While running your business, you’ve no doubt realized that the more goals you reach, the more growing pains you experience.
Those pain points are especially noticeable in purchasing. When you started your business, you probably purchased goods and services from vendors and suppliers through a straightforward but potentially tedious process.
But now, maybe you have more employees and one too many meetings on your schedule — and your purchasing needs are becoming increasingly complex.
Your purchase order process might consist of numerous purchase requisitions and purchase orders that have to go through several rounds of approvals. Instead of getting you what you need fast, your purchasing order system might take too much time for both you and your team.
If that’s the case, it’s time to upgrade to purchase order software.
Best purchase order software programs
The benefits of purchase order software
Streamlining your purchase order workflows with software can have a huge impact on your business. Here are some of the ways it helps.
The drawbacks of manually processing hard-copy purchase orders are basically the inverse of purchase order software benefits. The most obvious downside is that paper costs more. And having to circulate and file multiple copies of forms while purchase approvals languish in emails only increases labor costs.
If you’re using a manual approval process, you may be spending over $500 per purchase order just on processing, according to the American Productivity & Quality Center. Software, on the other hand, digitizes the necessary paperwork — such as vendor contracts, receipts, and corrected purchase orders — eliminating the clutter and cost of paper.
While you’re focused on reducing labor costs, you also need to make sure you’re making life as easy as possible for your employees. When they don’t spend their time on repetitive, mundane tasks, they’re able to use their talents to focus on higher-level issues.
When you add purchase order software to your office toolkit, a small staff becomes more powerful, and a large staff is more efficient.
Have you ever found a typo in a report you went over five times? Software guards against human error, ridding you of the mistakes that plague manual processes. With software, you can easily cross-reference your expense budget and purchases and better communicate with your accounting department when issues arise.
Improved compliance and accuracy
A digital audit trail is more manageable (not to mention sustainable) than a physical one. If you need to reference a past purchase order, compare current and past prices, and ensure that you’re ready for audits, all it requires is a few clicks. (Compare that to rummaging through a filing cabinet for hours.)
Plus, you can more easily analyze spending trends, which is nearly impossible to do when you have to manually input those numbers into a spreadsheet.
You can also match purchase orders with invoices nearly instantly to confirm the accuracy of incoming orders and bank statements. Traditional three-way matching happens electronically and instantly. Plus, there’s little risk of fraud when your software records every action, approval, and rejection.
The best purchase order software for you
When you invest in software, you give yourself the time you need to make your business stronger and better. To get started, here are some popular purchase order software options.
Trusted by companies such as Hugo Boss and SoulCycle, this New York-based company promises to take care of everything related to purchasing. This platform covers order placement and vendor management to speed up purchasing as well as purchase order creation and invoice payments.
Negotiatus customers also take advantage of its vast network of partner vendors — including Office Depot, Costco, Best Buy, and Amazon — to save plenty of cash.
Free? Yes, free. Canadian company SpendMap is behind the Free-Procurement Project. Used in more than 100 countries, the program allows users to manage purchase order forms and match them with receipts, but it’s still nimble enough for those just starting in procurement.
Users can also email these forms to vendors through the software. Plus, it comes with free support and budget-tracking capabilities.
The paid version of SpendMap, which is a web-based system, may be well worth the cost for growing companies, as it allows for inventory tracking, automated approval routing, and invoice approval.
This program promises to create transparent processes that save businesses money, making it easy to keep employees accountable for their requisitions and purchases.
The platform is known for being easy to use, even for those not familiar with purchase order software — and users can approve purchases via mobile app or email. Plus, it’s flexible enough for a wide variety of industries, allowing managers to comment on purchase orders during approvals and allocate expenses across departments to stay on budget.
This program gives businesses flexibility in all things procurement. Besides generating purchase orders and delivery receipts, the program facilitates the approval process with the option to create unique workflows for different expense types.
Approvers can review purchase order requests through email, a mobile app, or Slack. ProcureDesk also integrates with accounting software like QuickBooks to sync purchase data with finance departments, and personalized catalogs make the requisition process faster.
Proqura houses all communication with suppliers, including negotiations, in one place. You can query vendors, compare bids, send purchase orders, and process invoices without ever leaving the platform.
This cloud-based solution is ideal for remote workers, and users can customize catalogs to compare prices. Managers also appreciate the ability to create reports, build approval workflows, and view audit trails.
A flexible purchase order software solution used by companies such as GE and Samsonite, Pipefy’s power lies in its integrations with a wide variety of workflow, communication, and accounting programs.
Pipefy emphasizes improving return on investment through efficient workflows. It also offers purchase request tracking as well as customizable dashboards that deliver all the data you want in one view.
Customers in countries around the world use this award-winning, cloud-based platform to process billions in spending. An inclusive program for all things business expenses, Procurify offers automatic, three-way matching and aligns purchase orders to invoices.
Users can customize approvals with mobile, email, and Slack notifications, use physical or virtual spending cards, search past orders, view spending charts, and manage vendors. Plus, Procurify connects to Slack, QuickBooks, and Amazon Business PunchOut.
More than 1,000 organizations — including Habitat for Humanity and Michigan State University — use this cloud-based program to manage a wide array of purchasing tasks. Basic functions include managing purchase requisitions and quotes with an automatic workflow.
Users can also restrict shopping to approved vendors via in-platform catalogs and view spending across various categories. Another bonus of Fraxion is that it allows managers to easily implement their expense policies with customized alerts on noncompliant actions.
Advertised as a popular vendor management program for small to midsize businesses, Precoro offers multiple features as well as integrations with accounting software such as NetSuite and Xero.
Besides its robust budget management and approval workflow features, Precoro helps businesses that manage product inventory. Managers can stay on top of inventory needs not only with supplier lists and reports but also with the ability to track and update stock items.
The ultimate choice in flexibility is Jotform Approvals. From building your own purchase orders to assigning approvers, this digital solution covers all aspects of your purchasing approval process.
You can create a workflow in minutes, modify it through a drag-and-drop interface, add notifications and if-then conditions, and track approvals through Jotform Inbox or on the go with the Jotform Mobile Forms app. It all starts with Jotform’s dozens of purchase order form templates, which users can customize with a wide variety of integrations. Best of all, it’s free.