How to Choose the Best Procurement Software
Investing in a new procurement system is a big commitment.
You’ll need to do a lot of research to find a solution that’s right for your company’s unique needs. And when you google “procurement software”, the first thing you’ll see is the overwhelming number of options to compare on review platforms like G2 or Capterra.
Here are 14 of the most important things to assess before you choose the best procurement software for your organization.
- Mobile Accessibility
- Ease of Use
- Integrations with ERP/Accounting Systems
- Fast Onboarding and Implementation
- Customer Support
- Supports the Entire Procure-to-Pay Cycle
- Fast, customized approval workflows
- Real-Time Budget Tracking
- Spend Insights and Reporting
- Digital Audit Trails
- Three-Way Matching
- Expense Management
- Vendor Management Capabilities
- Operational Efficiencies
What is Procurement Software and Why Does it Matter?
Automating procurement tasks and optimizing the procure-to-pay cycle can save a business huge amounts of money and time. But it’s impossible to access those benefits with an outdated approach to procurement. If you’re still using paper-based systems or excel spreadsheets to run your procurement process, we’re here to give you some real talk.
Procurement software is important because it gives companies the tools and insights they need to effectively track, manage, and analyze their spending. Procurement teams can use the software to centralize all purchasing information, manage the procure-to-pay cycle, and control spend. Business leaders and teams across the organization can also use the software to do their own purchasing and access key data that improves profitability and drives growth.
1. Mobile Accessibility
Remote procurement is the way of the future—not just for procurement teams, but for employees, too. Everyone in your company will save a lot of time if your procurement software comes with a mobile app that lets you:
- Request, approve, and receive purchases on the fly
- Use push notifications to speed up the approval process
- Snap and save images of receipts and packing slips using a mobile device
- View budgets and set approval thresholds to keep departments within their spending limits
Learn More: Procurify’s Mobile App
2. Ease of Use
Nobody likes struggling with software that’s hard to use. Before you invest in a procurement solution, check how easy it is to use for every end user in your company.
Sign up for a free trial and do a walkthrough of your company’s procurement process. Do all of the steps make sense to you right off the bat? Are the software prompts and buttons written in plain language that anyone could easily understand? How user-friendly is the mobile friendly app?
3. Integrations with Accounting Systems
A good procurement platform will enhance your existing financial stack and play well with any other software you’re already using.
So, before you invest, ask the following questions:
- Does it integrate with my core accounting/ERP system, such as NetSuite or QuickBooks Online?
- Do my accounting/ERP platforms have a vendor of choice for procurement software?
- Does it offer an AP module or an AP integration with my accounting system?
- How do I use this procurement platform in conjunction with the other fintech tools we’re currently using?
- Does it integrate with any other systems that we already use? (e.g. Slack)
Read More: 7 Questions to Consider When Building a Fintech Stack
4. Fast Onboarding and Implementation
You don’t want any downtime while you’re onboarding to a new procurement platform, so look for software that you can switch to quickly and start using immediately.
Tell-tale signs that a procurement system is easy to set up include:
- Quick data onboarding process (this should only take a matter of days)
- Clear onboarding materials and user onboarding process (ask to see examples of onboarding and training support)
- Quick training time (hours or days, not weeks or months)
- Testimonials and reviews from current customers and case studies that indicate ease of use and effortless onboarding
5. Customer Support
When you need some help with the software, can you call an account manager or chat with customer support online? Check each software provider’s website and online reviews such as G2 and Capterra to assess the quality of customer support they provide.
Keep an eye out for things like:
- 24/5 or 24/7 customer support
- A dedicated onboarding team, individual, and onboarding process to help you get up and running with the software
- An online knowledge base or help center that’s active and updated regularly
6. Supports the Entire Procure-to-Pay Cycle
This should go without saying. But if a procurement software can’t handle all of the functions in the procure-to-pay cycle, it’s not worth your time.
