9 Best Purchasing Software for small businesses in 2022

Best purchasing software

Many companies looking for Purchasing software struggle with:

1. Lack of cost control:

Management doesn’t have the opportunity to approve the Spend proactively, leading to surprise invoices showing up. If you ask this question often – “Who approved this purchase”? Then you are missing cost controls.

2. Limited visibility into Cashflow:

When you don’t have a purchasing process, there is no way to keep track of what purchase orders are issued, what is invoiced, and what is an open liability. This leads to poor cash flow planning. If you are a start-up with a high burn rate, cash flow management is the difference between survival and going bust.

3. Inefficient AP(Accounts Payable) process:

If you don’t have a single place to track all your purchase orders, the Accounts Payable (AP) team needs to spend endless hours checking if an invoice matches an approved purchase order (PO). Companies spend 50+ hours every month processing invoices because there is no easy way to match invoices with purchase orders.

Several purchasing software apps solve these problems. With purchasing software, you can implement tighter Spend controls instantly and get better cash flow visibility at your fingertips.

Companies that have implemented purchasing automation software have easily saved 30-40% time approving purchase order requests. 

To help you decide on the best purchasing software for your specific needs, we put together an in-depth guide that compares various options based on their features and pricing.

We want to present options that are ok for start-ups and can scale as the business scale.

Note: ProcureDesk is our product. We’re proud of what we’ve built, and it includes features that we would have liked to have ourselves, having previously used a manual paper-based purchasing process. Stop struggling with the manual purchase order process and learn how to streamline your purchasing process. Learn more and schedule a demo

What is purchasing software?

A purchasing software automates the purchasing process from a purchase request to issuing a purchase order to the supplier.

A purchasing software allows you to track the purchase order lifecycle, including order acknowledgment by the vendor, shipping, and confirmation of delivery by the supplier.

A purchasing software doesn’t cover the AP (Accounts Payable) functionality that includes processing supplier invoices and matching invoices with a purchase order.

In our comparison, we have only included the purchase order features. However, most of these software vendors do provide AP automation features.

Categories of purchasing software?

Not all purchasing software meets the need of all company sizes. In our view, purchasing software falls into the following categories:

Best of breed purchasing software: 

Best-of-breed purchasing software or procurement solutions are designed specifically for purchasing process automation.

They only automate the purchasing process. These solutions have broader feature sets and solve more purchasing use cases.

They help finance and procurement teams control costs, have policy-compliant employees, and deliver better cost savings through an effective procurement process.

Vendors like ProcureDesk, and Procurify fall into this category.

General accounting packages:

Most accounting packages also have purchasing software features. For example, if you are a small business using QuickBooks, you can also create a purchase order in QuickBooks. However, they generally have limited capabilities.

Since they are general-purpose accounting packages, they support features from purchase orders to balance sheets.

If you are a small company, you might not need best-of-breed purchasing software. You could make it work with a general-purpose accounting package.

Best purchasing software options:

1. ProcureDesk

2. Procurify

3. Kissflow

4. Spendwise

5. Tipalti Approve

6. QuickBooks Online

7. QuickBooks Desktop

8. Xero

9. Sage Intacct

Here are the nine options we have compared for purchasing software that might fit best for your company.

1. ProcureDesk

ProcureDesk

Company overview:

ProcureDesk helps small to midsize companies get tighter Spend control and better cash flow visibility through a cloud-based solution.

ProcureDesk helps organizations with procurement process automation by providing integrated purchasing and accounts payable software.

ProcureDesk is a cloud-based purchasing software. Though we provide the key features that are required for purchasing automation, ProcureDesk has invested heavily in simplifying the purchasing experience for our customer’s employees. We have done that by integrating our system with 100’s of e-commerce vendors’ websites so that our users don’t have to do redundant data entry for creating a purchase order.

Solution category:

Best in Breed

Founded:

2017

Key features:

Here are the key features of the ProcureDesk purchasing software module.

Purchase requisition:

With purchase requisitions, employees can easily create and track their purchase requests—no more paper requisitions for submitting purchase requisitions.

Instead of checking their emails, they can easily track what requisitions are already approved and which ones are pending approval.

The system also notifies the employee when the requisition is approved and when a buyer issues a purchase order to the supplier.

Requisitions are helpful to control Spend but also allow buyers in an organization to review and consolidate the spending.

Buyers save money on shipping by consolidating multiple requests from the same vendor.

Alternatively, Buyers can consolidate spending from multiple vendors to a single vendor to reduce the overall cost.

Requisitions are helpful when you have a buyer or procurement department.

