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The Complete Travel and Expense (T&E) Management Guide

Vlad Falin

November 15, 2022

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Travel and expense management is crucial for ensuring that business-related travel expenses are kept in check. However the accurate collection and reporting of all travel-related expenses pose a significant challenge.

As the person in charge of managing your organization's finances, you should be obsessed with making all expense management as efficient as possible in order to save money.

But how can you simplify the travel and expense management process when there are so many moving parts and people involved? By using the right tools for the job.

In this guide, you’ll learn the importance of having a good travel and expense management policy, how to make your T&E management more efficient, and what to look for in travel and expense management software.

What is travel and expense management?

Travel and Expense (T&E) management is the process companies follow to monitor and control business travel expenses. T&E management is vital as it affects the company's financial well-being directly by ensuring all travel-related expenses are tracked for tax deduction purposes.

T&E management involves tracking and controlling expenditures such as flights, accommodation, meals, and client entertainment. Effective T&E management ensures that these costs are necessary, reasonable, and aligned with the organization's policies and goals. This management is particularly vital as travel and entertainment expenses can quickly accumulate and become significant financial commitments for businesses.

Why is travel and expense management important?

As a finance professional, you know that cost management and expense reduction are crucial aspects of financial management work. One of the ways you can do this is by tracking all deductible expenses for tax reduction purposes.

And when it comes to the hierarchy of expenses you need to keep track of, those related to corporate travel and entertainment are of particular importance.

According to Mastercard, corporate travel and entertainment expenses have become the second-highest expense category.

But not only does T&E account for a large portion of the business expenses that companies have to deal with, but it’s also been identified as the second most difficult operating cost to control.

That’s why it’s so important that your organization develops and maintains effective T&E management policies, and uses the tools available to simplify T&E management.

The challenges of travel and expense management

Managing travel and expense (T&E) can be a complex task, often fraught with a range of challenges. These challenges can significantly hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization's T&E process. Key challenges include:

1. Limited Fund Access: Employees often face constraints in accessing funds for travel-related expenses, which can lead to delays and complications.

2. Security Risks: The management of expenses, especially in a digital format, raises concerns regarding data security and the risk of financial fraud.

3. Outdated Policies: An organization's T&E policies may become obsolete or fail to align with current business needs and practices, leading to inefficiencies and policy breaches.

4. Lost Reports: Misplaced or lost expense reports can disrupt the reimbursement process, leading to employee dissatisfaction and administrative headaches.

5. Inefficient Bookkeeping: Manual and outdated bookkeeping methods can result in errors and inefficiencies, making it difficult to track and manage expenses accurately.

6. Lack of Spending Visibility: Without clear visibility into T&E spending, organizations struggle to control costs and make informed budgetary decisions.

7. Slow Reimbursement Process: Delays in processing reimbursements can demotivate employees and hinder efficient financial management.

How to make travel and expense management process efficient

1. Review your travel expenses and reimbursements

One of the first things you should do is take a look at your current travel expenses to see if there are any changes to be made.

Business travelers will always need to take trips, but perhaps there are some interactions that could be handled via videoconferencing.

You can also look for ways to minimize the expenses that need to be reimbursed. For instance, by using Pluto corporate cards, you could help eliminate, or at least reduce, the need to reimburse food expenses while giving you better control over them.

2. Examine your travel policy and keep it simple

If you are having trouble with your T&E management, you should take a look at your current travel policies (and if you don’t have one already, you should make that your top priority).

Your T&E policies need to strike a balance between flexibility and strictness. Too flexible and you create waste; too rigid and you limit the ability for people to do their jobs.

A good T&E policy should include the following:

  • How travel will be booked
  • The process to follow for reimbursement (including what type of supporting documentation is necessary, due dates, and other stipulations).
  • Any budget or spending limits, including the specific transportation methods or hotels that can be used.
  • Meal allowances.

And you want to keep your policy simple and easy to read. Minimize the jargon, use short paragraphs, and a simple format with bullet points, tables, and clear headings.

