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

Mohammed Ridwan

November 2, 2023

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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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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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December 11, 2023

Vlad Falin

5 Strategies For Cost Reduction in Procurement To Improve Bottom Line

It’s challenging to always be on your toes, looking for ways to cut costs. Be it negotiation or automating manual, time-consuming processes, your main focus is always to optimize expenses and improve the bottom line. This comprises 36% of CPOs whose top priority is delivering bottom-line savings. 

Hence, in this post, we will discuss the top 5 procurement cost reduction strategies. We’ll also discuss the process of getting started and ways to improve the procure-to-pay process to ensure procurement cost savings

See a Demo

5 Cost-Saving Strategies in Procurement

Here are the top 5 cost reduction techniques in procurement that you can implement in the short and long run:

1. Reduction in Maverick Spending

Reduction in Maverick Spending

Maverick spending refers to expenses beyond the established policy and procurement process. It involves unauthorized purchasing that is either not approved or doesn't adhere to the pre-approved vendors or negotiated contracts. 

Such expenses impact financial and operational efficiency, leading to budget overruns and supplier relationship strain. For instance, an employee purchases office supplies from a non-approved vendor. It can lead to higher costs due to a lack of negotiated discounts and impact the organization's ability to leverage consolidated spending for better terms and conditions.

To reduce maverick spending, you must actively communicate procurement policies to avoid such expenses. You must monitor all the transactions and address any such instances. This requires greater visibility into the spending at each stage and an analysis of how company resources are being used. You will also need to set spending controls based on the company policies to avoid constant monitoring. 

Purchase request flow

As a result, you gain better control over the procurement process, negotiate better contracts with preferred suppliers, and leverage volume discounts without disrupting the supply chain. This will help you maintain compliance with established procurement policies and save costs by avoiding unauthorized expenses. 

2. Contract Management

Contract management involves reassessing the existing contracts and negotiating supplier agreements. This includes negotiation, execution, and ongoing monitoring to ensure cost optimization.

Contract Management

To ensure strong contract management practices, regularly revisit contract terms, assess performance metrics, and proactively identify areas for improvement. Prioritize negotiation preparation by investing in training for procurement professionals, ensuring they possess the skills to secure favorable terms and adapt agreements to evolving business needs. 

Contract management aids in maximizing the value of agreements, minimizing risk, and ensuring that suppliers deliver as per the agreed terms. It also promotes better relationship management and identifies opportunities for cost optimization.

3. Request Specification

Request Specification

Request specification involves creating clear and detailed specifications for the goods or services that the organization intends to procure. This involves detailing purchase requests and understanding the needs of the teams to deliver what they need and not spend money on unnecessary features and misfit products. This helps ensure suppliers understand the exact requirements, leading to more accurate quotes and better value for money.

To ensure detailed request specifications, involve all the stakeholders in the approval process and get buy-in from each of them. Follow a standardized approval workflow to raise purchase requests. This ensures consistency and gets the maximum information possible. However, it is important to implement customized workflows to suit your business hierarchies.

hierarchies

This reduces the risk of feature overlap and better consolidates the purchases for negotiating more favorable deals. Moreover, the specificity of needs lowers the chances of cost overruns or disputes during the procurement process.

4. Spending Consolidation

Consolidating spending means automating procurement processes to achieve economies of scale. This includes consolidating purchases, standardizing suppliers, and leveraging bulk buying power. Doing so lets you negotiate better terms with suppliers, reduce administrative overhead, and achieve cost savings through volume discounts.

For instance, if you consolidate spending on packaging materials by sourcing from a single supplier, you negotiate bulk discounts, streamline procurement processes, and benefit from standardized materials. This approach reduces costs through economies of scale, simplifies logistics, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

Spending Consolidation

To consolidate spending, conduct a thorough spend analysis, identify opportunities for consolidation, and negotiate with suppliers for better terms. Additionally, implement procurement software to streamline procurement processes. This will give you insights into your spending behaviors and help you identify optimization opportunities. Also, create a cross-functional procurement team to promote collaboration and standardization across the organization. Moreover, ensure proper cross-functional workflows to get stakeholders involved at each stage. 