Below is an example of a purchase requisition dashboard:

 

Just because you have an electronic form doesn’t make the process simple for employees.

They still have to remember all the fields they need to fill in, for example, cost codes, departments, etc.

We make that easier for your employees by using default values based on the user profile.

Punchout catalogs

If you are purchasing products or services from large retailers like Amazon, CDW, Office Depot, Office Supplies, to name a few, then a punch-out is the way to go.

With a punchout, an employee can create a requisition in a few clicks without copying the data from different websites into the requisition cart. This increases the operational efficiency of the entire procurement process.

Let’s take an example of Amazon:

  1. An employee would click on the Amazon logo.
  2. The employee navigates to the Amazon website. We connect ProcureDesk to your business account.
  3. Employee selects the items they want to purchase.
  4. The employee is then routed back to the purchase requisition screen for approval.
  5. The system copies cart data from Amazon to the requisition screen.

Amazon punchout with procuredesk

Wasn’t that easy?

Now, if you are wondering, what about my other suppliers? Don’t worry.

We support 100+ vendors. We are continuously adding new vendors to the punchout process.

We work with you to set up new punchouts, and there is no charge for that.

Self-created catalogs 

Sometimes, a vendor doesn’t have a punchout catalog, or you are not too big enough for them to issue you a punchout account.

In such cases, you can create the catalog yourself and use that to enable easy purchasing for your employees.

To create an internal catalog, you need to ask your vendor for the most commonly purchased items and the latest pricing for those items.

You then put those items in our catalog template like this:

Catalog template

And then upload the items into Procuredesk to create a new catalog.

Here is how an internal catalog looks:

catalog_experience

The user has to click on “Add to cart” to add an item to the purchase request from the catalog.

Budgets

Budgets allow you a mechanism to control costs and keep spending under budget.

Here is how it works:

You first set up a budget in the system. The budget can be by department, project, cost center.

We offer a flexible budget hierarchy to make it easy to create a structure that best suits your needs.

Here is how you create a budget:

Budget screenshot

 

Once you create the budget, the system will prompt the user to select the budget while creating a new purchase request.

The user can quickly see how much budget is available before placing the request.

budget_usage_summary

 

You can now set up the budget controls so that the system blocks a purchase if the purchase amount is greater than the budget.

budget_setting

Project-based budgets

Sometimes you need granular budget controls, especially if you have a project.

For example – if you are a marketing agency or a construction company, you want to ensure that the expenses don’t go over the budget that the customer allocates.

You might want to track the budget for the different activities you need to do for a project.

For example, you are working on a marketing website revamp project.

Then the line items could be:

  1. Website design
  2. Website development
  3. Brand identity design
  4. Copywriter for landing page copy

And here is how you can set up a project budget to control that:

job_project

 

When a requester allocates expense to the project, they can assign it to the correct line in the project budget.

Job projects in budget line

 

You can then easily track the budget consumption against each line, including all the purchase orders issued against that project.

Approval workflow

Do you have a purchasing policy with an approval matrix?

Then you know how hard it is to ensure that employees follow the policy and get approval at the right authorization level.

You don’t have to worry about non-compliance with the policy with approval workflows.

Here is how simple it is:

First, set up a purchase approval workflow, letting the system know how to route the request based on different conditions. i.e., custom approvals based on your purchasing policy.

For example, you need two people to approve a request over $50,000.

Here is an example of how you can set that up in the system:

Approval workflow setup

 

Once you configure the approval process, ProcureDesk would route employees to the correct person based on the predefined business rules or approval thresholds.

approval_workflow_purchase_order

Omnichannel approval

The biggest issue with approvals is that managers forget to approve. They are probably too busy, out traveling in the field, or just forgetful 🙂

To solve this issue, we allow users to approve in a way that works best for them. This results in quick approvals.

We have three ways to approve a purchase approval request.

Emails:

You can directly approve a purchase request from your email. You don’t need to log in to the system for approval.

The email provides you with all the details you need before deciding on a purchase request.

Mobile App:

With the mobile app, you can approve on the go!

Just download the ProcureDesk mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google play store, and you can approve your purchase requests from anywhere.

 

Web app:

With the web app, you can log in to ProcureDesk and approve or reject the purchase requisition.

Here is how to do that:

Approval_history

Workflow setup should be easy to set up and manage. Schedule a demo with our team and see how easily you can configure your approval matrix in ProcureDesk.

Purchase order

After the purchase requisition is approved, a buyer can convert a purchase request into a purchase order.

A purchase order would contain the terms, details of what is purchased, where it needs to be delivered, and when.

