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How To Manage Your Company Spending In 2024?

Vlad Falin

January 12, 2023

5

When it comes to growing a business, many executives focus on increasing profits and growing revenue as the way to achieve their goals. 

However, one aspect of growth that is sometimes overlooked is the expense management of your organization, and how to make it more efficient.

Without proper spend management strategies, your efforts to grow the company revenue could be easily sabotaged by overstuffed budgets, inefficient spending, and a lack of expense tracking that hurts your bottom-line when tax season comes around.

That’s why this article will discuss the importance of managing your company spending, and how to do it efficiently!

The Importance Of Company Spending Management

Business spend management is a combination of strategies and business tools used to track, analyze, and manage business spending, in particular in regard to supplier relationships. 

When companies are unable to track and control their spending in real-time, they may expose themselves to financial leaks and lose revenue in the long run. 

The majority of a company's costs come from external expenditures, which account for 40-80% of its total costs. A lack of efficient spend management can have disastrous effects on your business; the statistics speak for themselves.

As a result, businesses that understand and wish to mitigate this risk need to use spend management software to do the heavy lifting. Not only does the software offer cost-saving opportunities, but it also prevents overspending.

A spend management solution becomes particularly crucial when it comes to tax reporting, as the expense documenting process simplifies the tax reporting, which makes it easier to receive tax breaks and avoid hefty penalties.

For the United Arab Emirates region, corporate income tax (or CT for short) will be applied to business activities starting on the 1st of June 2023. You’ll be charged 9% for taxable income exceeding AED 375,000, but 0% if your annual taxable income falls below that threshold. As such, keeping track of your expenses and managing spending will be even more important than ever.

Benefits of Expense Management

The importance of spending management is not limited to enterprises with large expenses, but also to small and medium-sized businesses looking to improve profitability, scalability, and sustainability. 

There are several benefits to spend management automation, regardless of your business size. These benefits include:

An in-depth analysis of all spending

Saving money for your business requires analyzing all aspects of it in order to find cost-cutting opportunities or other areas of improvement. 

Pluto gives you a general overview of your operations in terms of costs, as well as an in-depth analysis of your spending, making it much easier to find what you are looking for.

Maintaining an efficient budget

When it comes to proper spend management, your budget is crucial. But building a proper budget requires that you have both an eagle-eye view of your business, as well as attention to the smaller details. This is made much easier through the use of spend management software.

Control over company spending in real time

It’s much harder to make efficient decisions about your spending when you are basing them on data that is already outdated. 

With Pluto, you’ll be working with real-time data to ensure your decisions are based on current information.

An easier time identifying and eliminating out-of-policy and fraudulent expenditures

It’s harder to reduce out-of-policy spending when you can’t track it effectively. Pluto will help you automatically detect fraudulent and out-of-policy employee expenses and alert you to them.

Payables can be tracked and processed easily

If you are managing your expenses properly and using the right account payable software to do so, you won’t have an issue keeping track of your payables, as well as have a better overview of your spending.

Better negotiations with your suppliers

You can make better decisions when it comes to your supply contracts and purchases when you have real-time data of your expenses.

Using Pluto's unified spend management dashboard, finance teams can always see where money flows. Pluto's procurement software enhances the visibility of financial transactions, enabling more informed decision-making for procurement and sourcing processes.

Budgeting is the key to delivering on your promises, growing your team, enhancing your product offerings, and weathering inevitable economic downturns.

The Problem with a Manual Spend Management Process

Trying to manage business spending without proper oversight and strategies in place is like putting all your home expenses on a credit card without checking the statement every month. You might not know what you are facing until it’s too late. 

If you don't implement intentional spend controls, you may still be profitable, but you won't know when your situation will change or how close you are to the edge. 

The importance of spend control becomes more obvious to companies, especially growing ones, after they face a tight situation or a disruption to their business. As a result of these problems, businesses can experience budget overruns, erratic cash flows, supply chain management issues, and deteriorating customer relations. 

