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What is Operating Budget: How to Create & Manage One

Mohammed Ridwan

February 23, 2023

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Businesses have all sort of budgets, such as cash budgets, labor budgets, investments budgets, project budgets, and each has their own particular function. Among those, few are as important as the operating budget.

Your operating budget consists of all your fixed and variable costs, as well as your expenses and it is what your business will use to determine what revenue will look like for a given period of time. But an operating budget isn’t simply about knowing how much you are spending and can make; it can also help you find ways to improve your bottom line. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of having an operating budget, the components that form one, and how you can improve the management of your budget.

What is an operating budget?

An operating budget is a yearly financial plan showing a company's expected income and spending. It's created at the end of each year to plan for the next one. This budget helps companies predict their money flow, manage costs, and make smart financial choices. It's key for businesses to stay on track and grow. Understanding an operating budget is important for anyone running a business or managing finances.

Why do we need an operating budget?

A company's annual operating budget outlines how it intends to spend its money over a specified period. In order to create one, fixed and variable costs, as well as revenue, need to be taken into account.

The purpose of an operating budget is to determine where and when funds should be allocated, make sure all expenditures are covered, and keep things running smoothly for all types of businesses. Without one, your business cannot function efficiently. 

Unlike a capital budget, an operating budget helps businesses plan their daily operations and recurring expenses, whereas a capital budget helps them plan long-term investments.

Its purpose is to prevent cash outflows from exceeding cash inflows. It is necessary for companies to evaluate their incoming revenue and expenditures in order to accomplish this.   

The process of creating an operating budget involves:

  • Examining your costs (fixed costs, variable costs, administrative expenses, etc.)
  • Tallying your list of sources of income.
  • Estimating one-time spends
  • Working out your supplier costs
  • Estimating your revenue
  • Building cash flow projections
  • Monitoring petty-cash and other expense sections
  • Setting spending goals

While a tight operating budget with limited resources can lead to a lot of profit, it can also create inefficiencies for your business. Ideally, you should be looking for this balance when calculating your operating expenses in the current fiscal year, as well as when planning your operating budgets. 

Benefits of having operating budgets for businesses

  • Finance the expansion of your company: If you plan to obtain a business loan or raise funds from investors, you must present a detailed operating budget outlining your income and expenses.
  • Make your business budget clearer so you can plan for the future: Your business budget serves as a financial road map in a number of ways. The financial health of your company can be determined using this report, as well as what needs to be done to achieve future financial goals.
  • Help your company run more efficiently and effectively if you make a budget: Keeping a company budget can also help you stay out of debt by ensuring that the right money is spent in the right places at the right time.
  • Analyze your revenue and costs to determine where you can save money: Budgeting your business can help you identify areas where you can cut costs or increase revenue, increasing profits.
  • Avoiding debt by predicting slow months.
  • Helping you maintain control over your business.
  • Recognizing reinvestment opportunities.
  • Calculate your expected earnings.
  • Analyze the gap between your expectations and reality

What are the components of an operating budget?

Operational budgets become more valuable and relevant the more detailed they are. A budget for operating expenses may include a high-level summary as well as several supporting sub-budgets. When you are developing a budget, you'll typically include the following operating budget components:

1. Revenue

A company's revenue is generated by selling goods and services. The forecast of revenue can be based on a simple year-over-year comparison, but breaking down revenue based on its underlying components can provide more useful information.

It is not a good idea to use projected revenue at this stage. This is not advisable since emotions can lead you to misperceive the company's capabilities. Identify your actual revenue from your financial statements, and don't worry if your expenses are higher than sales revenue. It is common for businesses to lose a certain amount of money each month until they reach profitability.

2. Variable costs

As sales volume increases or decreases, these costs rise or fall accordingly. Costs associated with variable items include direct raw materials and labor, commissions , production supplies, and monthly fees on credit cards. To calculate percentages on variable costs later, you'll need to list the actual costs when you create your operating budget. It is crucial to understand how variable costs will change as you do revenue projections. 

3. Fixed costs

A fixed cost is an expense that remains relatively constant regardless of whether sales rise or fall. Among these fixed expenses are cost factors such as monthly rent, utilities, leases of equipment, and insurance. In order for a company to be profitable, it must have a small, fixed cost and variable cost as a percentage of its revenue. To do that, it's important to understand what those fixed costs are.   

4. Non-cash expenses

Stock-based compensation, deferred income taxes, and depreciation are among the most common non-cash expenses.

5. Non-operating expenses

An organization's main activity is not directly impacted by these costs. Non-operating expenses include interest payments, losses from asset dispositions, and currency exchange costs.

Operational budgets may include other items in some industries or organizations. Typically, capital expenses aren't included in operating budgets since they are long-term costs, while operating budgets are short-term.

How to manage and improve operating budgets?

Creating an operating budget and managing it effectively takes several skills. The goal of budgeting is to improve control and accuracy over time, making your budgets even better. In order to do so, you can take the following approach:

1. Prepare multiple budget types

Spending is guided by budgets, which predict revenue over a certain period of time. Short-term budgets are intended to cover one year or a year and a half, while mid-term budgets are intended for two to three years, and long-term budgets are intended to forecast your business's finances for four to five years. Businesses often create multiple budgets. As part of business operations, they may rely heavily on a short-term budget, while for high-level planning, they may rely more heavily on a long-term budget. There are also overhead budgets, direct materials budgets, production budgets, administrative expenses budgets, direct labor budgets, and many more.

