by martieLast Updated : Jun-26-2023
Effective Spend management is the key to a cost-conscious culture. Spend management software implements the strategies and controls you need for spending management, inventory management, and real-time visibility into your spending.
In inflationary times, cloud-based solutions allow an organization to ensure effective capital allocation. Spend management allows an organization to control costs in deflationary times or recessions.
If you want to implement an expense management platform in your business, this article will help you select your company’s right spend management software.
This article will cover an in-depth review of the top five spend management software solutions so that you can choose the best solution based on your company size.
We have selected solutions most commonly used by small to midsize companies. We have also included an enterprise spend management company option if you are a large company.
Spend management is an approach toward effectively managing company Spend with external vendors, resulting in better supplier relationships. An effective spend management process ensures the company spends its money wisely and gets the best value from the vendors, thus boosting supplier management.
A Spend management process ensures that all corporate spending gets reviewed at the appropriate management level. It ensures that the management is completely aware of where the money is spent, with whom, and by whom.
Effective Spend management doesn’t stop at just management and avoiding unnecessary spending; it ensures that the department owners and key employees have full visibility into spending.
It enables the key stakeholders to review the spending and ensures they are spending it effectively.
Spend management is key to building a cost-conscious culture and managing your company’s buying process effectively.
Spend management software provides a complete platform for effective spend management.
Spend management software automates the entire purchasing process from purchase request to the time purchase order is issued to the vendor.
It provides a cost control process for management to ensure they can influence the Spend at the time of purchase.
It also provides granular spend visibility so the management can make better decisions about future cost allocation.
The scope of Spend management software varies based on the organization’s maturity.
For example, a large organization with a procurement department would need end-to-end capabilities that include e-sourcing, contract management, procure-to-pay, and AP automation.
On the other hand, a small to mid-sized company might not have a procurement department and only need Spend management software for real-time expense tracking. We are mostly focusing on the needs of small, mid-sized companies
Our Verdict- Best for small to medium-sized companies.
Different pricing plans cover different functionality of the spend management software.
Here are the different packages:
ProcureDesk is complete spend management and procurement software that allows you to track all the cash going out of the door.
Whether purchase orders, invoices, or credit card expenses, ProcureDesk offers a single platform to track your spending, set up controls for effective spend management, and automate invoice management.
ProcureDesk is best suited for small to medium-sized companies. The tool is domain agnostic and used by companies across verticals like Biotech, Professional services, construction, and many more.
If you are an enterprise company with more than $250M in revenue, ProcureDesk is not your solution.
We will now review the top 6 features of ProcureDesk and how ProcureDesk’s spend management software supports these key features.
Purchase request management automates the manual purchase requisition process for a company.
If you use a manual paper form-based purchasing process, purchase request management can eliminate the paper-based process.
We have combined purchase request and order functionality, but many vendors might consider these two separate features.
With a purchase request process, employees can easily request a purchase for products or services.
The purchase request module can handle different purchasing scenarios, whether you need to purchase a new widget or procure a service.
Employees can track all their purchases in one place through a request dashboard.
They can also send reminders for purchase requests that are pending approval.
The employee starts with the click on the “New Request” button.
The system remembers the user defaults, so they don’t have to repeat the same information repeatedly.
The employee can then add the item they want to purchase through catalogs or by simply describing the item they want to purchase.
Catalogs greatly simplify the purchasing experience for employees.
ProcureDesk has native integration with 100+ vendors so that your employees can get an online shopping experience, and the finance team gets spending control.
Here is an example of how a user can browse the Amazon.com catalog and then transfer the cart data to ProcureDesk.
The user clicks on “Submit these items for Approval,” and the data from the system transfers the Amazon cart to ProcureDesk.
Here is how it looks in ProcureDesk:
All the cost center codes and charts of accounts can be automatically assigned based on the predefined rules. It ensures that the employees don’t waste time figuring out the correct chart of accounts.
The employees can then select the optional budget and submit the purchase request for approval.