Here is an example of a purchase order:

You can also automatically convert the purchase requisition into a purchase order so that there is no manual effort required to convert a purchase requisition into a purchase order.

To ensure that the vendor delivers the orders on time, we do the following:

We automatically email the purchase and send orders through cXMl if the vendor accepts it.

This leads to the faster and error-free transmission of purchase orders to the vendors.

We also track whether the emails are delivered and opened by the vendor. That way, you can ensure that the order is delivered.

Here is how easily you can track order delivery status:

email history

 

Purchase order acknowledgment 

Once the order is delivered, you want the vendor to acknowledge the order.

Vendor acknowledgment of the order is essential for two reasons:

  1. With the current supply chain issues, you want the vendors to acknowledge that they can deliver the product per the requested delivery date.
  2. If there is a disagreement on the terms, it can be quickly resolved.

You can either ask the vendor to acknowledge the order by email or ask the vendor to submit the order acknowledgment using ProcureDesk.

The vendor submits the status of the overall order or the status for each line.

Here is an example of how the vendor can acknowledge an order:

order_acknowledgement

 

As the vendor accepts the PO, ProcureDesk updates the order’s status as acknowledged.

 

order status acknowledged

 

Order tracking 

With order tracking, employees can track the shipment of the product.

Here is a simple way to add the tracking number and the carrier details in ProcureDesk.

Advance shipping notice

The vendor can provide the tracking information directly in ProcureDesk, or you can update the information in the system.

Once the tracking information is in the system, the system will track the status changes and let you know when the order is delivered.

Receipts

Once you have received the order, you can create a receipt to confirm the delivery of the product.

You can create partial receipts as well as full receipts.

You can also track serial numbers and asset tags. ProcureDesk is not an Asset management system. However, it is easy to track asset costs by storing the data here and exporting it to whatever system you need.

Here is an example of how you can create a receipt:

Create Receipt

 

Now, what happens if you are not in front of your computer, no worries, we also have a mobile app.

With the mobile app, you can easily create a receipt and take a picture of the packaging slip from the app.

After the user selects the order, the system prompts for some basic information, and then you can submit the receipt for matching.

Dashboard and Reports

You have all the purchase orders in one place, but it is useless if you can’t report on it.

There are two ways you can get complete cash flow visibility, through the management dashboard and inbuilt reports.

For example, you get real-time visibility of what you are buying, from who you are buying, who is buying, and what terms.

Here is a snapshot of the Spend dashboard:

Spend_dashboard_top three reports

You can also track your monthly spend trends to know your exact burn rate.

Here is a snapshot of the monthly burn rate.

monthly spend trend

With reports, you can see all your data in one place.

We have over 30 different reports to give you complete visibility into your spending.

Here is a sample open order report:

OPen_order_report

 

You can also download the data into a spreadsheet for further analysis.

Strong access control

Want to ensure tighter access controls? We got you covered.

With the ProcureDesk access management module, an administrative user can set up roles based on your access needs.

For example, an AP clerk can only input invoices but can’t create purchase orders because that might lead to fraud.

With robust access control, you can prevent procurement fraud.

Here is an example of how easily you can set up access controls for your company.

Creating roles and access control

Free implementation 

We added this as a feature because we believe that even though it is a cloud solution, it is our job to ensure that the system meets your requirements, and we support you in driving the adoption.

Here is how we do that:

  1. We offer a turnkey solution – we set up the system, test it, and ensure it is configured to support your purchasing policy.
  2. We train your users and provide training guides and cheat sheets so that you don’t have to spend time creating training materials.

And did we mention that it is completely Free?

Now you might ask, why do you need training if your solution is intuitive?

That is a valid question, and we have realized that even though the product is straightforward, you want to use the training time to ensure that your end-users understand the new process.

You should explain to the team the objectives of purchasing automation.

Real-time seamless integration 

We ensure that you don’t worry about syncing data with your account package with real-time integration.

Whether you are a small business using QuickBooks, Xero, or a medium-sized company using Sage Intacct or Netsuite, we got you covered.

The integration process is easy to set up and takes only a few minutes.

Unlike other systems where you have manually synced the data, we automatically take care of this—no need to press buttons to sync the data.

Pricing:

ProcureDesk offers two packages to suit your needs.

The purchasing automation package is suited for companies looking to automate their purchasing process.

The features covered in this article are part of the purchasing automation plan. The plan covers up to 10 users, and you can add additional users as per your requirements

purchasing_automation

 

ProcureDesk also offers an AP automation solution bundled with the purchasing automation package. This plan also covers up to 10 users.

Ap automation pricing

2. Procurify

Procurify

Company overview:

Procurify helps forward-thinking organizations empower their teams for success by making business spending intelligent and straightforward. It provides tools for control & visibility across the organization.