But traditional spend management techniques are limited, which is where the aid of software comes into place. If you limit yourself to manual spend management strategies, you might face the following issues:

  • Outdated spending reports: Traditional methods of managing spend tend to produce spending data that is at least a month old. As a result, finance teams have difficulty identifying and correcting unnecessary spending before the damage is done. 
  • Overspending: Overspending and budget noncompliance are a consequence of finance teams being unable to track real-time spend. Costs like these can quickly add up to cause trouble for tax authorities as well as overspending. 
  • Inefficient strategies due to lack of real-time data: If you lack real-time data and work only based on reports that are outdated, you might be missing the forest for the trees. This could have the effect of optimizing your spending rather than improving your overall business process efficiency. In order to cut costs and optimize operations, real-time spend data is essential. 
  • Manual entry errors: Data entry errors skyrocket if your finance team has to move data between multiple software programs and map employee spending manually. As a result, financial reporting could be delayed. 
  • Issues with remote working and compliance: Employees who work remotely need to pay for other business expenses quickly and in accordance with compliance requirements. The traditional spend management system, with its shared corporate cards and lengthy approval processes, simply cannot keep up.
  • Strained resources: It takes finance teams a long time to manually align expenditures to budgets after the expenditures have been made. This takes up many productive hours and, of course, can lead to errors when entering data. 

How To Manage Company Spending

Managing your company spending is both a science and an art, but much more the former than the latter. 

Each business will have its own unique challenges to overcome when it comes to spending, but there’s still general strategies you can adopt that will fit most situations.

Create a Budget that Accounts for the Future

When it comes to budgeting, you shouldn’t just think about the expenses in front of you, you also have to consider potential unexpected expenses. 

If you limit yourself to budgeting for the present, you’ll have a hard time dealing with expenses that can pop up out of nowhere.

Your budget should be realistic, but also reviewed frequently to ensure it is still appropriate for your business as it grows and evolves. 

Creating a good budget will require that you examine your current and past expenses, take a look at your spending habits, and consider your potential expenses as your business grows. 

This will give you an opportunity to review your existing processes, expense policies, and track expenses that you might not be thinking about.

Use Zero-Based Budgeting

It’s not uncommon for organizations to focus on past expenses and budgets when creating a new one. 

However, businesses and the environments around them change, and so budgets need to change as well. 

That is where zero-based budgeting comes in. This technique creates a new budget from scratch for each budgeting period. The budget is then compared to past budgets and weighed against current expenses.

In a company, zero-based budgeting can be used to keep your expenses under control. Your budget needs to be a living breathing element of your operation, and as such you need to constantly evaluate it to find realistic cost-cutting opportunities and areas that can be made more efficient when it comes to expenses.

Report and Track Your Expenses

Any expenses incurred should be documented and filed as soon as possible. This way, your business expenses are accounted for when filing its tax return. This is one area where the use of spend management software becomes crucial, as it dramatically simplifies the process of reporting and tracking your expenses. Pluto helps to categorize said expenditure, further assisting you when it comes to tax season.

Use a Spend Management Platform to Automate Processes and Digitize Expenses

As your business grows, you’ll find that using a spend management tool to track your expenses saves you a lot of time and money. In addition to tracking expenses, it tends to offer many other features, such as the ability to track invoices, payments, and credits all in one place. 

Furthermore, Pluto gives you the ability to assess your expenses on the go, thanks to mobile apps and online dashboards.

It is easier to keep track of your expenses and receipts by digitizing them. Employees can do this by taking pictures of their receipts as soon as they receive them. These images can then be uploaded and tracked through Pluto.

Automating your approval workflows and processes will help to reduce, if not outright eliminate, human error.

Key Spend Management Software Features

Using spend management software is almost mandatory if you want to make your spend tracking and reporting as efficient as possible. 

When looking to choose a platform, consider the following features:

Complete Control Over Spending Data 

If your finance teams don’t have complete control over spending, real-time data cannot be of much use to your business. 

Pluto allows your business finance managers to streamline and automate processes with superior customizability and control over workflows. 

This freedom allows admins to change or optimize workflows as business/processes scale. 

Real-time and in-depth spend analytics

Managing company funds efficiently is the essence of spend management. In order to do that, you need to keep track of your employee expenses as they occur. 

Pluto records employee expenditures in real time and provides you with a reliable picture of what they are spending. 

You can control expenses by using real-time expense tracking without restricting your employees’ work.

Additionally, Pluto provides your finance team with insights and analytics based on all the data it gets. A feature like this is crucial for proper management, especially if your goal is to cut costs and optimize spending through automation. 

Your finance team will struggle to drive meaningful change without detailed analytics, requiring them to go through reams of data and make sense of it. 

Reports on expenses provide an overview of your expense history, making it easier to track down individual purchases. Maintaining accurate records, limiting expenditures, and avoiding fraud are all made easier with this functionality.

Easy to Use

The most advanced software in the world is worthless if no one wants to use it. Simplicity and ease of use of essential business software, such as spend management, should therefore be a priority. 

You might find, for instance, that employees don't use your spend management software if they find it clunky and difficult to use. This can result in a manual spend reporting process that is time-consuming and error-prone. 

A lot of time is spent by businesses storing and processing invoices, receipts, and purchase orders. 

Pluto makes it easy to retrieve and keep track of essential documents, including matching documents to authenticate transactions, for record keeping and due diligence.

An all-in-one platform

Your spend management platform should be a centralized solution for all your spending needs. Keeping all company spending in one place, in real time, is more efficient (and more secure) than using multiple smaller tools. 

Pluto has it all: 

- Unlimited virtual cards

- Efficient reimbursements

- Spend management platform

- Real-time analytics

- Real-time spend control

Essentially, anything that will allow you not only manage your expenses, but really take you spending under control and make sure that everything is at it's maximal eff

Key Takeaways

Managing your company spending is a crucial aspect of company growth that is sometimes overlooked. Proper spending management strategies can help you find cost-cutting opportunities, gain a better overview of the health of your business, and simplify your tax reporting to avoid penalties.

When it comes to developing effective spending management strategies, you should focus on creating a budget that can evolve with your organization, reporting and tracking your expenses in real time, and using a spend management platform to automate and simplify your expense tracking and reporting.

Find out how much your business can save with Pluto

Discover your savings with Pluto's Cost Saving Calculator and take control of your expenses. Unlock cost-efficiency now!

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Learn how Pluto is helping Keyper        to eliminate petty cash spending and optimize spend management

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At Pluto Card, our mission is to assist businesses of all scales make well-informed choices. To uphold our standards, we follow editorial guidelines to guarantee that our content consistently aligns with our high-quality benchmarks.

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5
All
Procurement
November 15, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Top 7 Accounts Payable Software in 2024

Processing bills is the most difficult part of procurement. 

Bill payments are often mistakenly duplicated, goods aren’t received as per purchase orders, or there are delays in the approval workflow. 

An accounts payable software makes the process hassle-free by automating approvals and payments and giving more visibility and control over your accounts payable (AP). It also enhances reconciliation and improves vendor relationships. 

While the core job to be done by an AP manager is to ensure good vendor relationships, manage between timely payments & cash flow, ensure compliance in payments, what you need is a solution that supports your organization’s finances in one place and ends the chaotic back and forth. 

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What is Accounts payable software?

Accounts payable (AP) software is a tool that helps businesses automate invoice and vendor payments via a centralized platform. An accounts payable automation software brings together all the key information into a single source of truth and enables teams to do the following:

  • Tracks bills and their statuses to avoid double payments
  • Enables two-way and three-way goods received note (GRN) & PO matching 
  • Supports customizable approval workflows for complete visibility
  • Supports local and international payments via various payment methods

Thus, AP software simplifies the payment processes and reduces unnecessary friction between finance, procurement & other teams. 

Top 7 accounts payable software in 2024

Here are the top 7 AP platforms for businesses. 

Based on your company size and needs, you can pick one of these to support your accounts payable.

1. Pluto

Accounts payable software by Pluto

Pluto is an accounts payable software that transforms your AP processes by simplifying bill processing. From enabling GRN matching to setting fully customizable multi-layer approval workflows, it is the best accounts payable solution to manage your vendor payments and relationships. 

Key features:

  • Facilitates three-way GRN matching with purchase orders and item-based matching
  • Consolidates approved invoices in a single window to highlight pending bills and avoid delays
  • Offers a flexible approval engine capable of managing intricate hierarchies without requiring technical expertise
  • Enables multi-layer invoice approvals with policies to align with your company's structure
  • Ability to upload invoices easily via WhatsApp images and emails directly to speed up the receipt capture process
  • A centralized dashboard to gather bills in one place and track the status to avoid double payments
  • Vendor-specific corporate cards to control budgets and detect irrelevant expenses
  • Enables creation of a preferred vendors list for quick payments 
  • Supports local and international wire transfers to make payments 
  • OCR technology minimizes manual data entry by creating and populating bills from invoices
  • Supports ERP integration to synchronize your vendors, POs, and bills and integrates with accounting software such as Oracle, NetSuite, Zoho, Quickbooks, Wafeq, Xero, etc.
  • Raises alerts for upcoming payments, enables scheduling payments in advance and automates invoices 
  • Provides a complete audit trail of the process to ensure visibility at each step
  • Shows real-time analytics to facilitate deep insights for supporting budget control

Pricing:

Request the sales team for a custom quote.

Pros:

  • Enables branch- and subsidiary-level spend tracking (not offered by other platforms)
  • Offers up to 2% cashback on all non-AED transactions 
  • Independent PCI DSS Level 1 certification
  • SSO/SAML Capabilities for Enterprises
  • Integrates with Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics
  • Better Forex rates than most local banks 
  • Multiple integration options

Cons:

  • Integrates with all other major ERPs except Tally
  • Slightly longer on-boarding due to corporate card offering 

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2. Tipalti

Accounts payable solution by Tipalti

Tipalti is an automation tool that supports end-to-end AP processes. It helps you streamline accounts payables and make global payments in local currencies for various recipients, from suppliers to freelancers. The cloud-based platform helps finance teams manage payments without losing visibility and control. 

Key features:

  • Supports supplier onboarding and vetting to ensure supplier reliability and trustworthiness
  • Integrates with ERP and accounting systems to help with reconciliation reporting
  • Uses OCR to scan, capture, match, and process invoice data to reduce manual errors
  • Provides built-in approval workflows and payment scheduling 
  • Offers invoice processing, including two-way and three-way PO matching and approval to avoid overpayments
  • Assists AP processes for subsidiaries and entities

Pricing:

Starts at $129 per month per user for the platform fee and charges for additional features separately.

Pros:

  • Can manage supplier bank account details in a secure environment

Cons:

  • Cannot use it for prepayment invoices on inventory purchases with the ERP system
  • High foreign currency exchange fees
  • Tax forms can be difficult to fill out and very difficult if you do not speak English

3. Airbase

AP solution by Airbase

Airbase is an automation solution for managing global AP processes. It focuses on ensuring compliance and syncing with your accounting tool to streamline the payment process. 

Key features: 

  • Offers OCR to populate details, including general ledger (GL) category, date, amount, and purpose
  • Supports onboarding with a self-service vendor portal and custom questionnaires
  • Has a centralized dashboard with all key information about the invoice to avoid friction 
  • Accepts invoices from email or vendor portal across all subsidiaries
  • Offers automated approval workflows based on multiple parameters, such as vendor, amount, GL category, etc.
  • Enables three-way invoice matching to ensure compliance and reduce wasted spend
  • Facilitates payments and approvals, including multi-subsidiary support, international currency, and real-time GL sync
  • Real-time audit trail with receipts, notes, and documentation for transparency

Pricing: Request a custom quote.

Pros:

  • Intuitive and easy to use; no training or previous knowledge required
  • Seamless approval workflows

Cons:

  • The mobile app is slow and takes time to load pages 
  • SSO-based login is not smooth
  • Not suitable for complex branch-level approvals and expenses

4. Ramp

Ramp's Accounts payable platform

Ramp is an accounts payable solution designed to manage payments and business expenses. It automates bill entries, approvals, and payments while offering complete visibility and control. By tracking each AP step from data recording to approvals, it simplifies payment processing and takes the burden off teams. 

Key features:

  • Uses AI to automatically extract key details from invoices to offer accuracy and eliminate data-entry errors
  • Identifies duplicate invoices and helps with two-way matching to purchase orders
  • Offers custom approval workflows to minimize errors and ensure timely payments 
  • Provides a unified dashboard with visibility into the status of invoices
  • Consolidates multiple payment options, such as check, card, same-day ACH, or international wire
  • Integrates with accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks, Xero, Oracle NetSuite, Sage, etc. for auto-sync bill pay transactions
  • Supports international payment processing in multiple currencies 
  • Tracks vendor data and transactions for easy reporting and data-driven decisions

Pricing:

Three pricing packages—free or basic features, $15 per user per month for Ramp Plus, and custom quote for enterprises with features like enterprise ERP integration, custom implementation, and local card issuance. 

Pros:

  • Works with multiple subsidiaries
  • Offers cash back on credit card purchases made using VISA cards

Cons:

  • Can’t unmatch an incorrectly matched invoice (invoice to credit card)
  • Approval routing can only be set on the vendor level, not department level
  • Limitations in syncing repayments

5. Bill

Accounts payable software by Bill

Bill is a spend management solution for SMBs to control payables, receivables, expenses, and all corporate expenses. It allows businesses to streamline scattered AP processes into a single platform and gain more control over their finances. 