You should continuously review your expense policy, particularly as your business expands, to ensure that it’s aligned with any changes in your organization. 

3. Go paperless

Your team should be able to access your expense policy from anywhere and at any time. But more than that, you should aim to digitize the expense report process as much as possible.

For instance, implement the ability to submit digital expense reports and capture receipts digitally. Not only will this allow you to get a clearer view of your operations at all times, but it will help simplify your bookkeeping and easily manage receipts.

Pluto has this function! 

Digitize travel and expense management

4. Use travel expense management software

Through effective use of travel and expense management systems, you can consolidate the different scaffolds in your expense process, automate them, and eliminate time-consuming approvals while minimizing, or outright eliminating, human error.

Using Pluto allows you to cut a lot of the fat out of the reimbursement process. Automate reports, data gathering, and approvals for expenses that meet your policies, leaving only those that don’t meet your policies for manual approval. 

Furthermore, it can help you detect fraud by auditing your reports for duplicate expenses and any other anomalies.

And through software integration, you can use these different tools to create a unified T&E management process. 

5.  Top solutions for travel and expense management

There are many tools you can use to make your T&E management more efficient, for instance:

  • Pluto Card allows you to issue unlimited virtual cards, create travel specific card limits  monitor spending in real-time and most importantly, it allows your employees to reimburse quickly!
  • A travel expense tracker can provide you with automated expense reporting and expense tracking.
  • You can use a travel management platform that allows your employees to book flights, trains, and hotels and even rent cars from one place.
  • Pluto mobile app makes the expense reporting process much simpler for your employees.
  • You could take data from Pluto and travel management system directly into your accounting platform to further automate and simplify the T&E management process.

Expense management software for T&E management

One of the best ways to simplify your travel and expense management is by making use of the right T&E management software. However, with the increasing amount of options available, knowing which one fits your company best can be difficult.

Since no two businesses are exactly the same, there won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. Having said that, you’ll have an easier time choosing between the different options by focusing on the specific features that you need, or at least should consider, in a T&E management platform.

Key features to look for in a travel and expense management software

1. Virtual cards

Pluto gives you the ability to create virtual cards for online purchases. These cards can be generated as single-use or recurring, giving you complete control in terms of how you set up your spending limits.

Virtual cards offer you similar benefits to corporate cards, in the sense that you get full visibility of your expenses and your employees don’t have to pay upfront, but they have the added benefit of being more customizable.

2. Flexible spending limits

Our expense management software can also give you a lot of control and flexibility over the spending limits that you set. Pluto allows you to set specific spending-limits for vendor and change them in real-time online. 

This allows you to track expenses for specific countries or cities, while removing the need to manually configure spending limits each time someone makes a trip request.

3. Expense reports and analytics

If you want to make your expense management more efficient, you’ll need accurate data and insights into the spending habits of your employees.

Pluto gives you real-time reporting and analytics, to give your finance teams an easier time combing through all the expense data. For instance, a system with robust reporting capabilities should:

  • Categorize expenses and organize reports by expense type
  • Reconcile your reports
  • Give you spending insights across all your departments
  • Keep track of violations of your expense policies
  • Provide you with real time spend visibility

By getting a clear picture of your expenses, you’ll have an easier time ensuring policy compliance, preventing fraud, and reducing travel costs.

4. No FX fees and multi-currency functionality

If your employees travel internationally frequently, you’ll want a product that comes with a card that doesn’t have additional fees or surcharges for international purchases.

At Pluto we have 0 FX fees. Furthermore, you’ll have an easier time managing these expenses due to multi-currency functionality automatically converting all transaction information to your country’s currency.

5. Mobile functionality

If you are trying to simplify your expense reporting process for travel expenses, then you need a way to work on those expenses on the go. Pluto’s mobile app would allow your employees to report their expenses right away from any location, while also giving them the ability to submit receipts digitally.

6. Integrated card management

If you opt for a software provider that also offers corporate credit card services, you’ll be able to automatically reconcile expense report entries with your card statements, detect any expense bottlenecks, and generally reduce the chances of fraud or misuse. 