Solution category:

Best of breed

Founded:

2012

Key features:

  1. Purchase requisition:  Procurify supports purchase requisitions, allowing employees to create purchase requests easily.
  2. Customizable workflows: Procurify supports customizable approval workflows that helps you route the request for approval to different stakeholders. With the customizable workflows, you can route spending by department, dollar amount, location codes, etc. It also provides for easy approval management.
  3. Mobile app approval: Procurify has a mobile app that can help you quickly approve the purchases on the go.

    Source: procurify.com
  4. Budgets: Procurify supports budgets and allows you to track your spending against a budget in real-time. This gives the ability for the approver to approve with confidence.Source: procurify.com
  5. Purchase order workflow: You can automate converting purchase requisitions into purchase orders with the purchasing order workflow.
  6. Internal Catalogs: Procurify supports the catalogs functionality.
  7. Punchouts: Procurify supports punchout, but the functionality is limited to only Amazon. We didn’t see additional vendors on the Procurify website, but please check with the vendor.
  8. Flexible user permissions: Procurify supports strong access control. You can set up different roles, and admins can assign each role to specific activities.

Pricing:

Procurify doesn’t mention pricing on their website. But they do offer a complete procure-to-pay automation solution.

Here are the multiple packages on their website. You can call the vendor to get a price quote.

Procurify_Product_Pricing___Custom_pricing_packages

3. Kissflow

Kissflow
Source: Kissflow

Company overview:

Kissflow, at its core, is a workflow engine that helps automate different processes in an organization.

They have a separate module for Procurement called Procurement Cloud.

Solution category:

Best in Breed

Founded:

2012

Key features:

  1. Purchase requisitions: Employees can easily create purchase requisitions with the purchase requisition module. Employees can enter the requisition details like name and item details and route them for approval.
  2. Purchase approvals: Kissflow offers flexible purchase approvals. Your case setup approvals based on purchase order amount,  department, and so on.

      Source:kissflow.com
  3. Purchase orders: Requisitions can be converted into purchase orders, and then purchase orders can be dispatched to the vendors. Kissflow offers real-time spend analysis along with the purchase orders so that you can check any previous Spend with the vendor.
  4. Vendor catalogs:  Kissflow supports catalogs but only internal catalogs. There is no support for punchout catalogs. That means you can’t link your procurement system to a vendor-hosted catalog.
  5. Budgets: Kissflow offers the option to set up the budgets so that you can check the budgets at the time of approving the purchase order. It seems like you can also restrict the purchases if the budget is not available.
  6. Vendor management:  Kissflow offers a vendor management solution where you can use a workflow to screen the vendor during the evaluation process. It is probably a good feature for manufacturing companies who need a vendor selection process that includes data gathering.
  7. Reporting: With reporting, you can see all your Spend data in one place. You can see Spend trends as well as customize the reports.
  8. Kissflow spend dashboard
    Source:kissflow.com

Pricing:

Kissflow procurement cloud pricing starts from $1900/month and varies by volume and transactions.

kissflow pricing
Source:https://kissflow.com/procurement/pricing/

 

4. Spendwise

spendwise

Company overview:

Spendwise is a web-based application that allows you to manage purchase orders effortlessly, inventory, invoices, bills, and expenses

Solution category:

Best in Breed

Founded:

2012

Key features:

  1. Purchase orders: You can easily create and send purchase orders to the vendors with the purchase order functionality.
  2. Receiving: With the receiving functionality, employees can confirm the receipt of the purchase orders. This way, the AP team always knows when an invoice is ready to be paid.
  3. Budgets: The budget feature allows companies to track spending against a budget.
  4. Reports: Spendwise offers over 25 canned reports to get you started with reporting.
  5. Roles: You can set up roles and control access to the application.
  6. Optional implementation package: Spendwise offers an optional implementation package for companies who want support setting up the system. We are not sure if the base package has any implementation support.
  7. Manual data sync: Users can sync the data to multiple systems through a data export process.

Pricing:

Pricing starts at $9/user/month for the basic package and goes up to $19/user/month.

 

spendwise_pricing

5. Tipalti Approve

Company overview:

Tipalti is primarily a payables automation solution with a solid background in payments, including global payments. They recently launched a new product called Tipalti approve and we thought it could be a worthy addition to our list of software options.