We will cover budgets and purchase approvals in the subsequent sections.
Based on the predefined workflow, the purchase request is routed to different stakeholders for approval.
Once the stakeholders approve the purchase request, the system can issue a Purchase order to the vendor.
Most vendors require a purchase order unless you are placing an order on the vendor’s website.
You can implement different workflows to issue a purchase order after approval.
If you have a procurement team doing your procurement process, you might route the approved purchase request to a buyer, so they can review it before issuing a purchase order.
If you want to automate this process fully, you can set up ProcureDesk to automatically generate a purchase order after a requisition is approved.
The system offers complete flexibility to map your purchasing process with business spend management software.
Here is how the system generates the purchase order document:
Once the system generates the purchase order document, it sends the PO to the vendor based on the vendor’s preferences.
For example, large vendors like Amazon support standard cXML, and small vendors might expect PO over email.
Here is an example of a purchase order email to the vendor:
Budget management allows companies to keep spending under control by ensuring that employees don’t exceed the allocated budget.
ProcureDesk offers a flexible budget structure that supports your budget requirements.
Whether you maintain budgets by GL and location or have a project-specific budget, ProcureDesk got you covered.
There are two types of budgets you can set up in ProcureDesk.
You can set up a structure based on GL, location, or department.
Here is an example of a standard budget structure:
Or you can set up a budget for projects. The project-based budget is helpful to companies that have client billable expenses and have a budget set for a job—for example, a marketing agency or a construction company.
Here is an example of a project-based budget:
Once you set up the budget in ProcureDesk, the system asks the employee to pick up a budget when creating a purchase order request.
The system checks the budget availability in real time and informs users how much they have left in the budget.
Approver view of the budgets
You can also set up proactive cost controls to ensure employees don’t exceed the budget.
Alternatively, you can set up a tolerance so employees have little flexibility to go over budget.
For example: If I have a $5,000 budget, I can set up a tolerance of 10%. It allows employees to go over the budget by up to $5,500.
Once you have budgets enabled, you can also see the budget consumption in real time.
In this report, you can track the overall budget consumption across different departments:
Purchase approvals let you set up an automated workflow so the purchases can be pre-approved appropriately.
You can set up the workflow once and let the system guide the user based on the preset conditions.
The last thing you want is to have the employees select the approver on each purchase request. That leads to confusion, and it is a compliance risk.
Here is how easily you can set up a purchase approval process:
First, set up the approval limits for different approval levels. You should have already defined this in your purchasing policy.
You can then configure that in ProcureDesk:
Once the approval matrix is defined, the next step is configuring the workflow.
You can set up a single-level or multiple-level workflow.
Here is an example of workflow:
The first level approver is the immediate manager; if the amount exceeds $50,000, the purchase request will go to the CFO for approval and then to the CEO.
Since you have already defined the approval matrix, the system automatically identifies the appropriate managers based on the approval threshold.
When an employee submits a purchase request, the system automatically sends the approval request email to the immediate next approver.
The approver can then approve the purchase from the web app, directly from email, or using a mobile app.
Here is how the approvals work in the mobile app.
If you have a company credit card or an expense reimbursement process, you can use ProcureDesk expense management solutions to capture, approve and submit expense reports to the accounting system.
ProcureDesk simplifies expense report creation by importing credit card transactions from your bank or credit card issuer.
The system imports the transactions and then creates expense reports for each employee.
Here is an example of an expense report:
Employees can then attach the receipts and submit the expenses.
You can use the mobile app to take a receipt picture and attach it to an expense.
After the employee assigns appropriate cost codes to expenses, the system routes the expense for approvals, if any.
For example, having managers approve all expenses is a good idea if you want the managers to be accountable for their team’s expenses.
Yes, it is more work for managers, but in the long run, it drives accountability and ensures that the employees are spending money in the company’s best interest.
You can set up an expense approval process like the business purchase approvals, and the system automatically routes them for approval.
Spend reporting provides complete visibility into your company’s spend-related activities.