Pluto card management software will also give you more control over your corporate spending. Plus, you’ll be able to set and control your spending limits with much more ease.

7. Compatibility with other tools

When it comes to the use of technology in expense management, the more, the merrier.

Pluto can be integrated with your accounting software so that it can automatically populate expense reports and simplify your reimbursement through the use of your organization's accounting data.

Furthermore, by integrating your TEM system with your travel management system you can instantly take the travel booking information and add it to your expense reports.

8. Automated workflows, expense categorization, and tax calculation

The entire point of using travel expense management software is to automate as many processes as possible.

This includes the ability to customize your travel policies and approval workflows, categorize expenses for more straightforward tax calculation, and determine whether they are tax deductible or not.

Furthermore, by categorizing your expenses, you’ll have an easier time complying with the tax regulations of your country.

9. Scalability

One feature that is sometimes overlooked in software platforms is the ability to scale your operations as your company grows. You don’t want to choose a system now only to realize it no longer meets your needs further down the line.

In this regard, Pluto is a great pick as we have the backend to support any business sidez from small teams to enterprise level accounts. 

Key takeaways

Effective expense management is all about visibility, flexibility, control, and automation. The most common pain points from T&E management come from outdated policies and manual inputs, which you should seek to update and simplify via means of a robust expense management platform.

When it comes to making your travel and expense management more efficient, the key things to remember are:

  • Review and update your policy continuously to ensure it meets the needs of your business and employees.
  • Examine your current expenses to look for opportunities to reduce reimbursements and consolidate expenses.
  • Use Pluto to automate approval workflows and simplify the expense reporting process.
  • Pluto also offers strong reporting capabilities, gives you a lot of flexibility for spending limits, and can be integrated with other tools for maximum effectiveness.

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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Corporate Cards
October 10, 2022

Leen Shami

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

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

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

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

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What is a Business Credit Card?

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

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

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

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

What is a Corporate Credit Card?

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

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

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

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

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

What is a Pluto Card?

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

Pluto Virtual & Physical Corporate Cards

Virtual credit cards

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

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

With virtual credit cards, you can:

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

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

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

Physical credit cards

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

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

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

Benefits and perks

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

Business & corporate credit cards:

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

Pluto cards:

Pluto Corporate Card Perks

Why are Business Credit Cards and Corporate Credit Cards Different?

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

Expense management tools

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

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

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

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

Corporate and business card fees

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

Annual fees

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

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

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

FX fees

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

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

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

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

Application & Approval Process

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

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

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

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

Corporate vs. Business Credit Cards Pros and Cons

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

Business credit card pros

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

Business credit card cons

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

Corporate credit card pros

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

Corporate credit card cons

  • Longer approval process;
  • High FX fees;

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

Why Pick Pluto Card for Business and Corporate Users?

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

Pluto's spend management platform

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

Approval workflow on Pluto

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

With Pluto's approval workflow, you can:

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

Real-time expense reports

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

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

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

Which Card is Best for My Business?

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

Industry

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

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

Size

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

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

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

Control

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

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

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

Pluto Corporate Card Budget Control

Key Takeaways

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

FAQ

Does a corporate credit card affect my credit score?

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

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

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

What is meant by a corporate credit card?

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

Is a corporate card the same as a credit card?

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

What is the difference between corporate and domestic credit cards?

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

Can a corporate card be used for personal use?

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

What is the advantage of a corporate credit card?

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

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

Does a corporate credit card affect my credit score?

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

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

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

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

Do corporate credit cards require a credit check?

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

5
All
Guides
January 3, 2024

Mohammed Ridwan

How to Write a Petty Cash Policy in Four Easy Steps (With Template)

Here’s the difference between a vague and a specific petty cash policy:

Vague: Petty cash can be used for any business-related expenses as needed upon approval.

