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10 Reasons You Should Invest in Switching to Online Purchase Orders

B2B Tech Business Spend Control

 Purchase orders (POs) have been playing an important role in controlling business purchases throughout the world for decades, and as technology has advanced, POs have evolved too, with online POs now becoming best practice.

 In this post we will cover the top 10 reasons you should invest in online purchase orders and online systems that allow you to control spend in a much safer and more effective way:

  1. Everything in one place, accessible from anywhere in the world, in real time– The main problem with standard paper or Excel POs is the lack of organization and the speed with which they move through the purchasing process. POs performed offline have no real visibility until it returns to the originating buyer. Any changes or adjustments are therefore contingent on the speed with which the paper/email document moves through the chain.

    With online purchase orders, everything is visible in real time and can be accessed by multiple people in the chain at the same time.  
  1. Approvals can happen a lot faster– By having all purchase orders online, POs can move quicker through different approval levels. By removing the need to return the PO to the originating buyer, the online PO can be automatically sent to the supplier as soon as it's received final approval. 

    Online notifications speed things up even further by alerting approvers of online POs ready and pending their approval. Because everything is handled online and in real time, approvals can be handled on the go, even from a mobile device. We have many clients who approve purchases whilst on the train travelling into work or before boarding a flight. 
  1. Online POs save time –By loading and using PO templates or organising standing orders and recurring POs, staff time spent on the admin of raising manual POs from scratch is dramatically reduced and a consistent client service can be provided. Through online notifications and automated actions, the buying process becomes a smooth operation that can be handled on the go, from anywhere.
  2. Online vendor management– By on-boarding and managing all suppliers online, a business can easily update, manage or even source suppliers to match their needs. Accessing supplier catalogues online to match your bespoke price list and limiting access to the product list by company role enables spend control in real time across the business.  The days of thumbing through paper catalogues or scrolling through a never-ending list of products for the right item are gone! Having the ability to review suppliers price, engagement, service & satisfaction levels against market standards is also an option using when taking your PO process online. Businesses can therefore easily take action when a supplier is under performing without having to embark on a costly audit of their supplier base against market standards.
  1. More transparency– Switching to online purchase orders on an online spend control platform, gives you access to insights and actionable intelligence typically hard to come by in manual, offline environments. Using AI to track, analyse and report purchase data, the decisions your business makes can be timely and always fully informed.  By tracking everything in real time, you are always in the know when it comes to the health of your business.
  2. Help managing budgets– Once an online purchase order is accepted by a supplier, the value comes off the budget of the issuing department. By managing budgets in real time, all departments (and the business as a whole) is aware of what is being spent. Being in control of spend as it happens and automating budget management, unauthorised and uncontrolled spend can be eradicated, saving hundreds of thousands in misspent funds every quarter.
  3. Order status at a glance– Tracking the full journey of an online PO enables timely status updates. When a supplier is unable to deliver an item/full order, the status of your online PO will reflect this so other arrangements can be made. No more surprises, short deliveries catching you off guard and disrupting normal service.
  4. A vital part of audit trails–  Goods and services coming in and payments going out are what auditors are interested in when looking for anomalies. Tracking all purchasing activity online is a clear system of record that will enable auditors to inspect the full process in half the time needed in manual audits. 
  5. Protect from fraud- By maintaining an online system of record of all purchasing data, you are in effect protecting your company from fraud. No offline processes can take place without your knowledge and any fraudulent financial activity can be prevented or at the very least, flagged as soon as it occurs. 
  6. Help evaluate staffBecause all activity for each user is recorded online, businesses can assess staff performance, engagement levels and even match any discrepancies/anomalies in spend with certain members of staff. By tracking all user activity, you can not only prevent any staff fraud but also reward productive/hard working members of the team based on clear data.

So there you have it, the 10 reasons you should invest in switching to an online purchase order process. By leveraging automation and the power of online records, you can not only maintain a clear and transparent system or record but benefit from a system of intelligence as well. Ensuring you work with the right suppliers, sticking to budgets and protecting from fraud are key to a healthy and profitable business.  

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