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Corporate credit card expense management: Best practices to track company spend

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You need to keep an eye on what your business is spending so you can manage costs and cash flow, but traditional corporate credit cards can make expense management time-consuming, inefficient, and slow.

Oftentimes, finance teams spend countless hours gathering receipts, managing reconciliations, and entering data, only to end up with an out-of-date picture of business expenses.

What if there’s a better way? 

By incorporating modern financial tools into your accounting processes, you can dramatically reduce the time and cost of managing expenses while improving control, safety, and transparency.

Let’s explore how you can turn your corporate credit card into a powerful spend management platform and streamline expenses before they even occur. 

How are virtual credit cards essential for your business expense management?

When it comes to corporate credit card management, more businesses are turning to virtual cards. A virtual card is a unique generated card number associated with an existing account. Aside from the obvious security advantages, like safeguarding your real account information and preventing unauthorized charges with spend limits and custom expiration dates, numerous other benefits have companies locking up their plastic and opting to go virtual.

Save time

In most businesses, the more cards in circulation, the more work for finance teams to oversee the essential back-end management of expenses. Virtual cards enable you to automate and streamline many of the traditional processes associated with card payments. 

Since virtual cards are fully digital, you can significantly streamline reconciliation and expense tracking by managing payments through the virtual card platform. You can also integrate your corporate credit card management software with accounting, personnel accounts, approvals, and other solutions, to give your team full control. Some virtual card providers integrate spend management into an easy-to-access app right from your phone.

Easily manage team expenses

Using a virtual card platform enables you to manage all your team members’ spending needs from a single system. Your finance team can easily create and send virtual cards to individuals, as well as allocate budgets, track cards issued, and monitor spend across the organization. There’s no need to chase people down for expense reports or receipts—and in the case of Extend, you can attach receipts to every transaction and even manage receipt reminders through the platform to streamline requests and approvals.

Control approved vendors

Many businesses establish agreed-upon rates or service-level agreements with certain vendors, but the reality is that educating every employee about those rates can be time-consuming. With virtual cards, you can significantly reduce the risk of overspending by setting pre-determined spending limits, making it easy for your employees and vendors to spend funds for approved purposes only.

Manage payment restrictions

Virtual cards give you granular control over what your team is spending and how. Unlike issuing physical corporate credit cards, with virtual cards, you can set spend controls with card limits and date ranges to avoid overspending and mistaken payments.

Simplify the separation of personal and business expenses

By making it simpler to issue and track employee credit cards, you can reduce the need for employees to front the money for a client or business purchase. You’ll create a better work experience where employees won’t wait for reimbursements. New hires or even interviewees can likewise use a virtual credit card for expenses like travel and accommodations. Plus, capturing expenses on the corporate credit line versus reimbursing employees means more reward points for the company that you would have otherwise missed. 

Request purchases before transactions happen

By centralizing approvals within a single system, your team can request expense approvals well in advance. Not only does this help you ensure that your team is buying the right things through built-in approvals, but you can also project your cash flow with more visibility over upcoming costs.

Limit fraud

Traditional credit cards are ripe targets for fraud and can be easily stolen or lost, but virtual cards are far more secure. Purchases made with a single-use number not only mask your actual account number but also can be disabled after one transaction. 

8 best practices for a corporate virtual credit card policy 

While technology like virtual credit cards can streamline many of the traditional aspects of corporate credit card expense management, you still need the right internal policies to keep your expenses on track. Implementing the following corporate credit card policy best practices can help you build foundational knowledge within your team to get the most out of your spend management system.

1. Issue a corporate card only when necessary

The simplest way to control spending in your business is to monitor who can actually spend. By setting internal benchmarks for which roles are eligible for a corporate card, you can make sure purchasing power stays in the hands of employees with the knowledge and responsibility to use them wisely. For other purchases, consider using single-use virtual cards or escalating purchases to an individual with the right approval status.

2. Create a policy for expenses

Ambiguous spending rules can lead to confusion and frustration among employees and a higher level of risk. That’s why you need a corporate credit card policy with clear rules for eligibility and responsibilities of the user, processes for submitting proof of receipt, and rules for violations. Leveraging a virtual card and spend management platform makes it simple to enforce this policy and improve control and visibility.

3. Set spending limits

Large, unapproved purchases can leave a hole in your budget and your employees’ wallets if they have to foot the bill. By setting clear limits on the amount that can be spent, either in a single transaction or in recurring ones, you can limit your risk exposure on a per-employee basis. You can manage limits by seniority or department to tailor purchasing power according to need while also ensuring peace of mind for the business. 

4. Set departmental budgets

Departmental budgets give you macro-control over spending per team while helping you track expenses by cost center. Not only does it empower departments to manage their own spending, but it also helps you assess margins and efficiency by department according to spend. 

5. Streamline expense reporting

Unclaimed expenses can cause uneven cash flow issues and damage your business. Therefore, make it easy for employees to submit expenses and for you to track spending in real-time while getting full visibility into what your team is buying, whether it’s with a receipt-tracking app or a digital purchasing solution.

