9 Problems with Using Jira for Spend Management

An issue-tracking software product developed by Atlassian, Jira is a useful tool for bug tracking and project management. Its many integrations, user-friendly interface, and flexibility allow teams to improve their workflow efficiency. 

However, because of its ticketing capabilities, some teams have started using Jira for functions outside of issue tracking. One such area is spend management. While Jira may have some of the capabilities necessary to do the job (albeit crudely), it falls short on the critical functionality a modern finance team needs to manage spend. Here’s why:

Transactions don’t attach to requests

Requests can be tracked as they come in, but once a request is approved or denied, that’s the end of it. What actually happens with the money is unknown, or at least is not linked in any way to the original request. Without this connection, finance is left with a series of disparate requests and transactions and has to guess to put them together. Have you ever tried to upload your credit card statement to Jira? Yeah…neither have we.

Approval routing is centralized

Through Jira’s software, employees can only send requests to a central destination. If the request needs to go somewhere else, it must be manually re-routed. This forces an individual or team to serve as a “router” and potential bottleneck for all purchase requests. In some cases this may be insufficient to fully enforce a purchasing policy. In others, it can be too heavy-handed for more trivial transactions. 

Approved requests receive unlimited funds

If a request is approved, employees get a card with no enforceable spending limit—basically a blank check. There’s nothing stopping employees from spending more money than originally requested, and no way to gain visibility into the delta until you get your card statement at the end of the month and cross-reference

Controls are only ostensible

Jira, and other home-grown spend management tools like Google forms, aren’t enforceable. Such platforms give the appearance of a formal process, but lack the actual controls necessary for a legitimate policy. There’s no way to ensure the transaction matches the request. Furthermore, some employees, particularly more tenured and “trusted” individuals, may skirt around the system, which results in unauthorized and unaccounted for spending. Auditors, investors, and regulators will scoff because, again, Jira is effectively just a check-box. 

It creates more manual labor

Even though Jira is a software platform, it actually creates more manual work around spend management. It is not automated for this use case, so someone must be responsible for creating, managing, and closing purchase request tickets. Not only must you manually reconcile the card charges, but also match them to a makeshift PO. This creates excess work for requestors, approvers, and administrators alike. 

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    It can become expensive

    Jira is priced per user, so the cost of the software can skyrocket as companies add employees to the system. This is especially an issue when employees don’t need Jira for their normal work, but still require a Jira license just to make purchase requests. With more and more employees across an organization needing to make purchases, scaling Jira for spend management isn’t cost effective.

    The user experience isn’t enjoyable

    Because it wasn’t designed for spend management, Jira is not easy to use for this purpose. The system is clunky, and employees may seek workarounds or directly ask their manager for a card rather than adhere to the process. As the system feels quite bureaucratic, employees may well regard it as a barrier to them doing their jobs instead of a tool that facilitates it. 

    It isn’t integrated with your existing workflows

    Your workforce may leverage a lot of different software tools to do their jobs. This means numerous usernames, passwords, and web addresses to keep track of—and Jira is yet another. Employees, especially those who only make one-off purchases, might not remember where to go to request funds. Although infrequent, this type of spend is unpredictable and must be tracked. Jira is so far removed from people’s everyday tasks that it’s just another system for them to deal with.

    It’s inefficient

    Overall, using Jira for spend management results in operational inefficiency and time lost across the organization. The system is clunky, unenforceable and, perhaps more important for growing companies, not scalable.

    How to solve these problems

    Jira is a great issue-tracking and project management tool. It is not a great spend management tool, which makes sense given that it was not purpose-built for that use case. But Teampay was. 

    Teampay zeroes in on the problems caused by distributed spend and offers a complete solution. Your company’s purchasing policy is coded into the software, giving you proactive and enforceable controls.

    Every purchase request starts as a conversation in Slack, on the web, or our app—wherever employees already are. This means there’s no new system to learn how to use.

    Purchase requests are routed through a set of infinitely-customizable approval rules that allow users to establish policies based on amount, category, department, vendor, etc. No need for a centralized router. 

    Once approved, Teampay creates an audit trail of the request, approval, and connects that directly to a virtual card, physical card, purchase order or reimbursement.

    Teampay’s pricing encourages rollout to every individual in an organization. This makes it easy for all employees to make purchases and finance teams to have visibility into company spend.