Make sure your procurement software can help you with everything from:
- Identifying what your company needs to buy
- Creating and submitting purchase requests
- Assessing, choosing, and managing vendors
- Creating and submitting purchase orders
- Three-way matching
- Invoice approval
- Purchasing and receiving
- Payment integrations
- Recordkeeping by way of a digital audit trail
- Metrics and spend analytics
Read More: Procurement Process 101: The Stages in the Procurement Process.
7. Fast, customized approval workflows
One of the benefits of investing in procurement software is to move away from paper-based approvals and excel spreadsheets. Faster purchase approval processes save everybody time. And who doesn’t love more time?
The best procurement software will help you customize your approval workflows by dollar thresholds, users, departments, and locations, and speed up the approval process in your organization.
8. Real-Time Budget Tracking
With paper-based and manual procurement systems, it’s impossible to get a real-time understanding of how your procurement activities are impacting your budgets and your bottom line.
Make sure your e-procurement software can give you a real-time understanding of:
- What portion of your budget has already been spent
- Any spending that’s been approved but not yet spent
- What’s left in the budget
Having this real-time spend data on hand before you approve a purchase request can help you see how items will affect a specific budget before approving, make informed purchasing decisions, and align spending to company goals.
Read More: Why Companies Need Spend Management: 7 Business Benefits.
9. Spend Insights and Reporting
It’s important to control business spending during an economic crisis.
Check that the procurement system you’re considering can deliver the key insights and reports you need to analyze company spend, achieve your company’s procurement KPIs, and make data-driven decisions that drive efficiencies and growth.
Bare minimum, you’ll want a procurement software that can show you:
- Who is spending money
- Which departments are spending the most on orders or expenses
- What is being purchased throughout the company
- Analytics about vendors
10. Digital Audit Trails
Because procurement software captures and records the change history for all of your company’s purchasing documents, it gives you digital audit trails that can help you deal with any internal or external audit.
To assess whether a procurement software can help you during an audit, check that it can:
- Track the order of approvers for every purchase in the company
- Keep a full history of edits that you can go back and view at any time
- Show you exactly who requested, approved, purchased, and received for any item
11. Three-Way Matching
Purchasing and payment discrepancies can put a huge dent in company profits. Any procurement software worth using will help you prevent these discrepancies before they turn into problems with three-way matching.
With three-way matching, your accounting department and AP team can pay for things with confidence without having to chase someone down for supporting documentation. Without it, well… we suggest you upgrade to a better procurement solution.
12. Expense Management
A robust procurement platform can help you track and control the messier aspects of company spending from employees that happens on credit cards (company cards, and personal cards).
Before you invest in a procurement solution, make sure that it can help you with expense management. Look for credit card reconciliation tools and the ability to upload paper receipts and credit card statements into the software.
13. Vendor Management Capabilities
Better supplier relations means better outcomes for your company (discounted bulk pricing, higher quality service, etc). So you’ll want to invest in procurement software that can help with vendor management.
Check that your procurement platform can help you:
- Manage your vendors in one place
- Track vendor performance and know if goods were received in a timely manner
- Measure vendors against the metrics that matter most—speed, quality, accuracy, and price
- Streamline vendor communication
- Create catalogs to help employees order the right things from approved vendors at the best prices
14. Operational Efficiencies
Procurement software can drive a range of operational efficiencies throughout a company.
Things like faster workflows, mobile functionality, and helpful automation can save companies huge amounts of time and money, and help teams make smarter decisions that drive growth and improve the bottom line.
To assess whether a procurement software will make things more (or less) efficient for your organization, consider the following questions:
- Will this software speed up our cycle times?
- How will each team or department use this platform, and how much time will it save them?
- How much spend could it help us manage?
Ready to Purchase Procurement Software?
If you’re doing some research to find the best procurement software for your company, book a free personalized demo with our team.
We’d be happy to chat through your biggest procurement challenges and discuss how the features, reports, and insights inside Procurify can help.