5. Vendor Diversity

Vendor Diversity

Vendor diversity involves engaging with various suppliers to reduce dependency on a single source. This strategy ensures increased competition, better negotiation opportunities, and improved risk management.

For instance, having vendor diversity enables you to source materials from multiple suppliers rather than relying solely on one. This creates competition among suppliers, encouraging competitive pricing and service levels to mitigate risks associated with potential disruptions from a single supplier. Hence, in the event of supply chain challenges or fluctuations, you get the flexibility to maintain production and minimize the impact on operations.

To ensure vendor diversity, adopt a global sourcing strategy and conduct thorough market research to identify potential suppliers across the globe with clear criteria for supplier selection. Additionally, actively seek partnerships with businesses that bring unique strengths to your supply chain. Moreover, it is important to also regularly reassess and diversify your supplier portfolio to ensure adaptability to changing market dynamics. Fostering open communication to build strong, collaborative relationships with various suppliers is a must

As a result, you get better pricing, quality, and innovation. It also provides a safety net if one supplier faces disruptions or fails to meet expectations.

Three-Step Process for Cost Reduction in Procurement

Before implementing these strategies, go through this strategic process each time you have to hunt down expenses for cost savings:

1. Analyze Spend

Analyze Spend

Start by conducting a comprehensive spending analysis to understand where the money goes. Use financial records, invoices, and procurement data to categorize and analyze spending patterns. In such cases, having procure-to-pay software helps a lot in getting insights and real-time visibility.

This step provides a clear overview of the organization's spending habits, allowing identification of areas for potential cost savings. It serves as a foundation for informed decision-making in subsequent cost-reduction strategies.

2. Identify the Biggest Expense

Compare across departments or suppliers to identify the largest expenses or categories and spot any unusual expenses. This step allows for targeted efforts in cost reduction.

Discuss these insights with relevant stakeholders to understand why these costs exist and their impact. Also, align the understanding of ‘savings’ with them to avoid unnecessary delays and rejections. It is advisable to align it with something measurable to make it easier to sell the business case and implement the necessary changes. 

For instance, the information technology (IT) department proposes investing in new software that, in the long run, promises increased efficiency and reduced maintenance costs. However, the finance team, focused on immediate budget constraints, may interpret ‘savings’ as strictly short-term cost reductions rather than considering long-term benefits. 

To align understanding, the IT team can quantify long-term savings through reduced downtime, improved productivity, and potential scalability benefits. This ensures both departments share a common definition of ‘savings’ and facilitates a collaborative decision-making process.

Additionally, you can target the smaller spend or tail-end spend as well. It is easier to cut people from making one-off purchases or buying small items on Amazon that another department may have. 

3. Conduct Market Research and Maintenance

Conduct market research to understand current pricing, trends, and available alternatives for the identified major expenses. Based on your research, you can optimize these expenses without impacting the supply chain. This includes incentives such as:

  • Use spending data analysis to negotiate improved terms with suppliers. Seek discounts or bundled services to reduce costs without disrupting the supply chain.
  • Research alternative suppliers or vendors for the identified major expenses. Assess their offerings, pricing, and reliability to diversify options and secure more cost-effective alternatives.
  • Invest in automation to optimize procurement processes, reducing administrative overhead without disrupting the supply chain.
  • Analyze inventory levels and adjust ordering practices based on demand forecasts to prevent overstocking or stockouts.
  • Regularly monitor the expenses and supplier performance and reassess strategies to adjust optimization efforts based on changing market conditions and organizational needs.

Keep updating this information to stay informed about changes in the market. This ensures that you are well-informed about competitive pricing and industry trends. Additionally, you get the necessary data to negotiate better terms with suppliers, explore cost-effective alternatives, and adapt to market fluctuations, contributing to more strategic and informed decision-making.