2. Delegation

A senior manager should designate who shall be responsible for updating and maintaining localized budgets. In order for all budget updates to fit together, you'll also need a plan for your delegates to help maintain financial accountability.

3. Monitoring and collaboration

Maintaining a healthy budget requires regular monitoring and collaboration. Overspending or underspending is noted here, adjustments are made, and future predictions are made. Collaboration with your staff is what allows you to find discrepancies between your expectations and the day-to-day business reality. This is ultimately the best way to monitor variable costs, follow cash flow, and catch mistakes.

4. Forecasting

It is important to understand where your business stands today and where it wishes to go in the future before you plan your business strategy. It helps you to understand where you met, exceeded or encountered unexpected difficulties for the entire year based on accurate, up-to-date data from routine budget monitoring. Using your data, you can create a budget that is more tailored to needs at the end of the year.

7 tips to efficiently managing operating budgets

1. Ensure that budget details are set appropriately

A budget can take many forms. Understanding how detailed this particular budget needs to be is the first step toward creating a successful budget. Budgets should be broken down at least by department. In most cases, though, it isn't particularly helpful to get too deep into line items. Often, managers or specific employees are better equipped to keep track of granular details about frequent purchases. In addition, managers should be able to adjust budgets based on their performance. Managing social media campaigns may require flexibility from a marketing manager, for example.

2. Delegate effectively

As a business opens, most spending may be cleared personally by the owners. Businesses grow to a point where they are unable to handle the volume of decisions alone as they grow.

It may be challenging to give someone else control over the company's finances, but as a result of delegation, all purchase decisions won't have to be passed through the owner's desk. A department can respond more nimbly to its needs. In order to continue to improve their skills in budget management, managers should have access to budget management training tools.

3. Engage in collaboration

It is necessary for departments to have a certain amount of control over their own budgets. The importance of encouraging communication between related departments cannot be overstated. Having overlapping objectives between the marketing and sales teams can help each team perform better, for instance:

  • Your finance team can cooperate with IT to find ways to keep systems updated without overspending.
  • Your Human Resources department can consult with the travel management team to lower the cost of recruiting (when it involves traveling.

4. Establish a standard for budget reporting

The budget now spreads across multiple departments if you follow the steps in order. It takes some time for each department to manage its budget independently and some time for them to collaborate with other teams. 

Keeping a centralized "home" for budget management helps executives get a cohesive, high-level view when they need it. It is possible to accomplish this by implementing a central budget system that can be accessed by all budget users. Each department should record expenses according to the same procedure, even if they handle the budget monitoring on their own. It will be easier for you to combine all records into one master budget record this way.

5. Compile accurate, complete data

It is vital to monitor actual business expenses in order to keep your budget on track. A budget without this step is merely a theoretical document that does not have any real power to influence business decisions. Make sure to pay attention to the performance of your budget during each upcoming period by collecting thorough, accurate updates.

Setting clear spend categories and making the expense submission process as convenient as possible are two ways to accomplish this.

It is important to keep context in mind when categorizing. It is possible to classify the same restaurant meal differently depending on the purpose of the trip. Interviewing a potential employee is an expense in human resources. A meal with a client is a sales opportunity. Your travel budget covers the cost of a business traveler's meal. Create an accurate view of your expenses by categorizing them appropriately in your system.

When you submit an expense report in a few minutes, you're more likely to receive complete information. The process can be streamlined by choosing a budget management tool with features such as receipt photo capture and automatic categorization.

6. Schedule appointments for budget updates

We've all experienced situations where it seems like all projects are due at once. An intense workload can lead to a temptation to drop any unimportant task during a crunch period.

Nevertheless, budget management is an essential task if you want to keep your business' finances in order. When you put off a budget review until next week, "when things calm down," the greater the chances of soon having to put out a new fire.

Establish a schedule for closing books and updating department heads on any course corrections that need to be made. The early detection of overspending can be achieved by checking on it quarterly or monthly.

7. Keep the future in mind

By comparing actual and planned spending on one budget, you can inform your next budget preparation. By keeping notes from your financial budget reviews, you can create your next budget more easily.

It is possible to discover patterns in your notes that you might not notice on a daily basis. Were you able to make a surplus in some areas but overextended in others? How can you anticipate future spending patterns? The data from your own budget is a great resource for building future plans.

How can Pluto help businesses create and manage an operating budget?

Tracking expenses

Pluto can track all the expenses made by the organization and categorize them according to their purpose. This way, the organization can see where their money is going and identify areas where they can cut costs.

Budget setting

With Pluto, an organization can set a budget for each expense category (under a corporate card or group of cards). This ensures that the organization does not overspend and can stay within its financial limits.

Real-time monitoring

Pluto can provide real-time updates on the organization's spending, allowing them to see how much they have spent, how much they have left, and where they are overspending. This helps the organization make informed decisions about its spending and adjust its budget accordingly.

Detailed reporting

Pluto can generate ad-hoc reports, providing the organization with detailed information on their spending. This can help the organization identify trends and make informed decisions about future spending.

Overall, Pluto can help an organization create and manage an operating budget by providing real-time tracking, automated reporting, and budget-setting features. This allows the organization to stay on top of its spending, make informed decisions, and achieve its financial goals.