Specific: Petty cash is used for small, incidental business expenses, such as office supplies, minor equipment purchases (up to $100), business-related meals and entertainment (up to $25 per occurrence), and travel expenses (e.g., tolls, parking fees).

Companies often set vague policies or leave them to employee understanding; after all, having petty cash is about flexibility and saving time. The entire petty cash system sits on the foundation of trust, where a missed receipt isn’t considered a big deal. 

However, as the business grows, these missing documents, owing to a lack of structure, cause monetary setbacks and disrupt operations. The finance team pursues the employees for receipts, and the employees struggle to get them submitted on time and the budget goes off the charts. 

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What is a Petty Cash Policy?

A petty cash policy is a set of guidelines that govern the management and usage of small amounts of cash for nominal business expenses. It outlines the purpose, authorized expenses, and recordkeeping and replenishment procedures for the petty cash fund.

Suppose an employee wants to purchase office supplies. With proper documentation and approval, a policy in place can restrict the use of cash for office supplies and minor expenses up to $50 only. After all, petty cash should be used only when absolutely necessary, for all other larger purchases it is better to use corporate purchasing cards.

Hence, structured petty cash policies and procedures help the business track and control all expenses with proper recordkeeping, enhancing accountability and petty cash management.

4-Step Process to Set Petty Cash Policy and Procedures

Before you set up policies and procedures, assess the need for petty cash and the types of expenses you will cover. This study will become the foundation for your guidelines and provide an estimated figure for petty cash funds.

For example, a transport business’s petty cash expenses include fuel for vehicles, tolls, minor vehicle repairs, and possibly small office supplies for administrative needs. However, a property investment company’s petty cash expenses include office stationery, postage, property maintenance supplies, and likely local travel expenses for property visits or inspections.

Hence, the nature of petty cash expenses will vary based on your business’s specific needs and operations.

Once these fundamentals are clear, you can set your petty cash policies and procedures by following the steps mentioned below.

1. Get Inputs From the Finance Team

Collaborate with the finance team to discuss current processes and challenges. Understand the gaps in existing systems and get feedback for potential improvements and best practices.

For instance, if the finance team struggles with frequent delays in providing employees with adequate cash on time for urgent expenses, you can establish guidelines that they can follow for such instances. 

Another common instance is that the finance team struggles with frequent delays in employee reimbursement due to unclear approval processes. You can establish a streamlined approval hierarchy in the policy. It involves specifying designated approvers and setting clear timelines for reimbursement requests, ensuring timely resolution.

petty cash workflow

Additionally, discuss compliance requirements to create a framework that ensures legal and regulatory standards adherence. This can include provisions such as documenting receipts and carefully reporting cash transactions above a certain threshold to comply with company reporting & auditability requirements. 

2. Define Procedures

Create a comprehensive document outlining the workflow of petty cash transactions, including authorizations and documentation.

Define the approval process, specifying who needs to approve different transaction amounts. For instance, your approval policy could look like this:

The routine office supplies purchases under $20 require immediate department supervisor approval, larger expenditures for equipment up to $100 need approval from the finance manager, and any expenses exceeding $100 require executive-level authorization.

Similarly, create a standardized process and template for documenting each transaction, including separate fields for date, amount, purpose, and signatures. Additionally, you could add guidelines, such as submission of a receipt within a week. These measures further help you strengthen the structure and avoid any hassle.

3. Specify Controls

Once all the fundamental procedures are defined, you set the rules for operating your petty cash system to ensure proper control. Here are some examples:

“If the petty cash fund balance falls below 20% of the initial amount, the designated custodian is responsible for submitting a replenishment request to the finance department. The replenishment should be completed within two business days to ensure the continuous availability of the petty cash fund for essential business needs.”

“Authorized petty cash transactions for office supplies are limited to $25 per occurrence, while minor miscellaneous expenses are limited to $15. Any transactions exceeding these limits require prior approval as per the designated approval process outlined in this policy.”