How to Ensure Maximum Procurement Cost Reduction

Most companies have procurement processes running on autopilot with standard operating procedures. However, this leads to inconsistent efforts of procurement teams in reducing costs. They have to dedicate hours to analysis and optimization, which can be changed with intentional efforts to ongoing cost savings practices in procurement. 

However, with traditional manual processes, getting real-time visibility and comprehensive insights is impossible. To streamline the process and consolidate the expenses, you must adopt tools that support your cost savings initiative. This means centralizing all the information to build a unified platform for complete visibility and control. 

Pluto simplifies this for you. Not only do you get insights and controls, but you can also create cross-functional workflows to facilitate the collaborative procurement process. You can integrate your entire accounting and accounts payable system onto a single platform and streamline the entire process. As a result, you get real-time visibility and can optimize expenses in time.  

Book a demo to know more about how Pluto fits into your business and helps you streamline your procurement process for collaborative cost-saving efforts.

5
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Corporate Cards
November 29, 2022

Vlad Falin

Best Virtual Corporate Card For Business [2024]

In modern business, cash and checks have gone the way of the horse and buggy: they’re simply too inefficient. But even their replacements – traditional payment methods like debit and credit cards – are overdue for an upgrade.

Welcome virtual corporate cards.

These digital payment methods offer numerous perks, from faster payments and reconciliation to greater control and security. They’re quicker, safer, and easier to integrate and use for accounting and operational teams alike.

Plus, the industry is on the cusp of an explosion, which could send innovation through the stratosphere. Between 2021 and 2026 alone, virtual card spending is predicted to skyrocket from $1.9 trillion to $6.8 trillion.

Here’s what to know.

Key Takeaways

  • Virtual corporate credit cards pave the way for the future while addressing a multitude of modern business pain points.
  • They hand companies greater control over their spending, simplify accounting across the board, and even help protect employees.
  • Plus, with so many nuances and use cases, it’s incredibly easy to personalize virtual cards to meet your unique needs

First, A Brief Refresher on Corporate Cards

Corporate credit cards are credit cards issued to a business entity – not a person – as the responsible party.

In most other respects, corporate cards are like regular credit cards. They require a credit check to apply, charge a regular interest rate, and even come with reward systems. Corporate purchase cards are also unique in that the business can issue dozens of employee cards on the same account.

Pluto corporate cards come with specific controls to help your business manage spend. Real time tracking, setting limits on the go and quick reconciliations are just a few of the things that Pluto can provide.

But there is more. For companies who need to act quickly and require flexibility in their card issuing, there are virtual cards.

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What is a Virtual Corporate Card?

Virtual corporate cards, like regular corporate cards, are linked to the business’ budget. Employees can use these cards to pay for business expenses without using their own personal cards or cash.

But unlike physical cards, virtual credit cards reside solely in the digital realm. These cards are essentially unique, digitally-generated 16-digit card numbers that tie to a specific spending account. (In this case, the business’ account.) Each virtual card contains other essential card details, too, like the following:

  • Cardholder’s name
  • Company’s billing address
  • Card number
  • Expiration date
  • CVV

Virtual cards are also unusual in that they can be generated and destroyed in moments. They can be designed to permit one-off charges, expire same-day, or hold only a specific dollar amount. Some virtual cards can even be linked to a particular vendor for one-time or recurring payments, perhaps with weekly or monthly spend limits.

Virtual cards can be accepted anywhere that online payments, and even some in-store payments, are accepted. Due to their ability to generate new numbers on demand, they offer additional security and control for business accounts. Plus, they can’t be lost or stolen like a regular credit card.

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Virtual Credit Card vs. Virtual Corporate Card

A virtual corporate card is simply a digital credit card issued to a corporation. For the most part, you can use virtual cards the same way you could use regular cards. However, like corporate cards, these virtual equivalents allow the issuing firm and receiving businesses to set particular spend and monitoring controls.  

Because virtual credit cards are 100% digital and able to generate new 16-digit numbers on demand, they’re optimized for safety and flexibility. They also make it easier to reconcile books and otherwise manage spending.

What are virtual cards used for?