The management dashboard captures the Spend at any given time and shows the committed amount.
Here is an example of a Spend Dashboard:
It gives you a quick snapshot of where the company is spending money, with whom, and who is spending it in your company.
You can also track the month-over-month purchases and keep track of overall Spend trends.
Keeping your monthly burn rate is essential if you are a startup company.
Tracking burn rates allows you to plan for the next fundraising round.
ProcureDesk has 40+ out-of-the-box reports that give you better visibility into your operations.
For example: If you want to see a list of open orders, there is a report:
Open Order Report
The open order report shows you open commitments, what is already invoiced, and what is pending invoicing.
You can use this report to plan for your cash flow needs.
There is a report if you want to know what expenses to accrue because the invoices are not in yet.
The spend reporting helps you get visibility and close books on time.
If you don’t have an integrated spend management system, you must create the same transaction in your accounting system.
With integrated spend management software, the system automatically syncs the data with the accounting system so you don’t have to recreate the data.
Moreover, ProcureDesk imports master data like cost codes, charts of accounts, and department codes.
ProcureDesk integrates with different accounting systems that include:
Our Verdict- Best for small to medium-sized companies looking to automate purchasing processes.
Procurify doesn’t mention the price online; please get in touch with the vendor for more information. Procurify offers three packages – Pioneer, Voyager, and Enterprise.
Procurify provides a complete suite of spend management solutions that help companies keep costs under control.
Procurify caters to small to medium-sized companies looking to automate their purchasing process.
Procurify has a robust purchase request management functionality.
Employees can easily create different purchase request types and submit them for approval.
The system remembers the user’s defaults, so creating the purchase request is easy.
There are multiple ways to create a purchase request. Employees can type in the product description they want to purchase or select the item from a catalog.
Procurify supports both internal catalogs and vendor punchout catalogs.
Unlike ProcureDesk, Procurify can’t configure unlimited vendor catalogs. However, the punch-out functionality is limited to Staples and Amazon.com only. (Please check with the vendor on the latest punchout catalogs)
A buyer can easily convert a purchase request into a purchase order.
The system does offer the ability to combine multiple purchase requisitions into a single purchase order.
The important thing to note here is that you can’t create a purchase order without a purchase request.
A purchase request is a must for creating a purchase order.
Procurify budget management solution enables administrators to configure the budget based on the GL account and a combination of classes or departments.
It maps the same structure as you see in QuickBooks.
Procurify is best suited if you use a simple two-level budget structure.
The tool doesn’t offer that flexibility if you have a complex multi-level structure.
Once you configure the budget, you can enable budget checks, and the system can check the budgets in real time.
The approvers can also see the total available budget when approving the purchase request.
Procurify provides a flexible purchase approval workflow engine to support the requirements of purchase authorization.
Procurify workflow design is based on approval groups.
A group defines the set of individuals who need to approve a purchase. Based on the variables, the system assigns the group to the different purchase requests.
For example, Group A is only for specific locations or departments.
It gives you the flexibility to manage different approval hierarchies for different locations.
Procurify provides the ability to create and manage expense reports using its mobile app.
You can consolidate ad hoc credit card spending or process reimbursement in one expense report.
An employee can code an expense to the correct accounts, projects, or budget chart.
Procurify also has a credit card program that allows you to issue virtual or physical cards to your employees.
Procurify provides detailed spending reporting to support better spending management across the company.
Procurify has inbuilt reports that users can filter to meet their specific reporting needs.
For example, you can see order spending data by department and filter it by date, location, etc.
Procurify supports integration with QuickBooks and Netsuite.
In addition to these two systems, the tool offers a bulk export feature to export the data in a CSV and then import it into your accounting system.
Our Verdict- Best for small companies looking to automate purchasing processes.
Precoro pricing starts at $35/user/month, billed annually. Please check the vendor’s website for the latest pricing information.
Precoro helps companies with spend management by automating their manual processes.
Precoro is best for small companies looking to automate their manual purchasing process and doesn’t need vendor punchouts.