Key features:

  • Enables tailored approval processes to facilitate approvals with minimal hassle
  • Automates purchase order workflows with the option for automated two-way and three-way matching
  • Simplifies expense reconciliation through quick coding and integration with accounting systems
  • Automates receipt matching, categorization, and expense reporting, decreasing administrative tasks
  • Syncs with all major accounting systems like QuickBooks, Sage, Intacct, and NetSuite
  • OCR auto-populates invoices for data entry
  • Provides bulk payments of approved invoices with payment choices, such as ACH, credit cards, checks, and international wire transfers
  • Offers audit trail of any changes or actions related to the invoice on a single page

Pricing: Provides a free trial and essentials pack starting at $45 for six standard user roles. Its team and corporate pack are for $55 and $79, respectively. Enterprises need to request a custom quote.

Pros:

  • One-click swift payments
  • Minimum training required
  • Easy-to-use mobile app

Cons:

  • Customer support is difficult to initiate, slow, and unresponsive
  • Frequent changes in the interface create confusion for users
  • Limited customization options for reporting 

6. Melio

AP Software by Melio

Melio is a bill payment tool that enables businesses to pay via bank transfer and debit cards. Even when the vendor accepts only checks, it pays checks on your behalf to facilitate bill processing. It processes payments and issues checks without the payee having to use the platform. It is a tool suitable for small businesses to process payments without hassle. 

Key features:

  • Enables payments via credit card even when the vendor doesn’t accept the card to support deferred payments
  • Allows inviting additional users (such as accountants) to set up roles and permissions and manage approvals easily
  • Supports two-way sync with QuickBooks and Xero
  • Facilitates bulk payments and split payments (splitting bills into multiple payments) 
  • Offers international payments across the border 
  • Raises duplicate payment alerts to assist in fraud detection

Pricing:

Free to process ACH payments to vendors; charges a fee for other payment modes (check Melio pricing)

Pros:

  • Offers a free-to-use payment module (only with QuickBook)

Cons:

  • Lack of integration with accounting software
  • Turnaround time on a check is three business days 
  • Support is very limited
  • Limits payments to two checks per month 

7. Spendesk

Spendesk: Accounts payable platform

Spendesk automates the AP process by bringing together purchase orders and invoices to facilitate budgets, payments, and approvals. It creates a single source of truth to cut hours of manual work and detect errors better. It is a cloud-based software that improves budget control and financial reporting. 

Key features:

  • Offers a centralized platform for tracking payments right from the purchase order stage 
  • Supports invoice capture via email and image/file upload
  • Uses OCR to extract key information from the invoice, such as supplier name, amount, dates, and purchase details
  • Enables budget changes in real time without a manual data-entry system
  • Allows scheduling of payments and matching of purchase orders with the invoice for effective GRN matching
  • Provides customizable and built-in approval workflows and controls to monitor spending 
  • Raises alerts for duplicate invoices to enable teams to avoid overpayments and defect frauds

Pricing:

Request a custom quote.

Pros:

  • Super convenient for ad-hoc expenses 
  • Intuitive and interactive interface
  • Easy manual upload in case OCR doesn’t support receipt capture  

Cons: 

  • Glitchy virtual card payments with delayed notifications and declined transactions
  • OCR-based receipt capture only works for emails
  • Basic features like memorizing accounting patterns for vendors are only available in the paid module

What are the benefits of accounts payable software?

Adopting AP software helps you in the following ways: 

  • Gives real-time visibility into the status of invoices and payments
  • Provides insights into spending patterns, vendor performance, etc.
  • Streamlines payment and approval workflows, leading to smoother payment processes and vendor relationships

How to choose a good accounts payable Software

Ease of use

The AP software must be flexible to accommodate complex hierarchies without making it difficult to follow the workflows. It should offer trigger-based workflows and a clean user interface. Your team shouldn’t struggle to learn how to use the product and rely on the support team to get basic invoices cleared. 

Multiple payment options

From local transactions to international wire transfers and other digital payment options, AP software must support multiple payment options. It becomes easier with vendor-specific cards that make payments safe and fast. Pluto helps you set up vendor-specific cards, even for public relations officers. This is something most platforms on the market do not support.

Accurate data capture

AP software with OCR capabilities makes invoice processing faster and reduces errors. The ability to process invoices from different platforms and sources, such as emails, Slack, and WhatsApp, is required. Moreover, moving these captured invoices into the centralized database and syncing with accounting software eliminates the manual data entry task.

Approval workflow

Approval workflows are key for timely and accurate payments. An AP software must have a simple no-code workflow builder, even for complex hierarchies. This is especially useful for large organizations where this process can be intricate and long. 