Key takeaways

An operating budget isn’t just important, it’s absolutely necessary. While there can be challenges when it comes to building one, such as poor visibility of your expenditure and a lack of expense tracking, these can be overcome with the aid of Pluto.

Properly building and updating your operating budget will help you find opportunities for improvement when it comes to cost-cutting and revenue, as well as generally increase the efficiency of your business.

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Spend Management
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Mohammed Ridwan

Top 6 Expense Management Software for Global Businesses in 2024

You have just received an OTP, and now you are guessing which one of your employees is spending this amount and why. You don’t have time to review it, nor can you delay the payment too much. You neither have control nor visibility. This is the problem of shared corporate cards. 

If you want to make it simpler for your employees, invest in expense management software. It is an automation tool to streamline employee-related expenses—reimbursement, petty cash, and corporate cards. In addition, it offers a centralized platform with real-time visibility into how employees spend company money. As a result, the entire cycle of approval and accounting becomes simpler.

In this post, we share the top six expense management software to help you get started. 

Top 6 Expense Management Software 

Here are six options for expense management software to manage employee-related expenses:

1. Pluto

pluto expense management software

Pluto is the best platform for managing employee expenses as it streamlines petty cash management, corporate cards, employee reimbursements and account payables. It is trusted by the largest finance and procurement teams in the Middle East, such as Tamara and Petrochem. With Pluto, you can transform reimbursements to get more control and visibility without causing delays or confusion.

Key Features:

  • Provides custom no-code approval workflows that adapt to the company's hierarchy for timely and accurate approvals 
  • Automates receipt capture through optical character recognition (OCR), with the ability to support bulk upload via WhatsApp
  • Supports unlimited corporate cards—virtual and physical, with budget controls to maintain expenses within corporate policies
  • Offers zero-balance cards, which get funded once the expense is approved
  • Ability to add comments and other transaction details to maintain a comprehensive audit log. View-only access is available for external accountants to review financial data without making changes
  • Facilitates card-specific policies to make branch and subsidiary-level reimbursements easy
  • Gives the option to make mass payments to reimburse employees
  • Offers custom expense reports to overview business expenses and spending trends
  • Alerts in case of duplicate receipt uploads to avoid fraud and compliance issues
  • Integrates with accounting platforms like Netsuite for advanced general ledger (GL) coding and tax tracking
  • Provides secure document storage with a five-year audit log and bank-grade encryption

Pricing:

Request a custom quote

Pros:

  • Enables branch and 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 onboarding due to a corporate card offering 
  • Integrates with all other major ERPS except Tally

2. Airbase

expense management tool by airbase

Airbase simplifies expense reporting with AI and ML and ensures quick, hassle-free, and smart corporate expense management. It is an automation solution for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises with 100-5,000 employees.

Key Features:

  • Offers OCR to populate details, including GL category, date, amount, and purpose
  • Ensures compliance by sending reminders and, if needed, locking cards until policies are met
  • Facilitates reminders to upload receipts, eliminating the need to chase employees for receipts
  • Offers a designated email address to send receipts of virtual card transactions
  • Allows custom approval workflows and budget limits for physical cards
  • Provides alerts for suspicious activity, enabling quick responses to potential fraudulent purchases
  • Enables real-time audit trail with receipts, notes, and documentation for transparency
  • Automates expense reimbursements to employees' bank accounts once the expenses are approved

Pricing:

Request the sales team for a custom quote

Pros:

  • Flexible to accommodate varying team sizes and user base
  • Intuitive and easy to use; no training or previous knowledge required

Cons:

  • Slow mobile app; takes time to load pages 
  • Glitchy SSO-based login 
  • Not suitable for complex branch-level approvals and expenses

3. Ramp

expense management solution by ramp

Ramp is an integrated solution that streamlines expense management with corporate cards, automated expense tracking, and real-time reporting to help teams track expenses. It is a suitable solution for businesses of all sizes. 

Key Features:

  • Provides corporate cards with the ability to add spending policies to prevent unauthorized or non-compliant expenses
  • Facilitates customizable workflows for expense approval 
  • Enables employees to submit expenses on the go through SMS, mobile app, and integrations with platforms like Gmail and Lyft
  • Automates the capture and matching of receipts for every transaction, ensuring accurate expense tracking
  • Flags non-compliant expenses, including weekend spend, excessive tipping, and alcohol purchases, reducing the need for manual review
  • Provides instant access to real-time spending data, allowing businesses to make timely adjustments before exceeding budgets
  • Identifies cost savings opportunities, such as duplicate subscriptions and unused solutions

Pricing:

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

Pros:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on credit card purchases made using their VISA branded cards

Cons:

  • Only available to businesses registered in the US
  • Doesn’t have a mobile app for Android phones

4. Bill.com

Bill's expense management system

Bill.com simplifies employee expense tracking by providing real-time visibility and customization. It is an expense management solution for SMBs to control all corporate expenses. It streamlines a scattered expense management process with seamless syncing.

Key Features:

  • Extends credit limits ranging from $500 to $5 million to control spending within constraints
  • Provides custom approval workflows to speed up the approval process with minimal friction
  • Offers 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
  • Enables 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:

Offers 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
  • Glitches in the reimbursement process lead to pending approvals

5. Rydoo

expense management solution by rydoo

Rydoo is a cloud-based expense management tool that streamlines reimbursement cycles, automates expense flows, and enhances team productivity. It combines the capabilities of an expense tracker and a travel service, enabling you to book flights and hotels. It is suitable for medium-sized businesses that are building international relationships with overseas offices as it supports multiple languages and currencies. 

