Procurement and purchasing are crucial processes for every company. Besides acquiring products and services that are critical to core and support departments, these processes involve several activities, such as:
- Request management. Receiving and processing purchase requests from colleagues and employees can be hard when they come from different channels and don’t contain the complete information the team needs to start the procurement process.
- Supplier management. Asking for budgets, researching the highest quality products and services, and track pricing are among the finance team’s responsibilities. This management is vital for maintaining a good relationship with suppliers, crucial to the company’s success.
- Spend management. Planning and tracking spend also fall under the finance team’s umbrella. The company needs to follow the planned budget and avoid waste, so enforcing its policies is also part of the purchasing department’s responsibilities.
- Accounts payable workflows. AP workflows are an essential part of procurement and purchasing operations. These workflows involve invoice matching, making payments, managing the accounting system, and ensuring that the company meets financial responsibilities on time.
There are many workflows to manage, and mistakes could cost significant amounts of money or cause bottlenecks in other departments. That is why technology and automation are allies to finance teams that need to streamline and optimize those processes.
In this article, you’ll read about what a purchase order software is, what to look for, and why you should consider digitalizing your purchasing processes.
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What is purchase order software?
A purchase order management software is a tool that helps finance teams organize, execute, and monitor their workflows for streamlined, automated, and seamless procurement and purchasing processes. Usually, software like that has features such as automation, customizable forms, integrations to other tools, and much more. Frequently, they are cloud-based solutions, so you don’t have to worry about security and on-premise servers.
Implementing an e-procurement software and purchasing platform can be a game-changer for your company. If your team struggles with bottlenecks, errors, and missed deadlines, it’s time to consider a solution like this.
5 best purchase order software
Pipefy is low-code business process automation (BPA) software that balances the business team’s need for agility with the IT team’s needs for control and visibility. Purchasing teams can easily visualize, build, and automate their workflows and processes using an intuitive user interface. IT teams benefit from process standardization, which simplifies security and compliance enforcement while reducing dependence on shadow IT.
Approval flows, data capture, and notifications can be automated to improve speed, manage deadlines, and avoid errors. Forms and e-signatures provide a secure avenue for external stakeholders, while built-in reporting features help teams track progress and identify bottlenecks.
Pipefy is highly customizable and adaptable — two important features that deliver stack extensibility through integrations with accounting and ERP software — and helps teams get more from their existing apps. Dissolve data silos and automate tasks and workflows to create a seamless end-to-end purchasing experience. Best of all, Pipefy can be used to manage any type of business process.
Additional benefits include forms and portals for digitizing and centralizing documentation, customizable databases for supplier management, in-platform communication, and audit tracking.
Kissflow Procurement Cloud is a low-code/no-code (LC/NC) work platform that allows users to design custom apps and digitize processes with minimal coding. Features include automated workflows and forms, project and case boards, collaboration tools, analytics, and integrations.
Procurify is a cloud-based procurement and purchasing software solution that helps users control, track, and manage their purchasing process. Features include customizable approvals, in-platform communication, audit tracking, analytics and reporting, and accounting and ERP integrations.
Quickbooks is cloud-based accounting software. Features include creating purchase orders, automatically converting purchase orders to bills, payment processing, and tracking, and a vendor management dashboard.
Xero is an online accounting software platform that works as a bridge between businesses and their banks, accounting tools, their accountant, payment services, and third-party apps. Additional features include automated data entry, financial reporting, and real-time data dashboards.
Benefits of using a purchase management solution
Eliminate repetition and errors through automation.
A purchasing process software is a perfect tool to automate finance department workflows. Automation is functionality that works in an if/then logic. If one action occurs, then another one happens automatically.
Therefore, you can create rules to optimize purchase approval flows, send automatic messages to suppliers, notify your team members when there is a specific task they need to do, sort the workload, and much more. All you need is to configure the automation rule once, and you don’t need to think about these details and activities anymore.
Automation eliminates repetitive work, decreases the likelihood of human errors, and frees up your team to work on strategic and more meaningful tasks.
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Digitize your financial operations for better control.