Virtual cards have gained significant traction due to their adaptability and security features. They are commonly used for:

1. Online Purchases

Virtual cards serve as a secure and convenient payment method for ecommerce transactions. They allow businesses to conduct online transactions without exposing sensitive primary card or bank details. This enhances security and reduces the risk of fraud, making virtual cards a preferred choice for digital transactions.

2. Subscription Management

Businesses utilize virtual cards to manage subscriptions to various software or online services. Virtual cards offer the flexibility to set spending limits and deactivate cards easily, providing control over recurring expenses. If a service is no longer required, businesses can deactivate the virtual card associated with it, preventing further charges.

3. Travel Expenses

Virtual cards are issued to employees for specific travel-related expenses, offering precise control over spending and simplifying expense reconciliation. By providing virtual cards for travel expenses such as accommodation, transportation, and meals, businesses streamline the reimbursement process and ensure compliance with travel policies.

4. Vendor Payments

Virtual cards are used to make payments to vendors and suppliers, offering a secure and efficient payment solution. Businesses can generate virtual cards with set limits for individual vendors, enabling better management of payments and tracking of expenses. Virtual cards also reduce the risk of fraud associated with traditional payment methods.

5. Single-Use Scenarios

For transactions requiring heightened security, businesses utilize single-use virtual cards. These cards are generated for one-time use and become invalid after the transaction is completed, minimizing the risk of unauthorized or fraudulent use. Single-use virtual cards are ideal for online purchases from unfamiliar vendors or for specific transactions where security is paramount.

6. Employee Expenditures

Instead of issuing physical corporate cards, businesses provide employees with virtual cards for business-related purchases. Virtual cards can be customized with predefined spending limits, allowing businesses to control and monitor employee expenses effectively. By using virtual cards, businesses streamline expense management processes and reduce the administrative burden associated with traditional reimbursement methods.

Why Use Pluto Virtual Corporate Cards?

Pluto virtual cards offer tons of perks and use cases. With more control and yet unparalleled flexibility, your business can remain nimble as you grow.

At the same time, department heads can keep an eye on expenses, spending, and accounting practices.

1. Flexible Setup and Spending

Modern companies need to be nimble, able to make purchases on the fly and reconcile their books in minutes, not days. Virtual cards let your business do so –without breaking their budgets.

Virtual cards provide unprecedented levels of flexibility to businesses of all sizes. After signing up, cards can be generated and issued to individuals with just a few clicks.

They also permit companies to limit available vendors, set a specific spending limit, expiration dates, and even the specific department budget the card should link to.

2. Unlimited cards

One of the biggest perks of Pluto's cards is that you can create as many as you need in a matter of seconds.

The times when an employee had to wait several days for the approvals and the card details to arrive are over.

For example - at 9:00, we had a team discussion about additional performance marketing activities.hile we were on the call, the department head created 3 virtual corporate card numbers for us to use.

It took him roughly 2 minutes to create them. All that without missing a beat on the call itself.

Right after we finished the call, we could start setting up ads.

3. Spend Control

Once you’ve generated a card – either for your team or by employee request – you can quickly personalize them for added constraint.

These controls are admittedly extensive, allowing your business to:

  • Lock cards to a particular merchant or vendor
  • Ensure cards can only pay to specific accounts
  • Generate cards with set one-time, monthly, or recurring expenditure limits
  • Institute purchase approval practices for individual cards, persons, or teams

Companies can use these various limits to prevent overspending, surprise fees, and unnecessary surcharges. Plus, with specific cards linked to individual employees or vendors, compartmentalized spend management becomes even easier. For many businesses, this is a welcome alternative to issuing high-limit cards to every employee that requires one.

In the example above, you can see one of the popular uses of Pluto virtual cards - employee benefits.

When a new employee joins, how much time does it usually take your HR department to get wellness or children's educational benefits to that employee?

With Pluto, it’ll take you leess than 2 minutes.

4. Higher Accountability

Another perk of virtual cards is that they can be generated for and linked to a single individual or team.

That makes purchase tracking easier, which increases personal and departmental accountability.

