Purchasing can be tricky. If you give too much control to a single person, and route all purchase requisitions through them, they can easily become a bottleneck. If you build a dedicated purchasing department, it can take some of the strain, but it will definitely eat into your budget. If you allow employees to send Purchase Orders themselves, it can quickly spiral out of control.
How can an SME achieve balance? How can they retain control over purchasing, without spending too much time and money? This is precisely what we are going to address in this article.
Laying the Groundwork
In most cases, SMEs cannot have a dedicated department that will handle all purchases. Instead, they must defer responsibility to their employees, allowing them to initiate Purchase Orders themselves.
When this happens, a couple of questions inevitably arise:
• Should we give all employees access to Xero? This seems unreasonable and not entirely safe. Employees may see accounting information that is above their pay grade.
• How do we organize approval processes? Should the requester manually follow-up approvers via email? And if so, how can we guarantee that he will receive approval from the relevant manager?
• How should approvers approve? Do they simply reply to an email, or should they login to Xero and click “Approve”? Email approvals can become messy rather quickly, and they are certainly not good for audit trails. And while approval in Xero is effective, it does not offer the feature of multi-step approval, therefore making delegation of responsibilities difficult.