Don't Get Lax with Procurement Compliance During the Holiday Season
With the holidays approaching, your office environment may be a bit more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean your procurement compliance should ease up. However, it can be hard to ensure all your end-of-the-year purchasing still follows compliance protocols with more employees working remotely and/or having finance and procurement take time off.
Fortunately, there are ways to stay on top of compliance while still allowing your staff to take well-deserved vacations and letting employees work remotely or part-time as they travel during the holiday season. Doing so requires focusing on three main areas:
Automate Approval Workflows
If you have an e-procurement or spend management platform, see if you can set up automated workflows so that employees can save time and only focus on high-priority items. For example, you may be able to limit purchasing during this time of year to a narrower set of vendors that you’re more confident fit within your organization's policies, and these purchases could then be automatically approved. For purchases that then still need sign-off from finance or procurement staff, you can set up automated alerts that go to mobile devices so that staff can approve purchases remotely.
Establish Clear Protocols for Employees
For purchases that can’t be made through a platform that automates approvals or at least streamlines them, businesses should ensure that all employees understand how they should go about adhering to compliance needs during the holiday season. For example, companies should ensure employees understand what purchases count as business travel expenses, as the lines between personal and business expenses can be confusing when employees need to work remotely. Moreover, employees should be clear about who to contact if certain purchases need to be manually approved, considering that their regular approver may be unavailable.
Streamline Payment Methods
Lastly, companies should encourage employees to make purchases using certain approved payment methods such as p-cards, rather than choosing from whatever method might be more convenient for the purchaser. While ordinarily you don’t want to overburden employees, implementing a small rule like this is generally easy enough to follow, and doing so can help ensure that most procurement activity during this time of year still gets tracked properly. Then, for the few occasions where a purchase needs to be made via another payment method such as cash, procurement and finance staff only need to dedicate a short amount of time to logging those transactions, as opposed to having to keep track of a more confusing mix of payment methods.
In all, the more that you can automate procurement, the easier it generally is for employees to stay within your organization’s compliance policies. As a result, finance and procurement staff can ideally spend less time managing compliance during the holiday season and instead only focus on the most pressing issues.
For organizations that have yet to add an e-procurement or spend management platform to achieve this automation, aim to at least inform employees of how they can help streamline compliance based on how they make and report purchases. From there, you can start planning how to implement an automated solution in the new year so that compliance gets easier for everyone to follow.
To learn more about how your business can gain full visibility into spend and adhere to compliance policies, schedule a demo with GoProcure today. You can also read more about how our platform improves the full procurement lifecycle.