By using built-in accountability and analysis tools, your business can better track how and when money is spent at every level.  

5. Streamlined Accounts Payable

Enhance your finance team's efficiency with Pluto, featuring virtual corporate cards and integrated accounts payable software.  Pluto can integrate with your accounting software, making it easy to sync your chart of accounts, automate mapping your GL accounts, and bulk verify & export your expenses so you can close your books 10x faster.

From there, settlements can happen immediately rather than taking days or weeks. This eliminates the slow, potentially error-riddled manual accounting process with a faster, cheaper, and more efficient digital alternative.

6. Better Security

Pluto's virtual cards can help greatly reduce your overall card risk profile. Their increased security is due to their unique design, including their:

  • Digital nature, which precludes them from being physically stolen.
  • Set spending limits to prevent overcharging.
  • Ability to block vendors and retailers from storing personal or card information long-term, helping to prevent fraud
  • Ability to include one-time or vendor-specific expenditures and other spending controls, limiting financial hemorrhaging
  • Auto-lock features to freeze cards instantly
  • Ability to delete and regenerate virtual cards in seconds rather than days

7. Real-Time Reporting

Pluto's virtual cards feed their data directly into a centralized interface, allowing all data to show up in real-time reports, simplifying the analytical process. The spend management systems also offer real-time notifications.

Together, these features offer companies greater real-time visibility over their expenditures. This level of transparency can inculcate a healthier spending culture within a company beyond merely increasing accountability.

Plus, real-time reporting means that accounting teams and department heads can immediately respond to budget requests, verify receipts, and manage card limits.

Pluto expense management dashboard allows you to see everything and makes spend control a breeze.

8. Simple Reconciliation

Virtual credit cards provide an easy approval system to allow finance teams to take advantage of automatic reconciliations whenever possible.

Accounting teams can set codes for recurring transactions and tag controls to identify transactions before posting them to the general ledger. Each card can be linked to a specific employee to link specific transactions to each employee.   

With the right card and accounting integrations, it’s possible to automate the bulk of manual data entry and reconciliation out of the gate. Plus, you’ll increase the accuracy of your data and insights.

9. Efficient Vendor Payment and Management

You can also use virtual cards to simplify vendor management.

You can link specific cards to particular vendors, allowing you to track which teams use them regularly and how their prices change over time.

By setting limits and expiration dates to your specifications, you can prevent teams from “forgetting” about upcoming auto-renewals.

10. Reward Options

Pluto virtual corporate card offers a wide range of perks and benefits!

Instead of giving you Starbucks gift cards, we formed partnerships with some of the most critical services for the day-to-day operations of your business.

11. Reduce the Risk of Fraud

When multiple employees and vendors share a high-limit physical card, you run the risk of operational problems and fraud.

The more people who can access a single 16-digit number, the more likely unauthorized expenses can slip through the cracks.

Virtual credit cards don’t come with the same fraud and data loss risks that physical cards do.

  • They’re impervious to hacks that come with swiping physical cards at in-person terminals.
  • You can create cards for a particular purchase, vendor or project.
  • You can easily link cards to specific employees and/or vendors, offering full control while minimizing risk.

Virtual Corporate Card Use Cases

Due to their innate flexibility and unprecedented control, virtual credit card programs offer multiple potential use cases. There are too many to go over here – but we’ll address a few of the most common or impactful.

Agencies

Digital agencies need to be able to make payments on behalf of their clients. This can be done using virtual cards, which allows the agency to keep track of spending and ensures that funds are used for the intended purpose.

With Pluto, you can create virtual cards for every PPC campaign or bigger project and keep track of your agency's spending in one place.

Not only does this allow you to scale the clients' performance marketing efforts, but the spend control dashboard shows you exactly how much was spent. You can go as far as naming and tagging your virtual cards, so you can see how much was spent per PPC channel on individual clients.

Event Organizers

Catering, lights, music, production, venues, drivers so many things that even organizers have to keep in the air! If you are an event organizer, chances are you understand how important it is to keep your spending in one place. That way when the time comes to file taxes or show ROI, everything is itemized and accounted for.

