Corporate Card Management: Guide for 2023
The realities of the modern business world require companies to keep a tight hold on their spend management.
We’re not just talking about how you track expenses or reconcile your debts; that’s basic stuff. No, we’re talking about the entire process, from deciding who has the spend rights to analyzing how business spending affects your cash flow and taxes.
The more your business expands, the more crucial (and complex) your expense management process becomes. Spending analysis allows you to correct imbalances, watch for fraud and employee theft, and prepare for regulatory filings.
However, it’s also a cumbersome, time-consuming process that, without the use of the proper platform, requires quite a bit of man-hours to complete.
Modern spend and card management needs to be more sophisticated, intuitive, and built on the needs of finance teams, accountants, CFOs, owners, and employees!
That’s why, at Pluto, we firmly believe in the power of proper corporate card management. Establishing clear policies, outlining appropriate spending limits, and designing airtight analysis protocols can keep your finances in check.
Modern Corporate Credit Card Programs
Traditionally, businesses relied on employee reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses to facilitate team and department spending. While using employees to frontload business costs helps with float, it also creates potential hardships and liabilities.
Moreover, the process of submitting, reimbursing, and properly cataloging expenses is grotesquely time-consuming for your finance team.
In part, corporate credit cards were designed to take the pressure off corporate finance teams. They make expense management easier, simplify spending procedures, and digitize the bulk of your spending.
Managing corporate credit cards can get quite complex. Adding new cardholders, suspending or closing accounts, or untangling business and personal expenses could take hours of paperwork and phone calls.
But it does not have to be like that. At Pluto, we leveraged our corporate experience, had countless talks with our users, and came up with solutions to every bottleneck of card management.
On-demand corporate cards
For employees to be able to make business expenses, they will need a corporate card. In our day and age, most of their spending will be online.
Pluto provides you with an unlimited number of virtual cards that can be easily issued right from the dashboard.
If a physical card is needed, you will go through the same simple process, and the card will be delivered to you in just a couple of days.
Receipt Capture and Expense Tracking
Corporate credit cards feed your business expenses into a centralized monthly report. With Pluto, submitting a receipt is as easy as taking a picture with your phone, literally.
When the expense is submitted, it is immediately reflected in the account report.
These reports provide each department head and finance team with the visibility needed to:
- Link credit card transactions to the right employee
- Crackdown on overspending
- Maintain business-wide cashflows
- Maximize efficiency
With Pluto, you can easily filter through various expenses, check which expenses are still pending, and see the details of that particular spending team-wide.
Corporate cards also provide businesses with the flexibility to take the approach that suits their needs. For instance, your business may assign corporate cards only to key employees and management or traveling employees.
Workers who make only occasional purchases can use Pluto virtual or pre-loaded cards with one-time or limited spend codes.
Ultimately: More Control
Aside from these perks, company credit cards allow you to maximize your data collection and improve your analytics.
You can use this information to curb unnecessary spending, generate insights, and even negotiate better rates with vendors.
But without a proper corporate card management program in place, it’s all too easy for the system to turn upside-down.
What is Corporate Card Management, and Why is it Important?
A corporate card management platform allows business leaders to proactively wrangle company expenditure concerns from multiple fronts.
But to keep everything running smoothly, you also need a well-designed corporate card policy that ensures you are not limiting employees in their work while you are tracking the expenses.
Using corporate cards for operational expenses allows your team to work more efficiently—no more complicated approval processes when buying an online subscription or plane tickets.
But to achieve the balance between flexibility and control, you must have a corporate card management policy. Good corporate card programs:
- Outline rules for use, such as where and how much employees may spend.
- Capitalize on issuer-provided controls to set spending limits.
- Monitor and analyze employee cash flow to minimize inefficiencies.
- Are quick to catch or counteract employee or outside fraud.
- Simplify real-time expense reporting.
- Save time and money by reducing or eliminating physical paperwork.
Above all, a responsible management program frees up resources, putting money back on your balance sheet.
Best Practices for Efficient Corporate Credit Card Management
The key to managing corporate cards successfully is setting expectations, communicating responsibilities, and setting controls for employee and employer accountability.
Whether you set card limits, lock and unlock cards, issue virtual cards, or code and track expenditures daily is up to you.
Just as long as you design a system that balances control and comfort.
Set Up a Corporate Card Policy
Your company policy should:
- Set expectations and communicate cardholder responsibilities
- Lay out eligibility requirements to receive a card
- Set spend limits for teams, departments, or specific expenditures
- Outline the process for submitting receipts
- Establish clear review and penalty processes for violating these rules
Written properly, your policy should ensure everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.
Decide Which Employees Will Get Cards
One of the most important components of managing your corporate cards is deciding who receives them.
At first, you may want to stick with assigning cards to upper-level management or department heads. But as your business grows, you may enact policies to permit other employees to receive cards conditionally or permanently, such as your sales team.
Ensuring your cards are in the right hands for the right reasons gives your employees a sense of flexibility and responsibility.
Consider Virtual Cards
You might consider issuing virtual cards when an employee may need one-time or limited access to a corporate card.
With Pluto cards, you can issue unlimited virtual cards in a matter of minutes and set spending limits as needed.
So the time from the employee request to delivering the virtual card credentials is minimal.
