Most business leaders know: You need to spend money to make money.
As organizations grow, their need to spend company dollars will only grow, as more employees join the fold and more business opportunities present themselves. TripActions has written quite a bit of content about why managing these expenses is so important.
And one key tool can help make that spending easier. The corporate card offers a flexible means of payment that can track employee spending and collect granular data points across teams and departments. But just because you pass out a card to every employee doesn’t mean they will use them properly…or at all.
Here’s how to ensure your employees will use the corporate card correctly and efficiently.
Processes exist so that business runs smoothly in all facets of a company. As with processes for submitting design edits, booking client meetings, or filing year-end taxes, teams work better when they have a set of guidelines to follow.
The same practice occurs when using a corporate card. If employees are unaware of how much they can spend, where and when they can spend, and what they can spend on, it creates unnecessary tension and uneasiness. During business travel, the last thing your employees want to consider is whether their next meal is covered or if they are allowed to grab rideshare to the office.
Setting controls and policy reaches a new level of duty of care when both employees and financial leaders can benefit from the peace of mind that corporate cards offer.
With greater power comes great responsibility, and the same goes for corporate cards. Begin by setting up clear definitions of expense policies, following these guidelines. Then set spending limits for every employee who is offered a physical or virtual copy of the corporate card.
What these limits look like will vary and will likely change over time as finance teams develop a better understanding of which departments need which funds for which needs.
These spending limits can vary depending on where employees live or operate. A per diem of $50 a day for food and beverage in Omaha, say, will probably go further than in New York City.
It’s also essential to deploy multiple types of spending limits. For example, you can have a spending limit for each meal and a cumulative limit per week or month. This format ensures that employees spend company money within reason on individual items and on a cumulative basis.
When choosing a corporate card for your company, it’s imperative to employ one that not only auto-approves the spending limits established in the above section but also allows for flagging expenses, to create more in-depth approval processes.
Manually approving every cup of coffee that comes through the system is obviously tedious and time-consuming. It’s also completely unnecessary. Modern corporate card solutions can automate many of these transactions, thanks to built-in policy controls. In other words, your finance teams won’t mind when 1,200 employees have access to corporate cards, because the card will do a chunk of the automated work for them.
For larger purchases or transactions that typically fall out of policy, establishing a clear communication channel between admins, managers, and employees can clear up any confusion around what is appropriate spend. This is where the next element comes into play.
With the policies set and in-policy expenses automated, all finance teams need is a way to view all of this spend and expedite expense reporting. Because, as TripActions and almost every other corporate company knows, no employee actually wants to file an expense report.
In the past several years, a shift has occurred from all sides of the corporate card and expense management equation. Organizations expect better visibility, control, and automation of their spend, and employees expect a digital-first, consumer-like experience.
By attaching an expense management solution to corporate cards, those automated expenses are uploaded directly into the expense reporting system for accounting teams to file and code correctly—without an expense report ever gracing their desks.
By eliminating expense reports and paper receipts, corporate cards also remove the possibility of human error and create more efficient workflows. Automating corporate card transactions also frees up manager bandwidth and keeps a detailed database of approved and accumulated spend.
Just like every company is unique, so is every corporate card solution. When looking for a way to make internal processes easier for financial teams, consider these obstacles that corporate cards can help companies overcome:
Not all corporate card systems are built the same. And when it comes to a card that employees want to adopt and use repeatedly, TripActions checks all the boxes.
With TripActions, companies can combine corporate cards with an award-winning expense management solution that covers the entire spend ecosystem, eliminating the manual processes and high transaction fees associated with other corporate card providers.
Take Premier Talent Partners. After deploying TripActions' all-in-one solution, the company saw a 100% adoption rate and a 97% adoption rate of TripActions mobile services.
“From an end-user perspective,” said Shellie Roanhaus, executive assistant to Premier’s CEO, “many of our employees have commented that having a TripActions corporate card is very much a benefit to them, as they’ve come from organizations where they had to pay out of pocket for company expenses and wait to get reimbursed.”
Additionally, corporate cards tied to a the innovative TripActions spend management system enable companies to generate more ROI by reducing processing costs, preventing fraud, and providing insightful data that connects revenue to spend.
Companies reap the benefits of automated approvals, corporate smart cards, and streamlined reconciliation. And who will miss expense reports? With TripActions, everyone from traveling employees to accounts payable specialists and CFOs will experience the efficiencies that modern expense management offers.
Ready to streamline company spending and implement an all-in-one travel and expense management solution? Schedule a demo to see how our spend solutions work, or get up and running with TripActions in just 5 minutes.