With a virtual card, all your charges will be automatically filed under the right categories. You can also set limits on how much can be spent per vendor, so you don't have to worry about overspending.

And if you have a team working on the event with you, you can give them each their own virtual Pluto card (or physical) with their own spending limits. That way, you can see at a glance who is spending what and where.

Startups

When you are a startup, your want to fully focus on your product and leave the rest to someone else. With a virtual card, you don't have to worry about setting up a corporate credit line or dealing with complex expense reports.

Just set up your team with Pluto virtual cards and let them manage their own expenses. You can see what they are spending in real-time and track progress against your budget.

Also, when you are at your early phase, there is no time for lengthy approvals. SaaS, ads, tools, plugins - virtual card can service them all.

E-Commerce

You business is digital and so should be your payment tools. With a virtual card, you can make payments online without ever having to worry about the security of your information.

Worried about that Alibaba supplier? Create a virtual card with a limit just for that vendor and you're good to go. Put a spending limit on it, and you limited any potential risks as well.

  • Need your team to buy TikTok ads? -> Done. TikTok Ads Virtual Card
  • Need to pay an Upwork freelancer? -> Done. Upwork Specific Virtual Card

You see where we are going with this. Create as many virtual cards as you need for as many occasions as you need.

Consulting

Consultants are on the road most of the time, and when they are not - they are seated in the client premises, helping to grow the business.

Employee travel is one of the most commonly-cited reasons for individuals requiring their own corporate cards. Travel expenses may include hotel rooms, a food allowance, or additional budgeting to purchase essential materials while they’re away from home, so to speak.

However, even in your own teams, it’s possible for employees to get carried away. An expensive dinner, unexpected expenses, and hotel room upgrades may all be well within your budget. But if you want to prevent excessive spending on your dime, virtual card controls hand you that power.

Fleet Management

Any company that have a vehicle fleet knows that a lot of time can go into fuel cards management.

Pluto can provide both virtual and physical corporate cards which makes it a perfect solution for efficient fleet management. 

You can issue fuel cards to the drivers as needed, and scale up and down depending on the current business situation.

In addition to that you see the fuel expenses real-time and can set limits and approvals where required. 

5
All
Updates
March 23, 2023

Leen Shami

Ramadan Benefits in the Workplace: A Guide to the UAE and MENA Region

The month of Ramadan provides HR Managers with the opportunity to take the initiative in their organization and implement a benefit program for employees and to remind them to support their Muslim colleagues during this holy month.

What are the benefits of implementing a Ramadan employee benefits program?

Employees who observe Ramadan may require special considerations in order to maintain a high level of performance.

The main goal of any corporate environment is to get the best possible results, but this can only be achieved if your team is given a supportive environment.

During Ramadan, HR managers and employers should consider implementing employee benefits programs to ensure that their employees are able to fulfill their religious commitments while feeling supported by their companies.  

By doing so, you will help ensure that every member of your team has access to the resources they need to be productive and successful.

Employee benefits program

Flexible working hours

Allow employees to come in late or leave early during Ramadan, modify their hours so they can work when they feel the most energized,and be able to take part in religious activities such as prayers while still being productive at work.

Remote or hybrid work

Remote or hybrid work can provide employees with more flexibility and autonomy to manage their work and religious obligations during Ramadan, allowing them to maintain their productivity and well-being while observing the holy month's spiritual practices.

Set up dedicated prayer spaces

Having dedicated prayer spaces can help employees maintain their spiritual practices during the workday. This is particularly important during Ramadan when employees may need to perform their daily prayers. Providing these spaces can make it easier for employees to observe their religious obligations without having to leave the workplace or worry about finding a suitable location to pray.

Accommodate dietary needs

Provide employees with food options that meets all dietary needs, so they can break their fast at the office if needed.

