, which means that it is always protected during transmission between servers or devices.

Finally, another crucial feature that IT and procurement teams should consider when evaluating corporate spend management products is data residency and retention policies. 

Pluto Card offers an audit trail for changes to customer data, so we can track who did what. 

Additionally, we have a data residency promise of 7 years, which means that we retain customer data for that period of time. 

This can be important for compliance with regulatory requirements, such as tax or financial reporting.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when evaluating corporate spend management products for your enterprise, it’s essential to consider the security features that the product offers. 

PCI DSS Level 1 Compliance, passwordless login, activity logs and audit trails, and data residency and retention policies are all critical features that can help ensure the security and integrity of your organization’s financial data. 

Pluto Card offers all of these features, along with 24x7 customer support and infrastructure and data redundancy, making it an excellent choice for organizations looking for a secure and reliable corporate spend management solution.

For more information  visit Pluto and book a demo.

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Purchase Order Automation: Transforming Business Transactions for the Better

The sales team needs a new SaaS product for cold calling, but the approval is due. It has been weeks, and neither the finance nor the legal team has reverted. The sales team keeps following up, and the procurement team is stuck in the loop of approvals, only to spend some more weeks negotiating with the right vendor later.

This is a common scenario in most companies where teams follow a fixed standard operating procedure, and procuring basic items takes months. All this, combined with multiple tools, complicates procurement further. One tool to raise requests, one for approvals, one to manage vendors, and so on. 

In this blog post, we will discuss how to automate purchase orders and simplify the procurement process. Instead of relying on hundreds of procurement automation software, we will look at how you can automate with minimal effort. 

What is Purchase Order Automation?

Purchase order automation is the process of automating and removing all the manual tasks associated with creating purchase orders. 

This is what the traditional procurement process looks like in most companies:

  • Employees fill out forms to raise purchase requests, but have a long wait before they receive a response.
  • The procurement team struggles to manage hundreds of purchase requests and seek approvals from different departments.
  • The finance team is disliked by both employees and the procurement team because they focus on cost-saving and resource optimization.

As a result, there is continuous internal resentment. 

Automating parts of this process lifts the weight off of each of them. Instead of relying on forms and different task management tools, you invest in centralized software to manage requests, set approval workflows, and maintain vendor databases.

How to Automate Purchase Orders

Here is a simple four-step method to automate your purchase orders: 

1. Find the Right Automation Software

We have explored the top procurement automation software previously, which will help you evaluate the alternatives available. To pick the right one, look for the following features: 

  • Ease of use- To simplify adoption and reduce training time
  • Flexible workflows- To adapt to complex organizational hierarchies
  • Integration- To connect and sync with existing accounting systems and ERPs
  • Reporting- To support data-driven decision-making and enhanced transparency
  • Real-time visibility- To track expenses and identify thefts and fraud
  • Scalability- To accommodate increased transactions and users without performance issues

2. Integrate With Your Accounting Software and ERPs

Integrating with your ERP

Connect your existing accounting software and ERPs to procurement automation software to sync vendors and transactions across multiple software platforms. 

As a result, it becomes easier to maintain vendor databases and reconcile accounts. You can streamline purchase orders and eliminate chances of errors. You get real-time visibility into the status of orders, ensuring that relevant stakeholders are informed at every stage.

3. Set Up Policy and Approval Workflow

Setting up policy and approval workflow

Create and enforce guidelines, rules, and approval hierarchies for purchase orders that align with organizational policies. This includes the following steps:

  • Outlining the approval workflow to follow the organizational hierarchy
  • Setting spending limits to control the amounts allocated in a single purchase order
  • Syncing and defining the preferred vendor's list
  • Specifying user permissions, access levels, and actions based on roles within the procurement process
  • Activating alerts for relevant stakeholders about the status of purchase orders, pending approvals, or other critical updates

This step will enhance security, communication, and transparency throughout the procurement workflow.

4. Implement Automation

Finally, once you complete the setup, you will be able to automate the following parts of purchase orders:

a. Approval Workflows

Creating approval workflows

You can set up trigger-based approval workflows without requiring any technical expertise. From approving purchase requests to clearing payments, you can set up a proper hierarchy with all the required stakeholders. 