“To ensure transparency and accountability in the management of petty cash funds, a policy of custodian rotation will be implemented. Every quarter, a new employee will be assigned the responsibility of a petty cash custodian. The outgoing person must provide a comprehensive handover to the incoming custodian to maintain continuity and accuracy in fund management.”

4. Communicate and Review 

Share the new petty cash policy with relevant stakeholders and conduct training sessions for employees involved in petty cash transactions. 

To assess the effectiveness, establish a monthly audit schedule, in addition to petty cash reconciliation, where the designated team member will verify the log, review the completeness and accuracy of documentation, confirm that the approval process has been followed, etc. 

The audit will help you identify potential loopholes, allowing you to modify the policy and procedure for effective petty cash management. 

In addition to these audits, implement a tracking system, such as a spreadsheet or an expense management platform, to monitor expenses. While the spreadsheet is a cost-effective solution, a dedicated automation platform will make tracking petty cash in real time easier with complete visibility. Moreover, you will have many more controls and features to oversee your petty cash without spending hours maintaining logs and Excel spreadsheets.

Template for Setting Petty Cash Guidelines

Modify this template and include specific petty cash guidelines to suit your business needs:

Petty Cash Policy and Procedures

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide clear guidelines for the establishment, management, and usage of the petty cash fund within [Company Name]. The petty cash fund is intended for minor, day-to-day business expenses, facilitating the quick and efficient processing of small transactions.

2. Custodian

The finance department will manage the petty cash fund, with [Designated Employee] serving as the petty cash custodian. The custodian is responsible for secure cash handling, accurate record-keeping, and compliance with company policies.

3. Petty Cash Fund Amount

The initial petty cash fund is set at [Enter Amount], subject to review annually or as business needs dictate. Any adjustments to the fund require approval from [Finance Manager/Authorized Approver].

4. Replenishment

When the petty cash fund balance drops to [Enter Minimum Amount], the custodian must submit a replenishment request to [Finance Manager/Authorized Approver]. These requests should include original receipts and a summary of expenditures.

5. Authorized Petty Cash Expenses

The following types of expenses are authorized for petty cash disbursement:

  • Office supplies (e.g., pens, notepads)
  • Small equipment purchases (under [Enter Amount])
  • Minor business-related meals and entertainment
  • Travel expenses (e.g., tolls, parking fees) 

6. Unauthorized Expenses

Petty cash funds should not be used for personal expenses, cash advances, or any expenditures unrelated to official business activities. Any unauthorized expenses must be reimbursed by the individual responsible.

7. Recordkeeping

The custodian will maintain a dedicated petty cash log. Each entry should include:

  • Date of transaction
  • Vendor or payee
  • Description of the expense
  • Amount
  • Receipt verification

8. Receipts

Original receipts for all petty cash transactions must be submitted promptly. Receipts should be attached to the petty cash log and clearly show the date, amount, and nature of the expense.

9. Auditing

The finance department will periodically conduct surprise audits on the petty cash fund to ensure compliance. The custodian is responsible for facilitating the audit process and addressing any discrepancies.

10. Reporting

A monthly summary of petty cash transactions, including the remaining balance and any discrepancies, will be provided to the finance manager. Any significant issues or concerns should be reported immediately.

11. Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by [Finance Manager/Authorized Approver] to assess its effectiveness and relevance. The petty cash custodian can recommend adjustments or issue an official request.

Approval:

[Signature] [Date]

[Name, Title]

[Finance Manager or Authorized Approver]

[Company Name] 

Implementing a Foolproof Petty Cash System

To establish a dependable petty cash system, collaborate and automate. Stay in close connection with the finance team to gather feedback and insights. Use solutions like spend management software to automate the petty cash system and get real-time visibility. They provide more structure to your petty cash management and simplify workflows for employees.

In one of our posts, we have covered more about petty cash management and how you can automate it. It will help you understand the nuances and efficiently manage your petty cash.

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All
Procurement
December 20, 2023

Vlad Falin

Procure-to-Pay Process: What it is, Benefits, and Steps Involved

The procure-to-pay process doesn’t mean the procurement process. It is a subset of procurement that integrates purchasing and accounts payable.

Traditionally, the procurement process is scattered across the business, and the procurement team needs help to gain visibility or control. The employees purchase from different vendors, the approval process is chaotic and delayed, the stakeholders are stuck in email threads to review the expenses, and the procurement team struggles to get an overview of the organization’s needs.

Procuring the best goods and services becomes problematic since the team is left with open information loops. As a result, it spends more time optimizing the procurement cost and improving the bottom line.

What is the Procure-to-Pay Process?

The procure-to-pay process streamlines the scattered procurement parts to combine purchases and payments. Instead of a process spread across different software, the procurement process shifts to a centralized platform.

The employees get a dedicated platform to raise purchase requests and obtain approvals. The platform notifies stakeholders, such as managers, legal teams, finance teams, IT teams, and other relevant decision-makers to review and approve the proposals. As a result, the procurement team seamlessly moves to the vendor evaluation and negotiation stage without worrying about approvals or delays. The finance team efficiently handles accounts payable since the purchase and payment process is integrated.

So, while earlier, the purchases were handled solely by the procurement team and payments solely by the finance teams, the procure-to-pay process gives both teams an overview of the process from start to finish. In this post, we will discuss how this procure-to-pay process helps you optimize your procurement function and improve your bottom line.

Why Do You Need a Procure-to-Pay Process?

The procure-to-pay process is not just for your finance team or procurement team. It helps the entire organization to gain resources efficiently. Here are eight ways that demonstrate how moving to a streamlined process benefits you:

1. Visibility

All the relevant stakeholders get visibility into the process and the status. Be it the employee, managers, finance team, legal team, IT team, or procurement team — each one can track the progress without delving into multiple email threads. Additionally, teams get insights that help procurement teams optimize costs with data-driven decision-making.

2. Compliance and Control

You can implement advanced controls, such as customized approval workflows and spending budgets, without micromanaging the teams. You can successfully enforce internal control over financial reporting without creating unnecessary team resentment. 

So, for instance, if any expenses or purchases beyond $50,000 require additional approval from the legal and IT team, you can easily configure those controls within the approval workflow.

3. Streamline Workflows

The traditional process demands the employees to go from one office to another or spend days on email and Slack conversations before the managers give the green signal. At times, approval of a critical stakeholder is missed, causing delays and disrupting the workflow.

With the procure-to-pay process, you can create custom workflows depending on the purchase category, department, amount, etc. This accelerates workflow, and all the relevant stakeholders get notified right away.

4. Centralized Management

The procure-to-pay process integrates purchases and payments to bring all the critical information on a single dashboard. As a result, any discrepancies in the procurement process are identified in minutes. The entire procedure accelerates the real-time visibility of each stage.

5. Reconciliation

A centralized management system makes collecting and storing documents easy; additionally, since it integrates purchases and payments, the information syncs across accounting systems and ERPs.

During the audit season, this becomes a blessing where the finance team doesn’t have to chase teams for complete records. Also, it becomes easier to store and lock all the transactions and share these records with external parties.

6. Risk Management

The procurement operation is prone to financial, operational, and reputational risks. With the procure-to-pay process, teams can efficiently manage the vendors, purchase requests, approvals, and payments on a centralized platform in real time. It reduces the risk of fraud, ensures policy compliance, and provides visibility into spending patterns without burdening any team.

7. Insights

You can easily see the inside out of your procurement process, whether you want to know how much the marketing team spends or which vendor costs you the most. It makes it more convenient to reduce procurement costs and optimize purchases to improve the bottom line. Also, as all the information is centralized, there are no gaps or missing loopholes, providing complete transparency of your expenses.

8. Invoice Management

The procure-to-pay process ensures that all the invoices are captured and extracted into a centralized platform. This facilitates two-way and three-way matching without causing delays. Moreover, the reconciliation process becomes easy as all the records are systematically recorded.

So, whether you receive an invoice via email, WhatsApp, or physical copy, you can easily add it to the system without risking losing an invoice.

