Good purchasing software can be hugely beneficial for companies looking to save time, save money and bring visibility to their spending. Using purchase orders within your accounts payable process is an extra step that if done manually, can take a considerable amount of time. By using a workplace approval system like Zahara, you can automate a majority of the process making it as streamlined and efficient as possible, while giving you the visibility you need. We implement automated purchasing systems every day, so we thought we would put together 8 easy steps to follow to make sure you succeed;
- Build the right team
- Outline a plan
- Choose a purchase ordering system
- Decide on an Implementation Programme
- Communicate the plan to staff
- Train users
- Implement the software
Hire staff that ideally have experience of purchase orders or at least understand the company’s need to control spend, this will make the implementation process a lot smoother. Employees outside finance can sometimes see the purchasing process as unnecessary and time-consuming so having the right finance team to encourage and guide them will be a big key to your success.
Whether you have agreement from senior directors or not, you should always have a plan. Set clear, measurable goals with a timeline and what you aim to achieve by implementing a purchase order system. Can you quantify time or cost savings as a result? This should help the wider company get on board with your plan.
This is a very important decision as different software packages have different strengths; they also vary considerably on price so this depends completely on your requirements and budget. Zahara’s strength is in the automated workflow capabilities. With Zahara you can automatically send purchase orders for approval based on a supplier, value, project etc without having to manually select the approver. Make sure you can have a demo of the software and ideally take a trial, being able to use the software before entering into a contract will really help you test drive it first. At Zahara we currently offer free demos and a free trial.
Do you have the time and resource to setup the software yourself or would it more efficient to pay for the experts to guide and advise on how to get the best from the software. Decide on a target go live date. Ensure you and your staff have enough time to test the system properly and decide on an approval Matrix before you begin the implementation.
Once you have senior directors on board it's important to educate all staff on the importance of purchase orders and why you are implementing it within the company. Securing buy-in from staff prior to implementation can really help with the process and should result in less, if any, push back later down the line.
This should be comprehensive and regular. Creating your own company handbook or guide for the software and specific setup could be beneficial. It's good practice to have multiple senior finance members that hold a substantial working knowledge of the software rather than leaving one key contact responsible. At Zahara we usually train the finance members so they can then train the wider company users, giving you an even better working knowledge of the software. This is your software and we want you to own it.
You may consider a parallel run for a week or so, you could start with just a few departments initially rather than an “all in one go” approach. Speed is not necessarily the most import factor here!
Does it do what you want it to do? Here at Zahara we have a Customer Success Manager who will check in with you to make sure you are getting the most for the software and answer any queries along the way. Review it regularly and revisit your original goals, is it achieving what you wanted?
Ultimately, purchasing software can save you time and effort when raising PO's. The main takeaway from the points above should be that there is a better way of raising PO's than using a paper process. We may return to some normality in 2021, but paper-based processes will be a thing of the past this year. Now is the time to bring your processes into the cloud.
But that's just what we think, we really wanto to know what you think. Head over to our Twitter to let us know!
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