Precoro allows users to create different types of requisitions, and it is a good solution to automate your manual purchase requests.
The users must select a department or location to create the request.
We believe it would be much easier if the system remembers the users’ default location, department, etc.
The tool supports both manual purchase requests and an internal catalog.
The tool only supports Amazon.com as the punch-out vendor, so the functionality is limited to one vendor.
Precoro has decent budget management capabilities.
You can import the budget through a bulk upload or create one value at a time.
The budget can be structured by GL account or department or by location.
The approver can see the budget consumption in real-time, ensuring the departments are not over budget.
Precoro offers a flexible workflow engine to support your purchase approval needs.
The workflow supports a multiple steps workflow process. I.e., you can create as many steps are you want for approvals.
After creating the steps, you can assign steps to each user who can approve for that level.
It is easy to create and simple.
However, if you have many approvers, the workflow could be cumbersome to configure and manage.
Precoro doesn’t support credit card expenses (at the time of this writing). Please check with the vendor for the latest on this feature.
Precoro provides separate reporting for the different modules. Precoro has reports under the following categories:
You can filter reports by location, requester, the status of the document, and the date of the purchase request, order, or bill.
Precoro supports integration with different accounting systems – specifically. QuickBooks Xero and Netsuite.
Our Verdict- Best for medium to large-sized companies that can leverage a general-purpose workflow tool for other applications
Kissflow pricing starts from $1990/month, billed annually. That is approx $24,000/year. The pricing variables are the number of users, transaction volume, and features.
Please check the vendor’s website for the latest on the pricing.
Kissflow offers companies a simple way to automate their core business processes. It is a workflow engine that you can use to automate any process and its related workflows.
Kissflow has a procurement cloud module that offers spend management capabilities.
Kissflow is best for medium to large-sized companies. Especially for companies that can leverage a general-purpose workflow tool for other applications in your company. For example, the IT ticket management process.
Here are the key features of the Kissflow procurement cloud.
Purchase request management automates the manual purchase request process for your company.
You can set up default location and department values for the users to make it easy to create a purchase request.
A user can create the request by entering the item’s description, or you can select it from a product catalog.
Product catalogs are a good option If you have a list of preferred vendors and the items you purchase from them.
The tool doesn’t support punchout catalogs, meaning the users must manually enter the data from different websites. That increases the time to create a purchase requisition.
Kissflow supports budgets, but it is limited only to departments.
You can create a list of departments and assign a budget limit to each.
An admin can then add the budget field to the purchase request app by adding a computed field for the budget.
A computed field is a field where the system calculates the value based on the defined variables.
If you have simple department-based budgets, then Kissflow will do the job.
However, that might not be possible if you want to set up budgets by the chart of accounts, location, etc.
Kissflow offers a flexible workflow process to support your purchase approval needs.
The setup is simple but might not work for complex scenarios requiring budgets by departments, locations, or business units.
For example – you can set up steps for approval and decide who will approve at each level.
You can also manually assign an approver.
For example, if only the company owner can approve a request, the simplest way to set up the workflow is to assign it to the named person.
Kissflow doesn’t support credit card expense reports at this time.
Kissflow provides standard reports that a company admin can customize to suit the company’s needs.
The spend analytics dashboards present real-time data supplier insights so you can see your Spend in one place.
For example, spend vs. actual budget consumption or overall vendor performance.
Kissflow provides out-of-the-box integration with different accounting and ERP packages.
Our Verdict- Best for large enterprise companies.
Coupa doesn’t mention the pricing on their website. You have to connect with a sales representative to get the pricing.
Coupa is the market leader in Spend management software (as per Gartner’s research).
Coupa provides a complete procure-to-pay solution for companies looking to automate their purchasing and AP(Accounts Payable) process.
Along with Procure to Pay automation, Coupa also has a suite of products designed for Procurement and Spend management professionals. For example, e-sourcing, spend analysis, and so on.
Coupa is suited for large enterprise companies with more than $500M in revenue.
