Most businesses have a disjointed process for submitting, reviewing, and approving purchase requests. Many don’t have a process at all. If you’ve spent anytime using a spreadsheet to track purchase requests, you know firsthand how difficult, time consuming, and frustrating this process can be. A poor functioning purchasing system leads to a disconnect between your company’s financial goals and what actually gets spent. There is a solution though and it functions within the wagon wheel of your automated bookkeeping system! A simple purchase request system that is integrated with your accounting software will bring enhanced financial controls to your business, align your actual spending with your budget, and improve communication between accounting and operations.
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Most businesses rely on credit cards to make daily purchases in their company. From inventory to supplies, materials and advertising, almost every purchase makes it on the company credit card. It’s a convenience most people rely on, but it has its challenges as an organization grows. It can be tedious to keep up with all the transactions, but this is vital for the owner to have accurate and up-to-date financial reports. The other challenge is oversight with the team. There are four areas that should be considered for your credit card policy.
In its simplest terms, a budget is a realistic estimate of future revenues and expenses. This is an important exercise for a business to do at least annually just prior to the new year. Budgets should include your normal operating revenues and expenses, but also factor in capital improvements, staff additions, infrastructure investments (like software or equipment), and other long-term purchases. A great budget allows the team to plan future expenditures that align with the mission and vision of the organization.
Now that you have a company credit card, it’s time to implement a system to oversee it. The two big players in the industry are Abacus and Expensify, and both would meet the needs of most businesses. These accounting applications are designed to solve three problems: (1) data entry and efficiency, (2) recordkeeping, and (3) oversight.
Before technology and credit cards ruled our lives, cash was king. It was simple to not spend more than you had because if it wasn't in your wallet, you couldn’t spend it. The “envelope system” became a great way for those struggling to get out of debt to plan their monthly expenses and climb out of the financial hole. After receiving a paycheck, you would cash the check and then place money into each of your envelopes representing a segment of your expenses. Examples of envelopes for an individual may include: mortgage, utilities, savings, insurance, and general purchases. The result is that you take control of your money and plan out your finances instead of being a slave to debt. The same can be done in a business!