Examples of foods that are commonly used to break the fast:

  • Dates
  • Dried fruits
  • Ayran (yogurt drink)
  • Soups
  • Sambusak ( pastry filled with cheese or meat)

Inclusivity

 Promote open dialogue between employees of different faiths to foster an inclusive workplace environment. Consider arranging a presentation for those who would like to learn more about Ramadan and Islam.

Gift and Bonus Programs

Corporate gift and bonus programs during Ramadan can take many forms, but the underlying purpose is to show appreciation to employees for their efforts and to strengthen the relationship between the employer and employees.

Here are some common examples of corporate gift and bonus programs during Ramadan:

Eid al-Fitr bonus

It could be an additional incentive where employers give their employees an additional payment or bonus at the end of Ramadan to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of fasting.

Corporate gifts

Companies may offer gifts such as food hampers, prayer mats, and other religious items to their employees during Ramadan as a way to show appreciation and respect for their faith.

You could also delight your employees with a gift that they can use to enjoy dinner with their families. One way of doing this is by issuing Pluto corporate cards for your employees with an allocated budget on them. For e.g., you can issue a your employee a Pluto corporate card with a 500 AED spend limit to be used a restaurant of their choice.

Charitable donations

Some companies may choose to make charitable donations on behalf of their employees during Ramadan as a way to give back to the community and show solidarity with those in need.

You can add on to that by giving your employees the opportunity to pick what charity they would like the company to donate to.

It's worth noting that corporate gift and bonus programs during Ramadan should not be seen as an obligation or a substitute for fair compensation and benefits throughout the year. Rather, they are a way to show appreciation and strengthen the relationship between employer and employees.

Iftar and Suhoor Programs

Iftar and Suhoor are the two main meals that Muslims consume during Ramadan. 

Iftar is the meal that is eaten after breaking the fast at sunset, while suhoor is the pre-dawn meal that is eaten before the fast begins.

These meals have significant cultural and religious importance, and hosting iftar and suhoor programs can provide a sense of community and inclusivity in the workplace during Ramadan.

Importance of iftar and suhoor programs

Iftar and suhoor programs provide the opportunity for employees to come together and share in the spiritual significance of Ramadan.

These types of activities are also beneficial for team building, as they create an atmosphere of camaraderie among colleagues and foster a stronger work culture.

Its importance can be categorized into three main points:

  1. Connection: Sharing a meal with colleagues can help to strengthen connections and build relationships, fostering a sense of community in the workplace.
  2. Cultural awareness: Hosting iftar and suhoor programs can provide an opportunity for employees of different backgrounds and faiths to learn about Ramadan and its traditions.
  3. Appreciation: Providing meals for employees during these times shows that the company values and appreciates its employees and their religious beliefs.

Examples of iftar and suhoor programs for employees and how to host one:

  • Potluck iftar: Organize a potluck iftar at the office, where employees bring their favorite dish to share with their colleagues.
  • Company-sponsored iftar: Host an iftar event at a restaurant,  where the company provides food and drinks for employees to break their fast [see list of recommended restaurants below].
  • Virtual iftar: For remote workers or those who cannot attend in person, host a virtual iftar.
  • Charity iftar: Host an iftar event where a portion of the proceeds goes to a charity or non-profit organization. (Please make sure you are in line with UAE charity regulations before doing so. Learn more here)
  • Catered iftar: Hire a catering company to provide a full meal for employees to break their fast [see list of recommended catering companies below].
  • Suhoor breakfast: Host a breakfast event before the start of the workday for employees who are fasting.
  • Iftar meal delivery: Deliver meals to employees who are working late or unable to attend the in-person event.
  • Ramadan decorations: Decorate the workplace with Ramadan-themed decorations to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Ramadan trivia: Host a trivia game related to Ramadan and its traditions during the iftar or suhoor event.
  • Ramadan volunteer day: Organize a volunteer day where employees can give back to the community during the month of Ramadan.

Prayer programs

Observing taraweeh and Laylat al-Qadr during Ramadan helps Muslims to deepen their faith and spirituality, and it provides an opportunity to reflect on their actions and intentions throughout the year.