Key Features:

  • Supports OCR scanning feature for receipt management
  • Automates approval flows for expenses based on company policies
  • Assures global compliance by setting up rules, mileage rates, per diems, and tax rates for specific countries and regions. Also provides an advanced rule engine for tailored policies in the admin panel.
  • Reimburses employees in their local currency, supporting diverse international operations
  • Integrates with popular third-party apps like Dropbox, Slack, Uber, Lyft, and SAP
  • Supports accounting software widely used in the European Union, such as Exact Online and E-conomic
  • Offers full audit trails for maintaining company policies, IRS compliance, and resource conservation with a 10-year data storage period

Pricing:

Offers a team plan at €8 per user per month with OCR scanning and integrations, growth plan at €10 per user per month adding controls and SAP/Oracle integrations, and enterprise plan with API support and custom pricing for ERP and HR

Pros:

  • Makes it easier to add expenses in different currencies and get paid in local currency with multi-currency support 

Cons:

  • Increases in prices over time leading to significant cost jumps over the years (Source
  • OCR doesn’t work efficiently and requires manual entry

6. Zoho Expenses

expense management software by zoho expense

Zoho Expense is a travel and expense management solution designed to cater to the needs of growing businesses. Trusted by thousands of businesses across 150+ countries, it is a customizable expense-tracking tool offering a mobile-first approach, automation, and integration capabilities. Its integration with the Zoho suite makes it suitable for SMBs seeking efficient travel and expense management.

Key Features:

  • Provides complete control over all stages of employees' business trips—pre-travel approvals, bookings, and post-travel management with a powerful self-booking tool for efficient business travel
  • Offers customization and multi-level pre-travel approval flows along with automated visa requests, documentation, and forms
  • Supports expense reporting by auto-scanning receipts for automatic expense creation
  • Enables simplified approval processes and timely reimbursements
  • Integrates with company cards to offer direct card feed retrieval and automated reconciliation
  • Facilitates budget creation and comparison with actual spending with customizable rules to restrict overspending
  • Provides AI-driven fraud detection for expense audits with country-specific editions for local compliance and mileage rates
  • Supports real-time communication with employees through chat, comments, and notifications
  • Integrates with leading travel, HRMS, accounting, ERP, and collaboration solutions

Pricing:

Offers flexible pricing plans, starting with a free option and scaling up to $3 per active member per month, $5 per active member per month, and custom enterprise pricing

Pros:

  • Adaptable to global taxation regulations 
  • Easy to set up and deploy, very affordable for SMEs

Cons:

  • Limited payment gateway integration options
  • Can be a little confusing to learn especially when transitioning from app to desktop

Finding the Right Expense Management Solution

Consider these three factors while choosing the right expense management software — ease of use, security, and flexibility. Choosing the right expense management software can help you start your journey towards a healthy financial ecosystem. 

In the end, what matters are your internal policies and controls that govern the expenses. Because no matter what platform you choose, if there are gaps in your internal control systems, the software will not be able to do the heavy lifting. 

If you want more clarity on how you can stop the chaos in your company and manage expenses better, read our detailed post on internal control over financial reporting (ICFR). You can also book a call, and our team will help you better understand the bottlenecks and how you can streamline your expense management.

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All
Spend Management
December 6, 2022

Vlad Falin

Efficient Receipt Management For UAE Businesses

Collecting, storing, and otherwise managing receipts is essential to a well-oiled expense reporting machine. 

Each receipt serves as confirmation of payment processing between yourself and the customer or vendor. You also need expense and sales receipts to file taxes and maintain your peace of mind.

Unfortunately, while saying receipt management is easy, the whole process itself is daunting. Tracking hundreds, thousands, even millions of employee and customer receipts leaves loopholes for fraud and misreporting. 

Physical expense receipts are especially susceptible to being lost, damaged, or fading with time.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to do it: digital receipt management with Pluto.

  • Automate more of the expense management process
  • Reduce the risk of fraud and inaccuracies
  • Create more efficient workflows and financial departments
  • And overall streamline modern business operations

While you probably can’t eliminate 100% of paper receipts from your workday, you can still improve your process with an increasingly-digital footprint!

What is Receipt Management?

Receipt management is the process of collecting, tracking, and storing business receipts. This task is usually handled by internal finance teams. Their role involves collecting various receipts, tracking costs in accounting software, and storing these receipts for future reference. Additionally, they may need to manually sort each expense, depending on the system in place.

Why Do You Need It?

  • A well-run receipt management protocol is crucial for businesses for several reasons:

1. Simplify Employee Reimbursement Programs: It aids in the smooth operation of reimbursement programs for employees.

2. Track and Report Tax Deductions: It's essential for accurately tracking and reporting tax deductions.

3. Provide Proof during Tax Audits: It serves as necessary documentation during tax audits.

4. Streamline Expense Reports and Budgets: Helps in making expense reports and budgeting more efficient.

5. Combat Internal Fraud and Inauthentic Chargebacks: Plays a key role in preventing fraud and false chargebacks within the company.

6. Avoid Repair or Replacement Costs for Items Under Warranty: Keeps track of receipts necessary for warranty claims, saving costs on repairs or replacements.