PO software enables you to digitalize your entire financial operation. Purchase orders, contract management, and budgets; when they are all in one place, it is easier to save and search for your data. In addition to creating an audit trail documentation, you will easily monitor the budget and share your team’s results.
You can create a digital purchase order form with all the information needed to make the purchase and share it with your team members, employees, and other stakeholders. Thus, you will have everything you need to start the procurement and purchase process without exchanging several messages with people for more details.
Besides, structured phases and automation will help the finance team execute all of the process details in a streamlined, hassle-free manner. Once you digitalize your finance operation, you don’t need to worry about losing information and frees up your team’s time to work on strategic tasks instead of filing paperwork.
Speed up the approval process.
The purchase order process is often delayed due to a complicated approval process and lack of communication between those involved. These delays create bottlenecks that can harm the entire operation of your company.
By adding software to the process, you can create a clear workflow from the purchase order to approval and invoicing. It’s possible to adjust rules so that an order is automatically approved, set a minimum price when they need to be analyzed, and ultimately notify the person responsible for each analysis.
The software also allows you to send automatic notifications to the approver, so your team doesn’t miss anything, even with a busy schedule.
Simplify request management.
As mentioned before, receiving and processing purchase requests can be tricky, especially when you get a significant amount of them, and they come from different channels, without complete information. PO software that has good request capabilities can help you with request management.
The ability to easily create an online form to collect all the information necessary to start the process, automated data entry on specific cases, and good visibility of all requests are examples of features that help manage a large number of orders.
The software will also help the finance team to communicate better, both internally and with other departments. If the software you choose enables communication within it, you can assign those responsible for specific tasks and exchange messages related to those tasks in a simple way.
You can also improve the relationship with suppliers by leveraging automatic notifications, the software database, and an efficient workflow that allows the team to pay invoices on time.
Due to automation rules and self-service portals, it is much easier to communicate and implement rules and procedures.
Gain real-time spend visibility.
When you register all purchase orders in one place, you can track spending in real-time. A purchase order software ensures that orders are on schedule and enables you to redistribute your resources, if necessary.
It can be a nightmare when finance accounts don’t close at the end of the month. Use PO software to quickly analyze and report your results by leveraging the information recorded and extracted in the software.
Identify bottlenecks faster.
Digitizing your procurement and purchasing processes will also help you better track them and identify what makes them less effective and may be holding you back.
By structuring your workflows in a tool that allows you to see each step of the process, you can also easily extract data, and analyze where resources are going and how long each activity takes in each phase.
When to consider using purchasing software
All major market players are investing in digital transformation and structured workflows to increase their operational efficiency. But a few signs that you should start considering using a purchase order software include:
- The process is not working correctly, but you are unable to identify the bottleneck.
- Human errors are impacting your operation or relationship with customers.
- A slow approval process for purchases is becoming a bottleneck for other departments as well.
- Constant delays in payments are resulting in fines and a problematic relationship with suppliers.
- Your company’s supply chain management needs improvements.
- Leadership feels that the finance department needs to improve spending control.
- To improve effectiveness and the company’s results, you need to enhance collaboration between team members.
Improve your purchase order process with Pipefy
Pipefy is a low-code automation software solution that helps you streamline and automate your procurement process and purchase order workflows for better process efficiency and long-term cost savings.
Pipefy allows you to orchestrate all of your work from a single platform. Plus, easily integrate Pipefy with your other accounting software, ERP systems, and inventory management tools, such as SAP, Oracle, Quickbooks, and more, for seamless end-to-end visibility. With Pipefy, you can improve the way you manage:
|Requests||By leveraging customizable and shareable forms, self-service portals, and purchase requisition capabilities, request management will be more comfortable and practical. Pipefy also has a request tracker feature that allows requesters to track their order’s status. This way, your team has full request visibility, receives all of them in one place, and won’t have to follow up with every requester manually.|
|Execution||Visibility, communication, and collaboration between your team members increase when you use Pipefy. Features such as automation and databases to store supplier information are also extremely valuable to enhance finance teams’ efficiency.|
|Reporting||Pipefy’s dashboards help you track spending and stay on budget. You can easily extract data to inform and show your team’s results. Also, reporting capabilities allow you to identify bottlenecks and continually improve your processes for greater efficiency and productivity.|