Finance News & Insights

Corporate cards: Optimizing your company’s program now

Today, businesses everywhere are seeing the benefits of corporate cards – quicker payments, more controls, greater cost savings.

So, it’s no surprise nearly half of companies (40%) plan to spend more on their card program this year, found a new survey report from Strategic Treasurer.

When it comes to what type of card programs companies plan to focus on, the top three cited were:

  • A/P purchasing cards (66%)
  • T&E cards (54%), and
  • virtual cards (31%).

Since a higher focus on card programs also points to more card use, you employees must be well-equipped to handle the shift in payment practices.

The top 10

One surefire way to guarantee that? Maintain a bulletproof card policy.

According to auditor Don Holdegraver, these are 10 items your company’s policy should include:

  1. A list of responsibilities of each individual involved on the administration side. This way, each card program stakeholder knows their specific duties – and card users know who to turn to for help or guidance.
  2. An outline of allowable and non-allowable expenses. Getting specific is key here. Broad or vague descriptions will make it difficult for users (and your finance staffers) to determine what’s out of policy.
  3. Training requirements. What initial training is needed before a card is issued to an employee? Over time, how often do employees need refresher training?
  4. Set-up documentation requirements. What information is needed before an employee can be issued a card?
  5. Details on when and how charges are reconciled and approved. This ensures everyone’s following the same practices, instead of operating on a case-by-case or manager-by-manager basis.
  6. Consequences for card misuse. Citing concrete examples of consequences that will directly follow misuse will demonstrate that your company’s serious about compliance.
  7. Continuous monitoring strategies. Spelling out how closely employees will be monitored can also ward off misuse.
  8. A phone or email “information line” to provide policy decisions. When things aren’t clear or unique circumstances arise, someone of authority can help resolve situations quickly.
  9. Procedures for notifying issuers of lost cards and possible fraud. This way, your team – and card users – know exactly what steps to take should problems come up.
  10. A process for re-evaluating your program and your card provider. This includes both how and when you and other key stakeholders will take a big-picture look at your card program.

Pulling others’ insight

After evaluating your policy for holes and possible improvement areas, you can bring the rest of the finance team into the discussion.

It can be helpful to acquire feedback from your front-line staffers, and other employees who use cards, on:

  • their perceived benefits and drawbacks of cards
  • areas of the policy or program that cause confusion/aren’t clear, and
  • how your company can further expand policies, training and controls.


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