An employee prayer program during Ramadan can have numerous benefits for companies and their employees, including promoting diversity and inclusion, improving morale and relationships, and fulfilling social responsibility.

Taraweeh

Taraweeh prayers are additional prayers that Muslims perform during the holy month of Ramadan after the Isha prayer. These prayers are performed in congregation and typically consist of 8 to 20 cycles of prayer, depending on the tradition.

Companies can host taraweeh prayers at a mosque or the office on specific days of the week, such as Tuesdays, to create a sense of belonging and inclusivity among employees.

Laylet al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr, also known as the Night of Power, is considered to be one of the holiest nights in Islam. It is believed to be the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, and it is said to be a night of forgiveness and mercy.

With laylat al-qadr being the most important night of Ramadan, it is important for your company to offer benefits during this day, such as:

  • Consider giving the following day as PTO, since most Muslims stay up all night in prayer and reflection.
  • Offer a transportation stipend to the mosque in order to show the company’s support of their employees religious beliefs.
  • You can do so using Pluto’s platform by offereing a one-time purchase card with a set limit that can only be used with taxis, Careems, Uber or for gas.

Ramadan email templates that can be shared with employees

There is a lot to take care of when preparing for Ramadan. We've put together some sample email templates for various corporate initiatives to make your job easier.

Email Template 1: Announcing flexible working hours during Ramadan

Subject: Ramadan Working Hours

Dear [Employee Name],

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, we would like to inform you that we will be implementing flexible working hours during this time to accommodate those who will be observing the fast.

Our office will be open from [start time] to [end time]. We understand that some employees may need to adjust their schedules due to the early morning and evening prayers, as well as breaking their fast in the evenings.

If you need to adjust your working hours, please speak to your line manager, who will be happy to discuss the best option for you.

Our company values diversity and inclusivity, and we hope that this initiative will help our employees observe Ramadan comfortably.

We wish all our staff observing Ramadan a blessed month, and may you get the best out of this spiritual journey.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Email Template 2: Announcing company charitable donations during Ramadan

Subject: Ramadan Charitable Donations

Dear [Employee Name],

As we approach the holy month of Ramadan, we would like to remind you that our company values generosity and charitable giving. In line with this, we have decided to make a donation to [charity name], which supports [cause].

We believe that this is a great opportunity to give back to those in need and demonstrate our commitment to making a positive impact in the community. We hope that this donation will inspire you to consider making a charitable contribution during this holy month.

Thank you for being part of our company, and we wish you a blessed Ramadan.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Email Template 3: Inviting employees to an Iftar meal

Subject: [Company Name] invites you  to an Iftar Meal

Dear [Employee Name],

We would like to invite you to an Iftar meal on [date and time], which will be held at [location]. This event is an opportunity for our employees to come together and break their fasts as a community.

Please RSVP to [email/phone number] by [RSVP deadline] to confirm your attendance. If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate them.

We hope that this event will be an enjoyable experience for everyone and that it will help to strengthen our company culture.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication, and we wish you a blessed Ramadan.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Corporate gifting list

Iftar or suhoor restaurant list

  • Asateer Tent at Atlantis the Palm
  • Sufra
  • The Majlis
  • Allo Beirut
  • Hutong
  • Terrace on the Corniche at St. Regis Abu Dhabi
  • The Royal Majlis
  • Eunoia By Carine
  • Bombay Bungalow
  • Brasserie Boulud
  • Ibn AlBahr
  • Al Falak Ballroom
  • Karam Al Bahr

Company catering list

  • Ogram
  • Blast catering
  • Eat catering
  • The Majlis
  • Dish

Conclusion

Ultimately, providing Ramadan benefits demonstrates an employer and HR's commitment to promoting diversity and religious freedom in the workplace.

It also helps create a sense of community among employees that can lead to increased morale, collaboration, communication, and overall productivity.

By offering an employee benefits program during the holy month of Ramadan, employers can show their dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all of their employees, regardless of faith or background.

Ramadan benefits can thus be an important part of workplace culture, helping to create a positive atmosphere in which everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued.