How to establish control over purchasing outside of QuickBooks Online: a case study with Ferguson Accounting

Ferguson Accounting is a small accounting firm with 5 staff providing bookkeeping and accounting support to a number of not-for-profit businesses in Australia. In this interview with Tina Ferguson, QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor, we’re going to explore how ApprovalMax provides an efficient and secure purchasing solution for QuickBooks Online.

What purchases do your not-for-profit clients make regularly?

The not-for-profits we support run several types of businesses, from long day care centres to health clubs and swimming pools, which enables them to fund youth & community work in their local area. Whenever the staff wants to buy something, such as stationary or pool chemicals, they raise a purchase order. All of these centres need to adhere to a budget, that’s why all purchase orders get approved by the centre manager. To control the purchases efficiently, we require not just a multi-role approval workflow but one that keeps requesters out of QuickBooks Online. 

Why do you want purchase orders to be raised outside of QuickBooks Online, and how did you establish control over purchasing for your clients?

We don’t want 25 people accessing the accounting software because all of them would be able to edit supplier details; that’s too big a security risk. Also, QuickBooks Online limits the number of users, which means we need to think carefully about who should get access. In the end, we decided to allow only 3 or 4 people from the organisation into the accounting software for reporting purposes; all of them area managers, CEOs and directors.

So, we have to keep all other users like centre managers and centre staff out of QuickBooks Online but still find a way to control purchasing. That’s when I found ApprovalMax and as soon as we knew that it supports Classes and Locations, we jumped on board. 

Aside from limiting access, what other benefits does ApprovalMax bring to the purchasing process?

ApprovalMax allows the management to implement controls regarding available suppliers, funding limits, the chart of account codes as well as Classes & Locations. This is especially important when a lot of people are raising purchase orders. And it’s also very helpful that the approval workflow can be set up to reflect the various authority levels in businesses. 

How do approved purchase orders get to the suppliers? 

Now that we have the option to send out approved purchase orders via ApprovalMax, we do it. Before, our client’s staff had to ask the accounts person to email their orders, for documentation purposes. It’s much more convenient to let ApprovalMax send the purchase orders automatically after approval. 

The supplier then fulfils the order and states our purchase order number on the invoice. After receiving the goods, we confirm that they arrived in good order and we’re happy to proceed with the payment. For this, we link the approved purchase order to the bill in preparation for the payment process. This way, we have a detailed reference to what was ordered at what price.

ApprovalMax enables control of purchase order requesters in terms of what they can order from which suppliers, but the number of users is unlimited. Approving and sending purchase orders to the suppliers is an automated process with notifications to approvers. Purchase orders are, of course, only automatically emailed to suppliers after full authorisation. 

Start your own free 30-day trial to see how ApprovalMax will change the purchasing process for you!