SME Purchasing Processes are Broken say UK Finance Personnel

16 December 2014

  • A quarter of UK finance professionals working in SMEs say that current purchasing processes need fixing as a matter of priority
  • 34% identify that they either find the process difficult to use or have to work around it to get things done
  • 68% identify inefficiencies in purchase order preparation.

Invu, the document management solutions provider, today announces the initial findings of its research into Purchase Order Processes among UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The research, carried out by Redshift Research during November 2014, reveals that many finance professionals are reported to be unhappy with their Purchase Ordering Process and solutions available to them.

The research surveyed 200 UK finance professionals (Head’s of Finance, Finance administrator’s and other Finance decision makers) in SMEs, asking how their businesses purchased goods and services and the daily challenges they face with the tools available to them. The research reveals that almost a quarter (24%) say their current purchasing process is broken and needs fixing. The study identifies symptoms that suggest a fragmented approach, inefficiencies and a lack of employee engagement and consequently a lack of control.

The lack of employee engagement was particularly evident with 34% of respondents expressing concerns over ease of use and the need to work around the process to get things done.

Fragmentation and inefficiency was identified at both the requisitioning and the ordering stage of the process. For example, at the ordering stage 68% identified that they were preparing purchase orders either manually or using MS office based products. This suggests purchase requisition data is being re-entered, introducing a risk of input errors and lack of control over the release of purchase orders.

Ian Smith, General Manager at Invu comments “The purchase order can be a fundamental part of the internal control system of any company enabling budgetary control over commitments, visibility over future cash flow and a clear communication to suppliers of what is required at what price. The “can” is dependent on full adoption of a purchasing process.

This study examines the extent to which SME’s adopt a complete purchasing process. The full report is due to be made available in February 2015.”

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