What are the Stages in the Procure-to-Pay Process?

The traditional procurement process has over nine steps strewed across different platforms. These include identifying goods and services, purchase requests, vendor selection, negotiation, purchase orders, inspection of the goods received, three-way matching, approvals, and payment and reconciliation.

While the procure-to-pay process doesn’t alter these stages, it integrates them for a streamlined workflow. So, earlier, if the approvals took days or weeks, keeping employees and the procurement team on hold, now it only takes a few minutes or hours. You centralize the procurement process and save money and time.

Here are five key stages in the procure-to-pay process:

1. Purchase Request

Purchase Request

Employees no longer need to travel from one office to another, seeking approvals manually from managers. The streamlined procure-to-pay process gives employees a centralized dashboard to raise requests and specify their needs. It helps the procurement team to understand what the employee needs as well as examine the purchase details. Moreover, the stakeholders can quickly approve or reject the requests from the dedicated platform.

Administrators add customized approval flows to enforce internal policies. They create trigger-based approval workflows based on the expense amount, category, and department to accommodate intricate hierarchies.

For instance, they have the option to create separate workflows for expenses below $5000 and those exceeding a certain budget. Similarly, they can add specific stakeholders to the custom workflows for minimum friction and delay. 

2. Purchase Order

Purchase order

While the vendor evaluation, selection, and negotiation happen on dedicated ERPs, the procure-to-pay process enables you to bring all this information on a consolidated platform. You maintain a synced and consistent database to make purchases faster and more secure.

Pluto integrates with your ERPs and allows you to maintain a centralized vendor database. You can add the vendor directly to the platform and systematically record information. You can add a field in your approval workflow to determine whether the employees are purchasing from a vendor list or a new vendor.

A systematic list helps you consolidate expenses and optimize costs. Moreover, ordering becomes more accessible with a unified platform for raising and approving purchase requests and maintaining an ERP-synced vendor database.

3, Invoice Management

Invoice Management

Traditionally, vendors send invoices to a dedicated email or an address. The employees send them for approval and payment. It takes days to clear the expenses. Additionally, the accounting team spends considerable time and energy on maintaining records.

The procure-to-pay strategy reduces this effort and streamlines the procedure. It captures and extracts the invoice from the emails and attaches to a dedicated purchase request and order. This helps the teams match the purchase order, invoice and goods received note (GRN) without juggling multiple platforms.

It pulls all the information with optical character recognition (OCR) technology, reducing manual data entry. Since this platform syncs with the accounting system, the accounting team spends minimal time on data entry.

4. Payment Processing

Payment Processing

Processing payments becomes a task when the finance team has to chase employees for invoices and wait for approvals and verification. The procure-to-pay technique centralizes the entire process, giving real-time visibility and helping finance teams make timely payments. 

Moreover, with Pluto, you can integrate your procurement software with the payment gateways to ease the payment process further. Also, you get better Forex rates than banks, helping you save more money. Overall, with the approvals and invoices streamlined, payment processing becomes easy.

5. Reconciliation

Reconciliation

Reconciliation is the hardest part, even when you perform the data entry and data sync monthly. You risk losing documentation and creating gaps in the records.

The procure-to-pay process consolidates the entire procurement cycle to bring all the critical information on a single platform. There are minimal gaps; records are up-to-date due to real-time tracking and recording.

With Pluto, you can integrate with platforms like MS Dynamics, Oracle Netsuite, QuickBooks, etc. So, with your ERPs and accounting software synced, you can easily record all the transactions digitally and securely.

Pluto further enables you to lock the transactions to avoid fraud once approved. Moreover, you can create view-only access for your records to simplify auditing for external parties.

Improve Your Bottom Line With the Right Procure-To-Pay Solution

Overall, the procure-to-pay process helps you automate your procurement process without changing your approach too much. You just need to find the right solution that assists your procurement process. 

We discussed more about this in our procure-to-pay solutions post, where you will find what procure-to-pay software does and how to pick the right one.