So whether a purchase demands approval from three managers or three departments, you can accommodate the complexities without any delays.  

b. Vendor Database

Automate vendor list sync

Instead of importing/exporting or manually maintaining vendor data in your procurement software, you can integrate the software into your existing accounting system and ERPs for a convenient two-way sync.

You can also create a list of items for each vendor, making two-way and three-way matching easier. 

c. Receipts

Automate receipt management

Be it from email or WhatsApp, you no longer need to upload receipts and information in your system manually. The software captures the receipts and other key details via OCR, eliminating redundant record-keeping. 

Additionally, you can bulk upload the invoices to add all the information in a centralized platform and sync across accounting systems. This simplifies reconciliation and provides complete visibility into each expense. 

d. Expense Categorization

Automate expense categorization

You no longer need to manually add tax and general ledger (GL) codes to any expense. Based on the key information extracted via OCR, the software categorizes the expenses. Plus, this syncs across platforms, accelerating reconciliation. 

e. Goods Received Note (GRN) Matching

GRN matching

With OCR and receipt information retrieval, two-way and three-way matching becomes easy. The stakeholders can side-by-side compare the purchase order, invoice, and items listed. This significantly reduces the time spent on GRN matching and consolidates all the information on a unified platform. 

f. Audit Trails

Audit trails with Pluto

You get away with the need to maintain thousands of receipts and documents and get all the key information on a unified platform. From purchase requests to stakeholders involved and order status, you get complete visibility into each order. 

This audit trail becomes a blessing during the audit season when you only need 30 seconds to retrieve a specific receipt or document.  

How Automating Purchase Orders Makes Procurement Easier

While automation comes with multiple benefits, one reason to try it out would be gaining control and visibility. 

You go from not knowing what the teams need, where the money is going, which department spends the most, or why these reports don’t make any sense to getting clarity on every aspect of procurement, not just purchase orders. 

Here are five more benefits of automating purchase orders: 

1. Reduce Error and Manual Tasks

You minimize the risk of human errors that come from manual data entry. For instance, a manual typo in the quantity ordered leads to complications and delays. Similarly, a mistake in categorization can cause legal issues. Automation ensures accuracy by eliminating such human errors.

2. Faster Reconciliation

You get real-time data synced across your accounting systems, easing the reconciliation process. The finance team can quickly match records, such as invoices and receipts, without delays and discrepancies. Further, this eases the process of GRN matching, helping you close books much faster with accuracy.

3. Streamlined Approvals

You accelerate the approval process for purchase orders even with complex hierarchies. Instead of waiting for physical signatures or manual confirmations, you get trigger-based approval workflows. As a result, you can set up a proper notification system to send purchase order requests to designated approvers, speeding up the entire approval chain.

4. Compliance Support

You can enhance compliance with organizational policies and regulatory standards. For instance, the system can flag a purchase order exceeding predefined spending limits, ensuring compliance with budget constraints. This helps prevent unauthorized purchases or deviations from established guidelines.

5. Scalable

You can scale procurement easily to meet the evolving needs of the business. As the organization grows, the automated system handles increased transaction volumes without affecting or increasing the manual effort.

Your Search for a Purchase Order Automation Tool Ends Here

Stop looking for different automation tools for each step in your procurement process. You don’t need an individual solution for purchase requests, purchase orders, and processing payments. You can automate it all on a single platform and ensure accuracy and consistency among your accounting systems. 

At Pluto, our main aim is to stop the chaos and make procurement easier for three core stakeholders—spenders (employees), savers (finance teams), and sourcers (procurement teams). We streamline the entire process on a centralized platform and give you more visibility and control at each stage. And whether you want to automate one step or digitize your entire procurement process, Pluto gives you the flexibility to meet your needs. 

Refer to our dedicated post on procurement automation to understand how a single procurement platform can sync with your accounting systems and automate the procurement process on a centralized platform.

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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.

See a Demo

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.