7. Calculate and Improve Long-Term Profitability: Receipt management is vital in calculating and enhancing the long-term profitability of a business.

Different types of receipt management systems are in use today, including those for printed receipts, e-receipts, and even handwritten receipts. This diversity can be challenging for businesses, as they need to follow multiple procedures to reconcile their books effectively.

Types of receipt management

Today, there are three basic ways to handle receipts directly:

  • Manual receipt management involves handling, tracking, and storing paper receipts
  • Digitization receipt management scans physical receipts to digitize the tracking process
  • Digital-only receipt management is used for online or digitally generated receipts

While many businesses are moving toward digitization and digital-only receipts, some businesses are stuck in the dark ages. (The kind that involves typing physical receipt information into a digital spreadsheet.)  

And as we’ll see below, manual entry strategies come with some…problems.  

Difficulties of Manual Receipt Management

1. Easily Lost or Damaged Receipts

Perhaps the most obvious problem with physically tracking expense receipts is that there’s so much that can go wrong. Lost, damaged, or faded receipts make the business expense tracking process that much harder.

Even if the employee who spent the money doesn’t drop their receipt, it’s possible for paperwork to get lost on a desk somewhere. And if you need to find a receipt two years later? Better hope it was filed properly and hasn’t faded completely.  

2. Consumes Human Resources

Manual receipt management is an extremely hours-intensive process.

Your financial team has to collect invoices, type their data into your accounting software, and double-check their work. Then, they have to reconcile business expenses against company credit card statements and track down potential instances of fraud or misreporting.

Not only does this require a lot of time, but it also impacts employee productivity. Every hour an accountant spends tracking receipts is an hour of productivity lost elsewhere.

3. Leaves Room for Human Error

Aside from the time and human resource cost, manual receipt management presents the potential for human error. And unlike on the product line or in customer service, every reporting mistake risks an unfavorable tax audit.

Even the simplest receipt management and tracking process involves several steps from collection to reconciliation. Every stage is an opportunity for an employee to get distracted, mistype a name or number, or duplicate entries. In bigger cases, they might even duplicate a payment, costing you more money.

And even if you catch the mistakes before they’re submitted, that’s more human hours wasted double-checking and correcting completed work.

4. Increases Fraud and Misreporting Risk

The risk of fraud is higher in manual receipt management programs, and instances of fraud may be harder to detect. Types of fraud that commonly crop up in expense reporting include:

  • Inflated claim amounts
  • Claiming personal costs on the business’ dime
  • Submitting expense reports twice
  • Falsifying “proof” to claim for money that wasn’t spent

Unfortunately, manual receipt management makes these kinds of fraud more likely and difficult to catch. For example, if the employee who authenticates receipts is committing or permitting the fraud, it’s harder to detect until after you’ve lost money.

Over time, even small acts of fraud can have massive financial consequences.

5. Contributes to Employee Dissatisfaction

For many companies, employee reimbursement programs contribute both to the need for manual receipt management – and to employee dissatisfaction.

Think about it. In a modern, tech-savvy business world, why should employees have to pay out of pocket, ever? 

Virtual cards and online-based businesses have all but eliminated the need for an employee to front your expenses.

But if you’re still stuck doing manual receipt management, chances are, your employees are still submitting reimbursement tickets. (And grumbling about the time it takes to get paid back.)

And that’s not even touching on the frustration, tedium, and headaches manual receipt management programs cause your high-paid finance teams.  

6. Jacks Up Business Costs

Together, all these factors paint a picture of increased business costs.

The time and human resource cost to track, reconcile, and store receipts.

The human and financial cost of detecting and counteracting fraud.

Even the maintenance costs for your printer and filing cabinets.

Every dollar spent on manual receipt management is a dollar sucked from office parties, growth, or your bottom line.

Benefits of Digital Receipt Management

It’s easy to see the costs that manual receipt management impose. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: digital receipt management.

In short, digital receipt management involves using digital copies of receipts in your expense reporting strategy. Digital smart receipts are easy – simply integrate them into your accounting software and let automation take you away.

But even physical sales receipts can be digitized, Pluto allows you to digitize your receipt very simply - through your phone. 

Incorporating such technology means that even paper receipts fold neatly into your overarching digital strategy.

And as you’ll see, the process comes with tons of benefits.

1. Increases Integration Potential

A massive benefit of digital tracking is the sheer integration potential. Most receipt management tools, from receipt scanning devices to receipt tracking software, easily mesh with your existing expense reports system.

From there, you can automate mindless tasks and set up occasional human checks to ensure the system works as intended.

2. Fewer Costly Errors

Another way that a digital receipt management program saves costs is by reducing employee errors. Digital receipts should meld seamlessly into your tracking system – no surprises there.

But even processing physical receipts is cheaper and easier.

With their mobile phones, employees can scan receipts and upload them instantly. From there, Pluto categorizes the information and adds it to the overall report.

While employees may spend a second filling in any blanks, increased automation greatly reduces the risk of input errors.

3. Reduces Risk of Fraud

Less human interference means your financial system is more resilient to fraudulent activities. Pluto improves speed and accuracy while digitizing the receipts.

That leaves fewer opportunities for fraudulent claims.

4. Reduces Clutter

Uploading physical receipts means less physical space is needed for storage. That can save you on storage costs and reduce desktop and file cabinet clutter.

