Corporate cards, also known as spending cards, are an often overlooked tool that many procurement teams are yet to discover. But in today’s remote-first workplace, they are a simple solution that solves for an ever-growing list of purchasing challenges.
To offer some perspective, a Gartner survey reported that 77 percent of B2B buyers stated that their last purchase was ‘very complex’ or ‘difficult’. And there are many reasons for this. For example, bureaucratic approval workflows mean that for each purchase someone makes, there’s an average of six to 10 decision makers involved, all of whom bring their own ideas to the table. Further, without the right technology in place, purchasing is often a slow, laborious process that requires a lot of manual hand holding.
To speed up the procure-to-pay cycle and enable team members to purchase the resources they need to perform their jobs, it requires the right tools. In today’s remote-first workplace, that means enabling team members with employee spending cards.
In this blog, we explain why spending cards are a must-have tool for purchasing teams.
A little context: what exactly are spending cards?
Spending cards are cards issued to team members that enable them to quickly purchase goods and services without spending their own money. This includes expenses like hotel stays and plane tickets, new software licenses, client entertainment, office equipment, and so on.
In short, spending cards mean that teams don’t have to personally foot the bill for company expenses and later submit a request for expense. Instead, they can request funds for a purchase, quickly buy what they need using preallocated company funds, and then upload a receipt at the point of sale so finance teams can reconcile quicker.
What are the advantages of spending cards?
For purchasing and finance leaders, spending cards make the expense management process easier. Quite simply, they democratize the purchasing process for teams. This makes it simple for everyone to access company funds in a safe and secure way.
Rapidly issue as many cards as you want
Finance and purchasing leaders can issue cards to anyone who wants one, and team members can quickly request funds for purchases. Once approved, they can purchase goods themselves using their card.
For you, issuing cards is highly advantageous. Not only does it remove the need to make purchases on behalf of other teams, it also lets you see who made what purchase, when, and why, from one location and in real time.
And if you’re worried about increased spending, worry not.
Set clear spending limits with centralized control
The biggest benefit of spending cards is centralized management. Finance leaders can set clear spending limits on multiple cards from one place, so they know exactly where company money is going.
For example, you might set higher pre-approval limits for managers than for other team members. You might also allocate a per diem for those venturing out on business trips that aligns to the budget allocated to the trip.
This increased level of control increases your transparency into all business spending, making it easy to spot rogue spend and ballooning budgets.
Offer virtual cards, too!
Most spending cards offer both virtual and physical cards, too, so there’s no waiting around for a new card to arrive in the post. With the Procurify’s spending cards, you can simply set up a new user and they’re good to go instantly.
Spending cards (both physical and virtual) turn business spending into a proactive experience rather than a reactive one. Since every card number is linked to the primary account holder, this effectively acts as a pre-approved purchasing tool.
To find out more about the business benefits of spending cards, read this blog.
What can you use spending cards for?
Great question. Spending cards simplify purchases of all kinds.
If you have any unexpected or unplanned purchases you need to make, spending cards make it easy to quickly request funds and purchase what you need immediately.
Better yet, Procurify lets you allocate spend against your team’s budget. This allows teams to manage ad-hoc purchases in real-time, reducing overspending.
Online recurring spend
Manually purchasing recurring spend like software subscriptions each month is a time suck. Instead, set up recurring spend for online purchases and allocate budget to those expenses before they’re made.
Travel and expenses
Business travel will make a strong comeback after the pandemic. To set yourself up for success, allocate spending cards to traveling team members. This way, they have an easy way of making those on-the-road purchases.
Some things just never stay the same. For payments like digital ad spend, this couldn’t be truer. Teams can use spending cards to manage uncertain payments and see updates to budgets in real time.
Rather than approving a handful of single line items, you can allocate set funds for specific projects. This gives teams the power to purchase what they need for that project against those set spend limits.
Spending cards are revolutionizing remote-first purchasing
Making the jump to corporate cards protects your business from the most prominent sources of fraud, reduces the risk of data breaches and data entry errors, and provides full visibility and organization into expenses, no matter where your teams are located.
This has never been possible with the usage and implementation of a single tool before. Tools like this can rapidly reduce the pain of reimbursements and clunky approval workflows. They can even help you better manage card theft (you can’t lose, duplicate, or steal virtual cards!).
Spending cards are the solution to the bottlenecks that come with remote-first purchasing. No longer are team members emailing back and forth with finance teams. And no longer are finance teams chasing for lost receipts. Tame rogue spend, reconcile quicker, and make business spending easy for everyone.
To find out more about how these cards help organizations around the world, read up on how Procurify customer, Graduation Solutions, transformed their spend culture with spending cards.
Editor's note Original author: Vikash Dass Original publish date: 24 April 2019 We've since updated and republished this blog post with new content.