6. Define personal versus company expenses

Making it clear what counts as a personal or company expense removes ambiguity for your team and helps avoid awkward discussions once an employee has already spent out of their own pocket. 

7. Set expense categories

Expense categories give you additional control and help you mitigate the risk of misusing virtual cards. This makes tracking and managing payments within various budgets easier while reducing confusion for your team.

8. Monitor spending habits of employees

Corporate cards give you detailed visibility into your employees' spending habits, helping you understand how they work and where you can support them. By understanding the big picture, you can also more effectively spot outliers and opportunities for reducing overspending and fraud.

Features of Extend and corporate credit card management

Extend is designed to give businesses end-to-end visibility, control, and clarity across their expenses. Combining simple software, user-friendly tools, and reliable data, you can take the pain out of corporate credit card expense management while helping your business run more efficiently.

Virtual cards

Extend lets you create unique virtual credit cards for complete control. From one-time use to multi-use and auto-refill cards, you can issue, track and manage your whole corporate expense system from a single platform to keep your team accountable and your business moving.

Spend controls 

Eliminate ambiguity and avoid fraud with spend management functionality. Virtual cards put you in control – you can set card limits, expiration dates, and auto-refill rules and change them anytime. Deactivate and reactivate cards as needed so you’re always on top of your spending.

Real-time visibility over spending 

Bring your reporting into real-time with end-to-end data visibility. Add custom reference codes to match your general ledger and other internal classification of your choice so you can track cost centers and overheads while integrating with other core systems, from accounting to business intelligence.

Easy invoice capture

Streamline your expense reporting by digitizing receipts and invoices and easily attaching them to virtual cards, card requests, and individual transactions. This eliminates the need to chase employees for paperwork, making it easier for you to track your spending and for them to purchase what they need when they need it.

Automated reconciliation

With Extend, there’s no need to reconcile transactions manually. You can attach reference codes to each virtual card and transaction to automate reconciliation in the back end, saving your team time and eliminating ambiguity. 

Extend can help you track company spend with virtual cards

Corporate credit card expense management should help your business stay on track, not slow you down. 

Extend is the only virtual card and spend management platform you can set up in minutes using the credit card you already have. There’s no switching, opening new accounts, or time-consuming contracts. We help you get up and running fast so you can get your expenses under control.

Get in touch to learn how to make your expense management work for you. 

Blog

Corporate credit card expense management: Best practices to track company spend

Author
Mike Varney
Vice President, Finance and Operations
Virtual Card Spend
No items found.
Share post

You need to keep an eye on what your business is spending so you can manage costs and cash flow, but traditional corporate credit cards can make expense management time-consuming, inefficient, and slow.

Oftentimes, finance teams spend countless hours gathering receipts, managing reconciliations, and entering data, only to end up with an out-of-date picture of business expenses.

What if there’s a better way? 

By incorporating modern financial tools into your accounting processes, you can dramatically reduce the time and cost of managing expenses while improving control, safety, and transparency.

Let’s explore how you can turn your corporate credit card into a powerful spend management platform and streamline expenses before they even occur. 

How are virtual credit cards essential for your business expense management?

When it comes to corporate credit card management, more businesses are turning to virtual cards. A virtual card is a unique generated card number associated with an existing account. Aside from the obvious security advantages, like safeguarding your real account information and preventing unauthorized charges with spend limits and custom expiration dates, numerous other benefits have companies locking up their plastic and opting to go virtual.

Save time

In most businesses, the more cards in circulation, the more work for finance teams to oversee the essential back-end management of expenses. Virtual cards enable you to automate and streamline many of the traditional processes associated with card payments. 

Since virtual cards are fully digital, you can significantly streamline reconciliation and expense tracking by managing payments through the virtual card platform. You can also integrate your corporate credit card management software with accounting, personnel accounts, approvals, and other solutions, to give your team full control. Some virtual card providers integrate spend management into an easy-to-access app right from your phone.

Easily manage team expenses

Using a virtual card platform enables you to manage all your team members’ spending needs from a single system. Your finance team can easily create and send virtual cards to individuals, as well as allocate budgets, track cards issued, and monitor spend across the organization. There’s no need to chase people down for expense reports or receipts—and in the case of Extend, you can attach receipts to every transaction and even manage receipt reminders through the platform to streamline requests and approvals.

Control approved vendors

Many businesses establish agreed-upon rates or service-level agreements with certain vendors, but the reality is that educating every employee about those rates can be time-consuming. With virtual cards, you can significantly reduce the risk of overspending by setting pre-determined spending limits, making it easy for your employees and vendors to spend funds for approved purposes only.

Manage payment restrictions

Virtual cards give you granular control over what your team is spending and how. Unlike issuing physical corporate credit cards, with virtual cards, you can set spend controls with card limits and date ranges to avoid overspending and mistaken payments.

Simplify the separation of personal and business expenses

By making it simpler to issue and track employee credit cards, you can reduce the need for employees to front the money for a client or business purchase. You’ll create a better work experience where employees won’t wait for reimbursements. New hires or even interviewees can likewise use a virtual credit card for expenses like travel and accommodations. Plus, capturing expenses on the corporate credit line versus reimbursing employees means more reward points for the company that you would have otherwise missed. 