And because everything’s digitally maintained, you’ll still meet or exceed your tax authority’s required financial record storage period. 

Not to mention, just finding your records will be easier than ever!

5. Easier Audits

No person or business enjoys tax season. But digital management makes the process at least a little easier. 

Because all of your information is stored online, it’s easier to access and export receipts as needed. 

When tax time or the dreaded audit comes around, your data will be well-organized and easily accessible.  

6. More Efficient Expense Reporting

Traditional receipt management is a costly, time-intensive, error-prone manual process that used to be necessary. With modern tools, businesses can streamline the entire financial structure of their organization.

No more lost receipts or worrying about fraud.

Less time spent inputting and double-checking data, and more time helping your business grow.

All these positive benefits will improve efficiency – and even bring smiles to your accountants’ faces.

7. Faster Reimbursements

Like using a virtual corporate card, digital receipt management speeds up the reimbursement process. 

Since everything is tracked and verified electronically, it’s easy to set up an automatic or streamlined reimbursement protocol.

8. Putting Your Eco-Friendly Foot Forward

Lastly, any step your business can take toward going paperless is good news for the environment. 

Cutting down fewer trees and reducing printer ink usage are laudable goals that can decrease your environmental footprint. 

Not only will you enjoy cost savings, but you’ll feel better about doing business in an increasingly eco-conscious world.

8 Tips for Efficient Receipt Management

Digitizing your receipt management strategy is just the first step toward expense report success. To ensure you’re operating at maximum efficiency, consider the following tips.

1. Use Pluto App

The first step is to get Pluto and start managing your spending digitally. 

While you’re moving toward digital efficiency, your vendors aren’t required to follow. Keeping the proper tech on hand ensures you can digitize any paper receipts that come your way.

Pluto allows you to take a picture of the receipt, upload it to your expense and just like that the reconciliation process is done!

2. Save Your Receipts

While you can set up secure digital folders to store all your digital originals and copies - Pluto does that for you! 

Just take a picture of the receipt, upload it to the app and that is it.  

3. Ensure High-Quality Digital Format Uploads

There’s no point in uploading and saving documents if you can’t read them. 

Before tossing your physical copies, make sure you can clearly read the essential information on each receipt. (Such as the company name, date, purchased item(s), and amount.)

4. Categorize Submitted Expenses

Take some time to categorize your expenses (most businesses do this in chronological order). Pluto helps you with that, but just make sure to check the right category so the reporting stays in top notch condition. 

5. Set Up a Simple Expense Report Strategy

Expense reporting is the backbone of any business’ financials. For prompt, complete reporting and tracking, ensure that you design a straightforward strategy. 

Same-day submissions, fewer Excel sheets, and faster reimbursement protocols will improve efficiency and attitudes. Better yet, invest in a quality expense and receipt management software.

Or even better - start with Pluto, we have a free package. It will allow you to completely digitize and control your spending, while keeping your reporting in the best possible shape. 

6. Establish Accountability

A top-notch expense reporting strategy only works if people use it.

To ensure your protocols are followed, emphasize and encourage accountability. Keep all managers and supervisors up-to-date with company spending and card policies and remind them to disseminate that information appropriately. Follow up with employee expenditures as needed.

7. Run Regular Internal Audits

Regular expense report audits help businesses track receipts fraud, clear up discrepancies, and streamline inefficiencies. 

Take time each month or quarter to check for fictitious or overblown expenses or troubles with your expense reporting strategy. 

Pluto allows you to run real-time reports at any given moment for any period of time.

8. Switch to Virtual Corporate Cards

Virtual corporate cards make managing receipt tracking even easier. Not only can you digitize the entire process end-to-end, but corporate p cards give you greater control over your expenditures and tracking.

Sure, you can’t prevent vendors from handing you physical receipts. But you can greatly minimize instances of employees walking in with a big stack of thermal paper to scan in.

Pluto offers unlimited virtual cards which will book all your expenses right into the dashboard!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper receipt management is key to running a financially successful business.
  • While manual receipt management reconciles physical copies, it’s increasingly unnecessary in an increasingly digital world.
  • Digital receipt management simplifies the collection, reconciliation, and storage process.
  • Digital tracking also reduces fraud potential, time and financial waste, and increases employee satisfaction.
  • Digitizing your expense reports pairs nicely with digitizing your own payments with virtual corporate cards.

5
All
Procurement
November 2, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Top 6 Procurement Software Solutions for Modern Businesses

The traditional procurement process is time-consuming, prone to errors, complex, and challenging to implement efficiently. From raising a purchase request to making vendor payments, multiple stakeholders are involved. In addition, securing approvals through various channels of an organization leads to chaos. Hence, 77% of companies are shifting to procure-to-pay solutions, also known as procurement software.

What is Procurement Software? 

Procurement software are tools that automate the procurement process

Instead of relying on multiple platforms and different channels to procure goods and services, the process is automated and brought together on a centralized platform. 

A powerful procurement solution helps you in:

  • streamlining the request and approval process for purchases
  • generating, tracking, and managing purchase orders
  • creating, negotiating, and tracking supplier contracts
  • managing and maintaining supplier relationships 
  • automating invoice validation, approval, and payment workflows
  • integrating with other systems for seamless data flow and coordination.
See a Demo

What Are the Benefits of Procurement Software? 

