How to Manage Cost and Risk for Remote Work Purchases

How to Manage Cost and Risk for Remote Work Purchases

For many companies, office supply procurement no longer looks the same. Whether your company remains fully remote for the foreseeable future or you’re figuring out a flexible model that combines on-site with remote work, your office supply purchasing requirements and workflows may shift as well. But it’s important to not let procurement changes increase risk or bust budgets.

Specifically, office supply procurement will shift more toward home office purchases for many companies, which can mean more customized purchases. Instead of bulk ordering one batch of IT equipment for all employees, for instance, companies might now allow employees to choose tech products from a variety of vendors they need to fit their unique home office setups.

Even if employees already have equipment such as laptops to work from home, companies may need to offer additional budget to employees to make remote work viable long term. For example, employees may want to purchase a more comfortable office chair, headsets, webcams, or even faster internet packages to accommodate remote work needs.

Allowing employees to expense these purchases can both make remote work more practical, while also being a valuable tool for employee recruitment and retention. In the past, on-site perks like gyms, ping-pong tables and catered lunches helped improve employee experience, whereas, in the future, companies may need to think more about how they enable home office perks.

Staying on Budget With Spend Visibility

Enabling home office supply purchasing can mean shifting more ordering from procurement teams to individual employees throughout companies. As such, finance and procurement teams need to be careful not to lose spend visibility.

If employees are choosing their own home office furniture, for example, rather than procurement staff placing those orders, it’s possible finance and procurement teams wouldn’t know about these purchases until they receive expense reports.

Requiring employees to make home office purchases with corporate credit cards, rather than their personal cards, can help. That way, finance and procurement staff have visibility into these purchases through the corporate card provider. Better yet, employees can make purchases through an e-procurement platform so that the spend data automatically gets captured and can easily be analyzed within the same system.

For cases where employees need to spend cash or put an expense on their personal accounts, such as if your company reimburses a portion of internet fees, it’s important to develop a process for employees to quickly and easily submit these expenses. That way, finance and procurement teams know how they’re tracking against budget.

Manage Risk With Purchasing Workflows

Allowing employees to make home office purchases can be a great perk, but it’s important to not add unnecessary risk. With more customized purchases based on employees’ specific needs, your company might be increasing the number of vendors you’re procuring products from, so you want to make sure these vendors are reputable. Plus, you want to make sure employee purchases remain compliant.

As such, finance and procurement teams need to establish purchasing workflows that keep risk in mind. For example, some companies might require all purchases to first be submitted as a request to procurement teams before the purchase actually goes through. Using an automated procurement platform, where purchases requests get routed digitally to the appropriate approver, can be a great way to keep this process efficient while managing risk.

Companies might also want to manage risk by first vetting a variety of vendors that provide home office supplies and onboarding those suppliers to an e-procurement platform. That way, employees can easily choose from a list of pre-approved vendors, rather than sourcing suppliers on their own. Doing so can be more efficient than having finance and procurement teams trying to vet suppliers on a case-by-case basis.

Leverage GoProcure for Remote Work Purchases

By using an e-procurement platform like GoProcure to manage remote work purchases, employees can easily find the home office supplies they need from a list of pre-approved suppliers. And we can help you efficiently onboard new vendors if your company needs new types of supplies that your current vendors do not offer. Plus, finance and procurement teams can maintain visibility of all spend that goes through the platform, and approval workflows can be customized to your needs.

With the right tools and processes in place, your company can still efficiently manage procurement risks and costs, even when your needs shift more toward remote work purposes. Want to learn more about how e-procurement/spend management technology can help you make cost-effective, risk-aware remote work purchases? Request a complimentary consultation with our product experts today.