Set Budgets for Each Team and Department
Clear budgets take the guesswork out of reconciling your expenses and provide a “pool” of funds for teams to pull from.
These controls can help curb spending while still providing the funds your business needs to succeed.
Separate Personal and Corporate Expenses
When you design your budgets, it’s crucial to ensure employees know what constitutes a business expense and what doesn’t.
For instance, some companies provide generous food allotments for traveling employees, while others limit corporate card spending to hotel and transportation expenses. In this instance, employees purchasing their own meals would qualify as a personal expense.
You also want to clarify that employees can’t use their company cards for personal expenses that don’t relate to business. Even if they plan to repay you, it must be clear that the corporate card can not be used for these matters.
Have Limits on Cards and Spending Categories
Another way to crack down on corporate card expenses is by setting limits. With Pluto you can set limits when creating a new card, or adjust the limits on the go.
Review these limits regularly to make sure that everyone has limits that are sufficient to support them in their work.
Make Expense Reporting Simple
The card expense reporting process shouldn’t take you hours. Submitting an expense in Pluto is a matter of just a couple of clicks.
Drag and drop the receipt into Pluto, add a couple of details and that is it. This efficiency ensures that employees submit all their expenses on time.
Document Every Purchase – Digitize Receipt Management
When it comes to your expense policy, your corporate credit card statement isn’t reliable enough.
Mandating receipt uploads means that you can verify the accuracy of each transaction for internal and tax-related purposes.
But in the modern world, many vendors are moving away from physical receipts that tear, smudge, or blow away in the wind.
For these instances, consider setting up a corporate email address to provide all-digital vendors.
And for expenses that do generate physical receipts - Pluto allows you to simply take a picture of the receipt with your phone and upload it to the expense management system!
Monitor Employee Spending Habits
One enormous benefit of corporate cards is the sheer transparency involved.
Every transaction is recorded and automatically categorized, allowing you to monitor corporate card expenses using credit card statements. You can also use this information to identify overindulgent employees and limit any unscrupulous spending habits.
But don’t just wait for the statements to show up monthly. Pluto allows you to proactively set alerts, notifications, and monitor transaction activity, helping you catch problems before they snowball, such as “double-dipping.” (Submitting the same expense twice, by mistake or intent.)
Analyze Expense Reports Regularly
Another facet of corporate card expense reporting is regularly analyzing your reports.
With Pluto, businesses can sort expenditures by vendor, department, employee, or internal expense codes.
Sorting and analyzing your expense reports ensures that even if you have dozens of cards floating around, you can readily monitor and manage the ins and outs.
Integrate with Your Accounting Software
The best way to unlock your corporate cards’ potential is by integrating expense software with your accounting software.
Doing so feeds each corporate credit card expense right into your accounting log, saving hundreds of hours entering, verifying, and double-checking that your corporate card statements match actual business expenses.
Pluto allows you to integrate with all major accounting software.
- Efficient corporate card management requires you to use a platform that will allow you to have complete spend control and flexibility.
- This is where Pluto comes in – our platform provides you with all the features and tools necessary to fully manage your corporate card spending.
- A corporate card usage policy is another critical element to keeping spending under control – by setting clear guidelines on what can and cannot be purchased with corporate cards, you can avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Finally, effective communication and training for employees will ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to using corporate cards responsibly.
Corporate Cards FAQs
What is a Corporate Card Program?
A corporate card program issues cards to – and establishes rules for – employees who make purchases for a business.
These purchases can range from buying office supplies to airline tickets. Corporate card programs set guidelines for who can use a card, their spend allowance, and the expense reporting process, among other facets.
What is the Advantage of a Corporate Card?
Corporate credit cards offer multiple advantages, including:
- Eliminating cumbersome reimbursement programs
- Centralizing your expense management system
- Integrating expense tracking features to simplify taxes
- Restricting employee spend based on spend limits, vendors, or products
- Reducing potential delays in the reconciliation process
Plus, many corporate cards connect to accounting software to allow businesses to slash time and hours wasted on expense report management.
What is Corporate Card Expense Management?
Expense management refers to the systems that organizations use to track, review, and pay for business and employee expenses.
Keeping expense management processes tightly controlled ensures that businesses can reconcile their balance sheets.
These expenses include any purchases an employee makes to improve the business, from office supplies to business travel costs.
Often, modern expense reports reflect tons of digital items too, like subscriptions and cloud space.
What is Corporate Card Reconciliation?
The corporate card reconciliation process verifies that corporate card statements match a company’s general ledger.
Businesses rely on these processes to validate transactions, keep expenses reasonable, and prevent fraud. (Not to mention, reconciling the books is essential - come tax time.)
With reports that Pluto generates, the work is minimal. You issue corporate cards, put limits on them, and all the receipts and transactions are stored in the Reimbursement report.
Who is Responsible for a Company Credit Card?
From a legal and liability standpoint, employers and businesses are responsible for all expenses charged to a corporate credit card.
That said, businesses may outline use cases in which an employee is responsible for repaying their own charges, such as when they make personal purchases on their employer’s dime.
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The Pluto Visa Spend cards are issued by the Celtic Bank under the Stripe Issuing Spend Card Program. By applying for a product including a card account, using a card or otherwise you agree to the terms and conditions of Pluto and the Issuing Bank terms available at https://stripe.com/legal/celtic-spend-card.
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