By automating your procurement process with a procurement management software, you can improve it in the following ways: 

  • Once you enter data, it is auto-populated throughout the procurement cycle. This minimizes the risk of errors due to manual data entry in purchase orders, invoices, and other documents.
  • You get real-time visibility into the procurement process. You can also track the status of purchase requests, orders, deliveries, and payments. 
  • With built-in reporting and analytics tools, you can generate detailed reports on spending, supplier performance, and other key metrics. This data-driven insight enables better inventory planning and strategic decision-making.
  • You can standardize workflows for purchase requisitions and approvals. Route the requests to the appropriate individuals for approval and reduce any delays. Notifications and reminders are automated, ensuring timely responses.
  • Invoice processing and payment workflows are automated. This ensures that invoices are paid on time. This helps in taking advantage of early payment discounts and strengthens vendor relationships. 

Top 6 Procurement Software 

To help you select the procurement management software best suited for the needs of your organization, we have listed the top 6 procurement solutions:

1. Pluto 

Procurement management software by Pluto

Pluto is an all-in-one procurement software designed to transform your accounts payable (AP) processes. It reduces your finance team's workload and makes procurement easy. From automating purchase requests to setting multi-layer approval workflows and managing vendors, it is the ultimate procurement solution to transform a chaotic procurement process into a faster and more efficient one. 

Key Features:

  • Features fully customizable and automated workflows for raising purchase requests and purchase orders, requiring no technical expertise
  • Offers flexible approval engine capable of managing intricate hierarchies
  • Enables multi-layer invoice approvals with policies to align with your company's structure
  • Ability to upload invoices easily via WhatsApp images, eliminating the need to search for invoice details. Also, facilitates invoice capture via emails directly to speed up the receipt capture process.
  • A centralized dashboard to gather bills in one place and track the status to avoid double payments
  • Vendor-specific corporate cards to control budgets and detect irrelevant expenses
  • Supports local and international wire transfers to make payments 
  • OCR technology minimizes manual data entry by creating and populating bills from invoices
  • Supports ERP integration to synchronize your vendors, POs, and bills and integrates with accounting software, such as Oracle, NetSuite, Zoho, Quickbooks, Wafeq, Xero, etc.
  • Raises alerts for upcoming payments and enables scheduling payments in advance and automate invoices 
  • Provides a complete audit trail of the process to ensure visibility at each step
  • Shows real-time analytics to facilitate deep insights for supporting budget control

Pricing:

Request the sales team for a custom quote

Pros:

  • More financial control with vendor-specific corporate cards 
  • Better Forex rates than most local banks 
  • Multiple integration options

Cons:

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

2. Yooz 

Procurement software by Yooz

Yooz optimizes the AP process, specifically focusing on invoice management. It is a cloud based software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to enhance security and control in AP automation. It is suitable for mid-size companies of all sectors wanting to automate procurement with a cloud-based procurement solution. 

Key Features:

  • Enables online, real-time management of supplier relationships, improving communication and collaboration
  • Provides mobile access for invoice approval and communication
  • Maintains regulation-compliant traceability, ensuring adherence to relevant laws and standards
  • Automates real-time GL coding and purchase order matching
  • Captures all types of documents through various channels, such as email, drag-and-drop, mobile, scan, and sFTP, supporting multiple formats, including PDF, Factur-X, UBL, CII, and EDIFACT
  • Integrates with accounting software and  and ERPs
  • Allows users to approve and pay invoices in batches, offering multiple payment options, such as Virtual Credit Card, ACH, eCheck, and Paper Check
  • Offers a range of services, including consulting, configuration, training, and user support

Pricing:

Free trial for up to 15 days followed by a "pay-as-you-use" model.

Pros:

  • Integration with Sage Intacct
  • Ability to tag people in the comments and email them directly from the invoice
  • Numerous criteria available for setting up the approval workflows

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t offer payment services in UAE, so you need to carry out payments on a different platform
  • Doesn't have integrations with major suppliers as a form of punchout
  • Time-consuming to download and export files
  • Hard for vendors to send the invoices through Yooz

3. Procurify

Procurify's Procurement software solution

Procurify speeds up the procurement process, enhances internal communication, and reduces financial risks. It is an easy-to-implement tool that saves time for finance and operations teams. From catalog management to custom user controls, it helps to track the procurement process in real-time. 

Key Features:

  • Tailors purchase orders to match your internal processes and vendor expectations
  • Creates, tracks, and maintains an audit trail of all procurement transactions for transparency and compliance.
  • Enhances financial controls by enabling purchase order-based purchasing
  • Ensures that requested items are approved against budgets before procurement.
  • Sync purchase orders with your accounting system or ERP, whether via API, CSV, flat file, or direct integration
  • Integrates with trusted suppliers through PunchOut catalogs to streamline the ordering process.
  • Enables blanket purchase orders, which involve making multiple purchases against a single purchase order, even when details of future purchases may be unknown.
  • Purchase order workflows to save on shipping costs, unlock vendor discounts, and reduce paperwork 

Pricing:

Starts at $2000/month with a custom pricing tier

Pros:

  • Easy to make amendments in the original purchase order
  • Enables ordering from multiple websites for resources, including Amazon
  • Makes it easy to upload documents to support expense and order reports

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer payment services in UAE, so you will need to carry out payments on a different platform
  • Isn’t catered to the UAE market, and does not support UAE specific workflows such as VAT management
  • Cannot edit orders once they are approved
  • Cannot see the order history for a catalog item without running a report
  • Physical inventory has to be tracked outside Procurify

4. Precoro

Procurement platform by Precoro

Precoro is a cloud-based solution designed to streamline operations, automate tasks, and centralize purchasing procedures. It enables tracking discounts, monitoring corporate expenses, and enhancing cash flow transparency. It also provides analytics and reports for strategic procurement planning.

