The Truth About Paper Purchase Orders
The Dangers of Relying on A Paper Trail
Running a business, with all of its hassles; dealing with vendors, customers, payroll and other administrative tasks, there is a sense of mild satisfaction that comes with having a tangible record of your outgoing expenses. This is probably why paper purchase orders have endured for as long as they have, in the face of constantly evolving spending management solutions on the market. Paper purchases orders are right there and ‘real’, in the sense that you need not to operate a mouse and keyboard to generate and reference them.
However, the illusionary comfort we get from this tangibility means sacrificing key components of running a viable business—time, efficiency, and fraud prevention. The following are some of the dangers you exposed your company to, by relying wholly on paper purchase orders for your day-to-day operations.
Leaving Yourself Exposed To Human Errors
As much as we want to trust our long-time accountant or the eagle-eyed purchase manager on the first floor, human error creeps in at the most inopportune time. The stress of work, personal affairs, a slight lapse in concentration, poor vision, among a few, are some of the factors that can cause inaccurate recording of transactions.
Depending on the nature of your business operations, even a slight mix up in numbers—moving a comma, adding/removing a zero—can lead to as little as a slight hiccup in processing, to triggering a significant financial crisis.
As hard as we try, human error is ever-present, and it is up to you to take steps to keep this at the minimum at worst. The use of a purchase order software, at this point, is a necessity, rather than a suggestion.
A Lack of Automation is An Invite To Fraudsters
Like the postal service, it takes quite a while for paper purchase orders to get sorted, organized and balanced. In this inefficient vacuum in operations, fraudsters see, and often take, an opportunity to exploit your business. The instantaneous verification and cross-referencing feature of an automated order purchase solution act as a deterrent to fraud, but without this check in place, anarchy is in play.
It is easy to live in a fantasy where all your employees and suppliers are trustworthy members of your long-term success story. History and experience show otherwise. Duplicated orders, discrepancies in contract figures, and forged signatures are entirely commonplace—in fact, an expected byproduct of over reliance on tracking orders solely via a paper trail.
Missed Deadlines and Failed Orders
You use paper purchase orders, your supplier does the same, and industry expert would categorize this as, “wholly inefficient, a waste of time, and a bunch of failed orders waiting to happen.” Having to manually take delivery of purchase orders, sort them into appropriate categories, and then keep track of due dates, is too many moving parts in a process that should, ideally, be a straightforward set of actions.
Failed orders on the part of your supplier, leads to missed deadline on your end, and ultimately, that only serves to tank your value in the eyes of your paying customer base. The value of a streamlined process cannot be overstated.
Priority must be placed on migrating from a paper-based order purchase system to a more automated platform—inbuilt with checks and balances to prevent errors and mismanagement. Taking the path of efficiency with advanced order purchase systems will, in the long run, save your business time and money.