Integration

Vendor payments need to be recorded across accounting systems for effective reconciliation. The AP software must integrate with your accounting systems and platforms to automate data entry and facilitate a synchronized record-keeping system.

Centralized dashboard

The AP software should offer a dedicated dashboard with all the key information such as vendor, invoice number, status, description, etc. Also, it must give a separate centralized view for expense tracking. This gives you visibility into where you spend the most and helps you optimize resource allocation. 

Supports GRN matching

The AP software interface must be designed in such a way that it supports GRN matching, both two-way and three-way matching. Be it in the form of OCR invoice capture or offering item-based matching capabilities. This will avoid any under- or over-payments and support a healthy vendor relationship. Also, this eliminates complications in the reconciliation process.   

Reporting 

Reporting capabilities of AP software help to identify the spending patterns and other key insights related to department-specific expenses, budgeting, etc. Hence, AP software must provide a dedicated reporting dashboard with the option to export the reports for enhanced analytics and reporting. 

Transforming Accounts Payable with the Right Software

Accounts payable is not just about clearing bills and vendor payments. It is the basis for vendor relationship management and proper order in financial processes. From getting approvals to matching GRN, you need software that offers ease of use with the right blend of functionality. 

Too complex of a product will leave your employees confused, leading to double work. Lack of customization will have teams work harder to adopt the product. Limited integration will have the accounting department working twice as much on data entry and syncing. 

Make the right decision and choose software that gives you control, customization, security and speed, all while embracing automation capabilities. 

Book a demo and discover how a simple automation tool transforms your AP process.

Disclaimer: The comparisons and rankings of accounts payable software competitors in this article are based primarily on reviews found online. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, these reviews are subjective and reflect the opinions of the users who posted them. The information presented is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as a definitive guide for choosing a software provider. We encourage readers to conduct their own research and consider their specific needs before making a decision.

5
All
Updates
March 23, 2023

Leen Shami

Ramadan Benefits in the Workplace: A Guide to the UAE and MENA Region

The month of Ramadan provides HR Managers with the opportunity to take the initiative in their organization and implement a benefit program for employees and to remind them to support their Muslim colleagues during this holy month.

What are the benefits of implementing a Ramadan employee benefits program?

Employees who observe Ramadan may require special considerations in order to maintain a high level of performance.

The main goal of any corporate environment is to get the best possible results, but this can only be achieved if your team is given a supportive environment.

During Ramadan, HR managers and employers should consider implementing employee benefits programs to ensure that their employees are able to fulfill their religious commitments while feeling supported by their companies.  

By doing so, you will help ensure that every member of your team has access to the resources they need to be productive and successful.

Employee benefits program

Flexible working hours

Allow employees to come in late or leave early during Ramadan, modify their hours so they can work when they feel the most energized,and be able to take part in religious activities such as prayers while still being productive at work.

Remote or hybrid work

Remote or hybrid work can provide employees with more flexibility and autonomy to manage their work and religious obligations during Ramadan, allowing them to maintain their productivity and well-being while observing the holy month's spiritual practices.

Set up dedicated prayer spaces

Having dedicated prayer spaces can help employees maintain their spiritual practices during the workday. This is particularly important during Ramadan when employees may need to perform their daily prayers. Providing these spaces can make it easier for employees to observe their religious obligations without having to leave the workplace or worry about finding a suitable location to pray.

Accommodate dietary needs

Provide employees with food options that meets all dietary needs, so they can break their fast at the office if needed.

Examples of foods that are commonly used to break the fast:

  • Dates
  • Dried fruits
  • Ayran (yogurt drink)
  • Soups
  • Sambusak ( pastry filled with cheese or meat)

Inclusivity

 Promote open dialogue between employees of different faiths to foster an inclusive workplace environment. Consider arranging a presentation for those who would like to learn more about Ramadan and Islam.

Gift and Bonus Programs

Corporate gift and bonus programs during Ramadan can take many forms, but the underlying purpose is to show appreciation to employees for their efforts and to strengthen the relationship between the employer and employees.

Here are some common examples of corporate gift and bonus programs during Ramadan:

Eid al-Fitr bonus

It could be an additional incentive where employers give their employees an additional payment or bonus at the end of Ramadan to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of fasting.

Corporate gifts

Companies may offer gifts such as food hampers, prayer mats, and other religious items to their employees during Ramadan as a way to show appreciation and respect for their faith.