Request purchases before transactions happen

By centralizing approvals within a single system, your team can request expense approvals well in advance. Not only does this help you ensure that your team is buying the right things through built-in approvals, but you can also project your cash flow with more visibility over upcoming costs.

Limit fraud

Traditional credit cards are ripe targets for fraud and can be easily stolen or lost, but virtual cards are far more secure. Purchases made with a single-use number not only mask your actual account number but also can be disabled after one transaction. 

8 best practices for a corporate virtual credit card policy 

While technology like virtual credit cards can streamline many of the traditional aspects of corporate credit card expense management, you still need the right internal policies to keep your expenses on track. Implementing the following corporate credit card policy best practices can help you build foundational knowledge within your team to get the most out of your spend management system.

1. Issue a corporate card only when necessary

The simplest way to control spending in your business is to monitor who can actually spend. By setting internal benchmarks for which roles are eligible for a corporate card, you can make sure purchasing power stays in the hands of employees with the knowledge and responsibility to use them wisely. For other purchases, consider using single-use virtual cards or escalating purchases to an individual with the right approval status.

2. Create a policy for expenses

Ambiguous spending rules can lead to confusion and frustration among employees and a higher level of risk. That’s why you need a corporate credit card policy with clear rules for eligibility and responsibilities of the user, processes for submitting proof of receipt, and rules for violations. Leveraging a virtual card and spend management platform makes it simple to enforce this policy and improve control and visibility.

3. Set spending limits

Large, unapproved purchases can leave a hole in your budget and your employees’ wallets if they have to foot the bill. By setting clear limits on the amount that can be spent, either in a single transaction or in recurring ones, you can limit your risk exposure on a per-employee basis. You can manage limits by seniority or department to tailor purchasing power according to need while also ensuring peace of mind for the business. 

4. Set departmental budgets

Departmental budgets give you macro-control over spending per team while helping you track expenses by cost center. Not only does it empower departments to manage their own spending, but it also helps you assess margins and efficiency by department according to spend. 

5. Streamline expense reporting

Unclaimed expenses can cause uneven cash flow issues and damage your business. Therefore, make it easy for employees to submit expenses and for you to track spending in real-time while getting full visibility into what your team is buying, whether it’s with a receipt-tracking app or a digital purchasing solution.

6. Define personal versus company expenses

Making it clear what counts as a personal or company expense removes ambiguity for your team and helps avoid awkward discussions once an employee has already spent out of their own pocket. 

7. Set expense categories

Expense categories give you additional control and help you mitigate the risk of misusing virtual cards. This makes tracking and managing payments within various budgets easier while reducing confusion for your team.

8. Monitor spending habits of employees

Corporate cards give you detailed visibility into your employees' spending habits, helping you understand how they work and where you can support them. By understanding the big picture, you can also more effectively spot outliers and opportunities for reducing overspending and fraud.

Features of Extend and corporate credit card management

Extend is designed to give businesses end-to-end visibility, control, and clarity across their expenses. Combining simple software, user-friendly tools, and reliable data, you can take the pain out of corporate credit card expense management while helping your business run more efficiently.

Virtual cards

Extend lets you create unique virtual credit cards for complete control. From one-time use to multi-use and auto-refill cards, you can issue, track and manage your whole corporate expense system from a single platform to keep your team accountable and your business moving.

Spend controls 

Eliminate ambiguity and avoid fraud with spend management functionality. Virtual cards put you in control – you can set card limits, expiration dates, and auto-refill rules and change them anytime. Deactivate and reactivate cards as needed so you’re always on top of your spending.

Real-time visibility over spending 

Bring your reporting into real-time with end-to-end data visibility. Add custom reference codes to match your general ledger and other internal classification of your choice so you can track cost centers and overheads while integrating with other core systems, from accounting to business intelligence.

Easy invoice capture

Streamline your expense reporting by digitizing receipts and invoices and easily attaching them to virtual cards, card requests, and individual transactions. This eliminates the need to chase employees for paperwork, making it easier for you to track your spending and for them to purchase what they need when they need it.

Automated reconciliation

With Extend, there’s no need to reconcile transactions manually. You can attach reference codes to each virtual card and transaction to automate reconciliation in the back end, saving your team time and eliminating ambiguity. 

Extend can help you track company spend with virtual cards

Corporate credit card expense management should help your business stay on track, not slow you down. 

Extend is the only virtual card and spend management platform you can set up in minutes using the credit card you already have. There’s no switching, opening new accounts, or time-consuming contracts. We help you get up and running fast so you can get your expenses under control.

Get in touch to learn how to make your expense management work for you. 

About the author

Mike Varney

Vice President, Finance and Operations

With over 12 years of experience in both large-scale and high-growth businesses, Mike has managed all aspects of corporate finance functions including forecasting & budgeting, financial reporting, external audits, investor relations, and M&A due diligence. Prior to Extend, Mike held various finance & accounting roles at IAS, BSE Global, MLB Advanced Media, and Deloitte. He earned an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, a B.S. in Finance and Accounting from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, and holds his CPA license.

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Corporate credit card expense management: Best practices to track company spend

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