Here are the key features of the Coupa spend management platform.
Based on your defined policies, the Coupa purchase requisition module guides the buyers to the preferred suppliers.
The purchasing policy can be embedded within the system so that the employees don’t have to refer to an external policy document whenever they want to purchase something.
The tool has support for both internal catalogs and vendor punchouts. Combining these strategies makes it easy for your employees to create purchase requisitions.
After the manager approves the purchase request, the buyer can convert the request into a purchase order.
Multiple purchase order templates allow you to customize your purchase order document easily.
With Coupa’s budget management, employees have the real-time context of budgets while creating purchase requests.
The budget is adjusted based on downstream activities like purchase orders and invoices.
Coupa budget management provides a flexible structure to create budget roll-ups.
Coupa supports configurable workflows to meet your approval needs.
You can create dynamic approvals based on the entry conditions.
Suppose you want a workflow only triggered when the total requisition amount exceeds $5,000.
Then you can define the amount as an entry condition for the workflow.
The request is not triggered if it doesn’t match the workflow entry condition.
An admin can create the workflow to support named users or users based on the purchase location.
For example, Person A should approve all IT purchases for Location 1, and Person B should approve all purchases for Location 2.
Coupa has a best-in-class expense management tool lets your employees easily create expense reports.
There is a mobile app that allows the easy creation of expense reports.
Coupa expense reporting also can book travel. The tool has complete functionality for travel and expenses.
The tool checks the policy in real-time and informs users if the expenses exceed the assigned limit. For example, dinner with a client should not exceed $1,000.
Coupa provides a detailed spend reporting platform that enables management and procurement teams to gain visibility across company-wide spending.
Since most large companies have procurement teams, the Spend reporting caters to spending insights required to improve procurement management.
For example, what is the total contract Spend, or what % of the Spend is with preferred vendors?
This reporting enables procurement teams to understand the spending patterns and use this knowledge to negotiate better costs with the suppliers.
Coupa leverages partners to implement the solution.
The partners leverage third-party ware systems to integrate the Coupa procurement system with other ERP systems.
It is unclear if Coupa has any built-in adapters for different accounting systems.
Coupa’s website shows the average implementation time is 6 to 9 months.
The purchase request module automates the purchase requisition process so your employees don’t have to fill in paper requisition forms.
It increases the whole company’s efficiency by automating the manual purchasing process.
It enhances the employee experience by leveraging vendor catalogs and providing an online shipping experience for your employees.
Budget management allows companies to control spending by implementing budget controls within the supply chain.
By implementing budget control, companies ensure they are not exceeding the budget.
Companies also get real-time reporting about spending trending against the allocated budget.
Purchase approvals automate compliance with the purchasing policy and provide an easy way to approve purchase requests.
The purchase approval process allows you to set up automated approval workflows so employees don’t need to determine the appropriate approver based on the purchase amount.
It also provides a simple and easy way to approve purchases.
With credit card expense management, you can provide a single place for your employees to submit their expense reports.
Whether for expenses on a corporate card (Physical or virtual cards) or reimbursable expenses, the expense reporting features enable easy ways to capture and report business expenses.
Spend reporting provides complete visibility into your company spending, giving detailed savings insights. With a single dashboard, management can see what is happening in the company.
There is no need to export GL reports and match them with vendor reports. The intuitive spending dashboard provides all those details.
A spend management software manages all the purchase transactions offering cost savings opportunities. You need those transactions in your accounting system to book the cost and gain better insight into employee spending.
With accounting software integration, the cloud-based spend management solution automatically syncs the data with the accounting system. Thus, making it easier for you to understand your bottom-line savings.
There is no need for redundant data entry when you have Spend management software that integrates with your accounting package.
Using your expense management software, an effective Spend management strategy can save money and ensure compliance with your purchasing policies and other employee expenses.
Here are the typical results(based on our experience) you can expect with spend management software:
What you should do now
Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you scale your purchasing and Accounts payable process.