You could also delight your employees with a gift that they can use to enjoy dinner with their families. One way of doing this is by issuing Pluto corporate cards for your employees with an allocated budget on them. For e.g., you can issue a your employee a Pluto corporate card with a 500 AED spend limit to be used a restaurant of their choice.

Charitable donations

Some companies may choose to make charitable donations on behalf of their employees during Ramadan as a way to give back to the community and show solidarity with those in need.

You can add on to that by giving your employees the opportunity to pick what charity they would like the company to donate to.

It's worth noting that corporate gift and bonus programs during Ramadan should not be seen as an obligation or a substitute for fair compensation and benefits throughout the year. Rather, they are a way to show appreciation and strengthen the relationship between employer and employees.

Iftar and Suhoor Programs

Iftar and Suhoor are the two main meals that Muslims consume during Ramadan. 

Iftar is the meal that is eaten after breaking the fast at sunset, while suhoor is the pre-dawn meal that is eaten before the fast begins.

These meals have significant cultural and religious importance, and hosting iftar and suhoor programs can provide a sense of community and inclusivity in the workplace during Ramadan.

Importance of iftar and suhoor programs

Iftar and suhoor programs provide the opportunity for employees to come together and share in the spiritual significance of Ramadan.

These types of activities are also beneficial for team building, as they create an atmosphere of camaraderie among colleagues and foster a stronger work culture.

Its importance can be categorized into three main points:

  1. Connection: Sharing a meal with colleagues can help to strengthen connections and build relationships, fostering a sense of community in the workplace.
  2. Cultural awareness: Hosting iftar and suhoor programs can provide an opportunity for employees of different backgrounds and faiths to learn about Ramadan and its traditions.
  3. Appreciation: Providing meals for employees during these times shows that the company values and appreciates its employees and their religious beliefs.

Examples of iftar and suhoor programs for employees and how to host one:

  • Potluck iftar: Organize a potluck iftar at the office, where employees bring their favorite dish to share with their colleagues.
  • Company-sponsored iftar: Host an iftar event at a restaurant,  where the company provides food and drinks for employees to break their fast [see list of recommended restaurants below].
  • Virtual iftar: For remote workers or those who cannot attend in person, host a virtual iftar.
  • Charity iftar: Host an iftar event where a portion of the proceeds goes to a charity or non-profit organization. (Please make sure you are in line with UAE charity regulations before doing so. Learn more here)
  • Catered iftar: Hire a catering company to provide a full meal for employees to break their fast [see list of recommended catering companies below].
  • Suhoor breakfast: Host a breakfast event before the start of the workday for employees who are fasting.
  • Iftar meal delivery: Deliver meals to employees who are working late or unable to attend the in-person event.
  • Ramadan decorations: Decorate the workplace with Ramadan-themed decorations to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Ramadan trivia: Host a trivia game related to Ramadan and its traditions during the iftar or suhoor event.
  • Ramadan volunteer day: Organize a volunteer day where employees can give back to the community during the month of Ramadan.

Prayer programs

Observing taraweeh and Laylat al-Qadr during Ramadan helps Muslims to deepen their faith and spirituality, and it provides an opportunity to reflect on their actions and intentions throughout the year.

An employee prayer program during Ramadan can have numerous benefits for companies and their employees, including promoting diversity and inclusion, improving morale and relationships, and fulfilling social responsibility.

Taraweeh

Taraweeh prayers are additional prayers that Muslims perform during the holy month of Ramadan after the Isha prayer. These prayers are performed in congregation and typically consist of 8 to 20 cycles of prayer, depending on the tradition.

Companies can host taraweeh prayers at a mosque or the office on specific days of the week, such as Tuesdays, to create a sense of belonging and inclusivity among employees.

Laylet al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr, also known as the Night of Power, is considered to be one of the holiest nights in Islam. It is believed to be the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, and it is said to be a night of forgiveness and mercy.

With laylat al-qadr being the most important night of Ramadan, it is important for your company to offer benefits during this day, such as:

  • Consider giving the following day as PTO, since most Muslims stay up all night in prayer and reflection.
  • Offer a transportation stipend to the mosque in order to show the company’s support of their employees religious beliefs.
  • You can do so using Pluto’s platform by offereing a one-time purchase card with a set limit that can only be used with taxis, Careems, Uber or for gas.

Ramadan email templates that can be shared with employees

There is a lot to take care of when preparing for Ramadan. We've put together some sample email templates for various corporate initiatives to make your job easier.

