Search the hashtag #companycreditcard on Twitter, and it will reveal some interesting habits from employees entrusted with the company plastic. While many posts are innocent fun and typically boastful jibes among social media friends, it raises questions: How can you control company credit-card spend? And, how do you limit abuse of this little pocket perk that your employees value so highly?
There are many sound reasons to issue a company credit card to your employees, especially those who travel on a regular basis or work remotely. Utilizing company cards can give your business complete visibility into who spent what, where, and why, generating insight and opportunities to negotiate better rates with vendors.
Read this checklist for tips on managing costs and cash flow to stay resilient.
How to manage company card use
The Twitter stories can cause a chuckle, but all joking aside – accidental use or intentional misuse of company credit cards can be costly. So, what can you do to make sure the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to issuing employees a company credit card? Here are our top seven tips for success.
1. Set expectations. Companies issuing credit cards should create an expense policy that, as a best practice, includes an annual card user agreement for employees to sign. Be clear on how the company credit card should be used, including the user’s responsibilities, the types of expenses they can incur, and the proof of purchase they need to provide with each item. Clearly outline the disciplinary process for non-compliance—and enforce it.
2. Limit liabilities. Set spending limits for certain items like hotel rooms and establish overall spending caps to limit your liabilities. Review limits on a regular basis to ensure they’re still reasonable and not being exploited. Corporate cards also offer tools like Merchant Category Code controls to restrict where cards are used. Some providers even let you control the times and days of the week when cards can be used. And, of course, be sure to cancel and collect cards from employees when they leave the company.
3. Monitor spend. It’s good practice to monitor all spending. Look for items bought for personal use or items that users may try to reclaim again via your usual expenses reclaim process, sometimes called double-dipping.
4. Require receipts. While you may not require receipts for expense reclaim or you’ve set a spend threshold for requiring them, it’s still a best practice to insist on receipts for all purchases, particularly if you wish to reclaim the VAT that you may be entitled to.
5. Set alerts. Your credit card provider can notify you of suspicious activity or attempts to use the card outside of its intended purpose. Make the most of these alerts.
6. Approve and control. Require supervisors or approving managers to accept every credit card statement from employees on their teams. And appoint a designated controller who’s responsible for ensuring everyone follows these guidelines.
7. Consider digitizing expenses.
By automating your expenses, all transactions flow directly into a single platform, giving you a clear, up-to-date view of spending across all cardholders and spending categories—not just on a monthly basis when statements arrive. While corporate cards are an important tool for helping control spending, moving from a paper-and-spreadsheet-based expense process to a live, automated process gives you more comprehensive and proactive control over your costs.
To learn more about controlling spend, download the eBook 5 Ways Finance Automation Can Help Your Growing Business.