Solution category:

Best in Breed

Founded:

2010

Key features:

Here are the key features of Tipalti approve

1. Purchase request: The purchase request module allows employees to create purchase requests.

2. Approval flows: The purchase request can be routed to different department owners or budget owners with approvals.

3. Purchase orders: Purchase orders get generated after a purchase request is approved.

4. Vendors: Set up new vendor workflows to onboard new vendors through the AP team process.

5. Reports and Dashboards: Get a complete view of your company expenses with reports and a dashboard.

6. Integration only limited to Netsuite: It seems like the integration is limited to Netsuite only; we recommend that you work with the vendor to understand the integration options.

Pricing:

The vendor doesn’t mention the pricing on their website.

Using your accounting package as your purchasing software

If you are not looking to implement a best-of-breed solution or just getting started with your operations, your existing accounting package might be a good option.

We have covered some key accounting packages and how you can use the existing functionality to manage purchase orders.

6. QuickBooks Online

Company overview: 

QuickBooks online is the most widely used accounting package for small to medium-sized businesses.

The tool offers a complete accounting package, but we are only focused on the purchase order capabilities in this article.

Solution category:

Accounting package

Founded:

1983

Key features:

  1. Purchase order creation: There are limited capabilities for purchase order generation in QuickBooks, but you can certainly create a purchase order. The system can also email the purchase order to the vendor. You can add items that are part of the inventory or add expenses to the purchase order.
  2. Approval workflow: There are no purchase approvals in QuickBooks.
  3. Project expense tracking: With project tracking, you can tag your expenses to specific customer projects. This enables you to bill the customer for all the expenses at one time.
  4. Reporting: There is no specialized reporting for purchase orders, but you can use the inbuilt capabilities of QBO to report on spending by the vendor or spend by GL accounts.

Pricing:

There are four packages for QuickBooks online: starting from $25/month to $180/month.


7. QuickBooks Desktop

Company overview:

QuickBooks online is the most widely used accounting package for small to medium-sized businesses.

The tool offers a complete accounting package, but we are only focused on the purchase order capabilities in this article.

Solution category:

Accounting package

Founded:

1983

Key features:

  1. Purchase order creation: You can easily create purchase orders using QuickBooks Desktop. In our view, the Desktop version has more robust capabilities than the online version. It ties very well with the inventory module. For creating a purchase order in the Desktop version, you have to set up an item in the item master.
  2. Approval workflows: There are no purchase approvals in QuickBooks.
  3. Project expense tracking: With project tracking, you can tag your expenses to specific customer projects. This enables you to bill the customer for all the expenses at one time.
  4. Reporting: There is no specialized reporting for purchase orders, but you can use the inbuilt capabilities of QuickBooks Desktop to report by various dimensions.

Pricing:

QuickBooks desktop is an annual subscription, and you per user.

Here is the pricing for one user:

quickbooks desktop pricing

8. Xero

Company overview:

Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Solution category:

Accounting package

Founded:

2006

Key features:

  1. Purchase order creation: Xero offers robust purchase order functionality and works well if you create only a few purchase orders a month. You can easily create the purchase order by typing in what you are looking for. It defaults a lot of data for suppliers and users.
  2. Purchase order dispatch: The system generates the  PO PDF document, and you can then dispatch the PO to the supplier.
  3. Reports: You can use an inbuilt report to report Spend by Vendor and other dimensions.

Pricing:

The pricing is a combination of users and the volume of the data.

For example, the base package only allows you to enter five bills per month. For most clients, the $65/month package is best suited.

xero pricing

9. Sage Intacct

Company overview:

Sage Intacct is a cloud-based accounting package that offers diverse features to handle different requirements from small to mid-market companies.

Solution category:

Accounting package

Founded:

1999

Key features:

  1. Purchase requisition: Unlike QuickBooks and Xero, Sage Intacct offers robust purchase requisition functionality. Employees can create purchase requisitions that buyers can convert into a purchase order.
  2. Purchase orders: You can create a purchase order from a  requisition or directly create a purchase order. The system is flexible to support your procurement process.
  3. Purchase order approvals: Purchase orders get routed for approvals based on different approval routing rules. Once the system generates the PO, it also dispatches the PO to the vendor.
  4. Receipts: Once the product is received, you can easily convert a purchase order into a receipt and mark the product as received. This allows the AP team to confirm that the invoice is ready to pay. This enables on-time vendor payments.
  5. Reporting: Sage Intacct offers robust reporting capabilities. You can, of course, run all your key management reports, but you can also easily report on spending by the vendor and other dimensions available to users.

Pricing:

Sage Intacct offers customized plans to suit your needs, but you have to reach the vendor to get a price quote.

Your turn!

Start with documenting your key requirements and then assess what system works best for you. if you are curious if ProcureDesk is the right solution for you, then click on the button below to schedule a demo.

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