Key Features:

  • Simplifies the approval by allowing users to approve from any device via email or Slack notifications. 
  • Supports customizable approval workflows with multi-step and role assignment
  • Facilitates creating, approving, and tracking purchase orders and transfer orders from Amazon Business via Punch-in
  • Connects with various ERPs and business tools like NetSuite, QuickBooks, and Xero, or its API
  • Ensures data security through Single Sign-On (SSO) and 2-factor authentication
  • Offers an intuitive interface and guidance from a dedicated customer success manager whenever needed
  • Gives a risk-free 14-day free trial with access to all features

Pricing:

Starts at $35 per user per month billed annually for teams with under 20 members and offers custom pricing for enterprises

Pros:

  1. Provides flexibility for enterprise needs
  2. Works well for budgeting procurement
  3. Allows tracking invoices in a centralized environment

Cons: 

  1. Requires training to customize complex workflows
  2. Invoice processing is slow
  3. Isn’t suitable for manufacturing industries
  4. Difficult to collaborate on invoice drafting

5. Kissflow

Procurement solution by Kissflow

Kissflow simplifies and enhances procurement processes while ensuring transparency and compliance. It helps to automate the entire process without requiring technical expertise or coding experience. It comes with 50+ ready-to-use applications, enabling unlimited automation applications.  

Key Features:

  • Offers fluid forms to enable easy capturing, approval, and tracking of purchase requests
  • Allows to register and maintain vendors effortlessly with access to multilingual catalogs
  • Integration with accounting systems, ERP, and finance systems like Quickbooks, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics 
  • Accelerates the invoice approval process with timely alerts and automated checks. Connect invoices to contracts, purchase orders, and service entry sheets in a single dashboard
  • Customizable reports to visualize data using charts, filters, and heatmaps
  • Ability to define and manage budget restrictions with dynamic rules throughout the entire procure-to-pay lifecycle
  • Customized approval workflows to ensure transparency with rule-based approval processes
  • Smart alerts that provide real-time updates on the status of purchase orders and invoices to keep stakeholders informed 

Pricing:

Starts at $2499/month (billed annually). Pricing varies based on transaction volume and number of users.

Pros: 

  • Intuitive interface with a relatively short learning curve
  • Allows automated workflows to be created with limited technical expertise

Cons:

  • Not built specifically for procurement teams
  • Does not support payment flows in UAE
  • Cost of its license is high (particularly for SMBs)
  • Can not handle intricate processes that require a high degree of customization or involve multiple conditional branches
  • Customization options are limited, including specific integrations, advanced business rules, or more sophisticated automation capabilities

6. Vendr

Procurement management software by Vendr

Vendr is a practical solution for streamlining SaaS procurement. It simplifies the entire process, from intake requests to contract management. It provides essential SaaS insights, negotiates expert advice, and integrates with core business tools for procurement and vendor management. 

Key Features:

  • Buyer guides to provide negotiation insights and gain the upper hand in software purchases
  • Negotiation advisory to provide personalized guidance on negotiating like a pro and enter negotiations with confidence
  • Simplified intake forms to ensure company-wide compliance and visibility
  • Integration with different accounting and finance tools, such as Oracle, NetSuite, Intuit, Quickbooks. 
  • Integrates with platforms like Rippling Workday to include correct stakeholders. Additional integration with SSO providers such as onelogin.
  • Comprehensive renewal dashboard to receive early alerts and streamline the renewal preparation process to maximize savings.
  • Vendr Slack integration for quick answers and timely notifications to collaborate in real time with your team, minimizing approval cycle times

Pricing:

There are 2 packages—the basic one starts at $15,000/year and the pro package starts at $20,000/year.

Pros:

  • Offers assisted buying with a team who negotiates on your behalf
  • Comprehensive database of vendors in one place
  • Helps standardize procurement workflow 
  • Provides insights about fair market value 

Cons:

  • Restricted to SaaS procurement only 
  • Multilingual services are limited 
  • Navigating multiple workflows is not as fluid as desired
  • Doesn't support multiple currencies 

Find the Right Procurement Software 

When choosing procurement software, focus on user-friendliness, scalability, and integration capabilities. Make sure the software aligns with your specific needs.

Finding the right software for accounts payable automation will be crucial for your business. For instance, if you frequently deal with multiple suppliers and have a complex approval process, ensure the software can accommodate these intricacies. Similarly, if you're in the healthcare industry, look for procurement software that complies with industry regulations like UAE Healthcare Law and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) regulations. This ensures the privacy and security of patient data and adheres to local data protection standards. Moreover, check if the vendor offers active support and training. In case of a technical issue, having an unresponsive support team can disrupt the process and create bottlenecks.

Don't rush the decision. Thoroughly evaluate multiple options. Investing in an appropriate solution will save you money and headaches in the long run.

Want a tool that is safe, fast, and transforms your chaotic procurement process into an automated solution? Book a demo today and see how Pluto can simplify procurement for your team.

Disclaimer: The comparisons and rankings of procurement 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.