Procurement software allows you to issue purchase orders (POs) for services and products by tracking all key order info in real-time including: the vendor, purchase quantities, item or service purchased, delivery timeframes, payment terms, and costs.
Also known as e-procurement or purchase order software, you can ensure every order your company makes is legitimate, authorized, and trackable. And by linking your procurement solution to inventory control, you can access exact real-time stock quantities, movement history, seasonal trends, and supplier lead times.
The most popular, cloud-based e-procurements platforms are made up of varying functionalities to improve your purchasing workflow, such as:
|PO creation and tracking||Use templates to create purchasing documentation for both internal tracking purposes and communication with suppliers; use reporting data for order management|
|Requisitions and approvals management||Requisition systems improve cost control efforts by formalizing a purchase review process|
|PO/invoice processing||Automated tools assist in the matching of vendor issued invoices to the corresponding procurement order provide an important cost control safeguard|
|Receiving management||Receiving management functionality provides tools for verifying that goods have been properly resolved and puts in place workflows that allow for the timely resolution of instances where items are not received on time, in proper condition, or at all|
|Supplier management||Vendor database functionalities allow for the tracking of payment and service terms alongside vendor order histories|
|Automatic or recurring purchase orders||Support for recurring purchases enables the creation of procurement orders in the future when particular conditions have been met and provides a means of significantly decreasing the labor associated with authorizing purchasing events|
Is your supply chain as efficient and accurate as you’d like? Without procurement software, you may be missing an opportunity to ensure faster delivery times, economies of scale, better efficiency, and lower overall costs. Critical supply chain benefits enabled by e-procurement software include:
Most people wouldn’t enter into a legal agreement without a contract to protect their interests. Utilizing procurement software allows you to identify instances where your purchase orders haven’t been properly fulfilled. In addition to promoting organization and efficiency, accurate procurement records provide the documentation you need for recourse if your expectations as a buyer are not met.
Cloud-based procurement solutions allow you to effectively and consistently manage your purchasing processes. Each order you create is automatically added to the database for future reference. Automation also allows you to streamline the task of creating orders. It’s easy to overlook how much time this can save you. Setting up required fields lets you know that each order contains trackable information on the vendor, items purchased, quantities, delivery instructions, terms, originating buyer, and costs.
Procurement software adds security and accountability to your ordering processes. Rules can be created authorizing who on your procurement team can make purchases. Centralized purchasing records with spend analysis tools let you track any purchase your company has made. You can ensure that each order is legitimate, accurate, and authorized. Comparing vendor invoices to your own documentation enables you to eliminate vendor payment errors before cutting the check.
Automating purchase order creation is also an effective way to meet customer demands along the supply chain. Integrating a user-friendly module with inventory management allows you to do away with the inexact and error-prone practice of “eyeballing the shelves.” By linking your purchase order application to your inventory control application, you will have real-time access to your exact stock quantities, movement history, seasonal trends, and supplier lead times.
The cost of e-procurement software starts between $11 to $35 per month per user. This is for cloud-based solutions with SaaS or subscription-based pricing models. Generally included in the monthly costs are services offered by the vendor, such as ongoing support.
The total price for software will depend on how many users need access and what level of access they need. For example, an administrative user will receive the purchase requests from employees, create and send the purchase orders to the vendors, and coordinate the accounting involved with tracking these expenses in the budget. A “simple user” may be a staff member who just needs the ability to submit a purchase request. This could include an employee on the inventory floor who notices the company running low on a commonly used item.
There are on-premise options as well, with one-time perpetual licenses ranging between $3,000 and $500,000. These procurement management solutions will be owned by the company purchasing them, and thus have no ongoing subscription-costs. As such, purchasing software directly can actually save your company money over time. There may be ongoing costs for support or annual updates to the software.
Procurement often overlaps with other business elements, such as budgeting. In fact, many companies rely on enterprise resource planning (ERP) or supply chain management solutions to simplify their procurement. Each offers many ways to streamline business processes, yet do not fully focus on the complexities of purchasing.
Depending on what functionality needs your business has, you may be looking for:
What is the difference between procurement software and the rest? Many software vendors may interchange the names, or consider their software to fall under two or more types. While similar in functionality, they all can serve a distinct purpose, which makes it important to know what your business needs. If you’re not sure, ask for a free software recommendation from our experts.
Purchase orders are the financial documents issued to vendors when you’re buying suppliers or services. Purchase orders are the core of every procurement software and procure-to-pay software. Purchase order (PO) software helps automate the creation of these documents.
While it’s true that every procurement software can create purchase orders, every purchase order software will not have a procurement process built right in. Due to this, PO solutions may be considered more simplistic in nature than a procurement system.
Some PO software will have an approval and requisition process, which in turn includes procurement processes. This is why people and businesses may commonly interchange the names together.
A procure to pay software manages all aspects of the procurement process for a business, which includes requisitions, purchasing, receiving, paying, and proper accounting for received goods and services. There is little difference between a procurement software and this software, as they both provide the necessary functionalities needed to manage a procurement process.
It can be argued a procure to pay software is more of an “end to end” solution that goes a step further than an e-procurement software, as it manages supply chain management practices company-wide. This is because procure to pay software is known as the link between the purchasing department and the accounts payable department. This link can provide spend analysis on the buying habits of your company, which will lead to improved cash-flow.
While QuickBooks products (such as QuickBooks Online) are popular for handling most accounting tasks a business needs, purchase requisition and purchase approval workflow functionality are not built into the base package. It also does not include vendor catalogs, supplier performance tracking, and budgets and spending plans related to the purchasing of a company.
For some businesses, the PO functionality offered by QuickBooks will meet their needs. For others, third-party add-ons are available, which let you continue to use QuickBooks as your primary accounting software, while enjoying added tools for procurement and spend management.