Email Template 1: Announcing flexible working hours during Ramadan

Subject: Ramadan Working Hours

Dear [Employee Name],

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, we would like to inform you that we will be implementing flexible working hours during this time to accommodate those who will be observing the fast.

Our office will be open from [start time] to [end time]. We understand that some employees may need to adjust their schedules due to the early morning and evening prayers, as well as breaking their fast in the evenings.

If you need to adjust your working hours, please speak to your line manager, who will be happy to discuss the best option for you.

Our company values diversity and inclusivity, and we hope that this initiative will help our employees observe Ramadan comfortably.

We wish all our staff observing Ramadan a blessed month, and may you get the best out of this spiritual journey.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Email Template 2: Announcing company charitable donations during Ramadan

Subject: Ramadan Charitable Donations

Dear [Employee Name],

As we approach the holy month of Ramadan, we would like to remind you that our company values generosity and charitable giving. In line with this, we have decided to make a donation to [charity name], which supports [cause].

We believe that this is a great opportunity to give back to those in need and demonstrate our commitment to making a positive impact in the community. We hope that this donation will inspire you to consider making a charitable contribution during this holy month.

Thank you for being part of our company, and we wish you a blessed Ramadan.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Email Template 3: Inviting employees to an Iftar meal

Subject: [Company Name] invites you  to an Iftar Meal

Dear [Employee Name],

We would like to invite you to an Iftar meal on [date and time], which will be held at [location]. This event is an opportunity for our employees to come together and break their fasts as a community.

Please RSVP to [email/phone number] by [RSVP deadline] to confirm your attendance. If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate them.

We hope that this event will be an enjoyable experience for everyone and that it will help to strengthen our company culture.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication, and we wish you a blessed Ramadan.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Corporate gifting list

Iftar or suhoor restaurant list

  • Asateer Tent at Atlantis the Palm
  • Sufra
  • The Majlis
  • Allo Beirut
  • Hutong
  • Terrace on the Corniche at St. Regis Abu Dhabi
  • The Royal Majlis
  • Eunoia By Carine
  • Bombay Bungalow
  • Brasserie Boulud
  • Ibn AlBahr
  • Al Falak Ballroom
  • Karam Al Bahr

Company catering list

  • Ogram
  • Blast catering
  • Eat catering
  • The Majlis
  • Dish

Conclusion

Ultimately, providing Ramadan benefits demonstrates an employer and HR's commitment to promoting diversity and religious freedom in the workplace.

It also helps create a sense of community among employees that can lead to increased morale, collaboration, communication, and overall productivity.

By offering an employee benefits program during the holy month of Ramadan, employers can show their dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all of their employees, regardless of faith or background.

Ramadan benefits can thus be an important part of workplace culture, helping to create a positive atmosphere in which everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued.

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Updates
December 7, 2023

Mohammed Ridwan

Pluto Wins Big at the MENA Fintech Awards

The MENA Fintech Awards, a prestigious event within the financial technology industry, recently celebrated the most innovative and impactful solutions in the sector. 

We at Pluto are thrilled to announce that our company has been honoured with the 'Best Corporate Solution' award! This recognition is a testament to our team's hard work, dedication, and innovative approach in the fintech space.

Our co-founders, having spent a considerable part of their lives in the UAE. Working within the fintech sector, identified a significant gap in the region's finance sector. They observed that the tools, platforms, and software available to CFOs and finance teams were not only outdated but also overly complex, hindering efficient financial management.

With Pluto, they embarked on a mission to develop a software solution that would change how mid to enterprise level businesses handled their finances. 

The MENA Fintech Awards, organised in collaboration with the MENA Fintech Association, are designed to recognize excellence and innovation in financial technology. These awards are a highlight of the Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFinanceWeek), an event that fosters innovation and growth in the fintech sector. The 'Best Corporate Solution' category, in which we were victorious, emphasises practical, innovative solutions that address significant corporate financial challenges.

Our award-winning solution, the Pluto Card, addresses various corporate financial management needs. It offers features like employee reimbursements, petty cash management, and an efficient account payable cycle, along with robust accounting integrations. 

Winning the 'Best Corporate Solution' award at the MENA Fintech Awards is not just an honor but also a motivation for our future endeavours. We are excited about our upcoming initiatives, which include further enhancements to the Pluto Card and expanding our market reach to serve more businesses globally.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the organisers of the MENA Fintech Awards and ADFinanceWeek, the judges for recognizing our efforts, and most importantly, our dedicated team and loyal customers. Your support and trust in our solution have been invaluable!