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How businesses use Extend

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Presented by

David Blaha

Chief Revenue Officer

At Extend, we believe in enhancing, not reinventing, how businesses pay. 

We know businesses don’t want to start from the ground up; they simply want to do more with what they already have. But to achieve this, companies need access to the right tools to streamline payments.

That’s why we partner with the banks businesses already know and trust to instantly help customers access a smarter, more efficient method of managing company spend. 

Central to this strategy are virtual cards, which are digital counterparts of traditional physical cards, extending the capabilities of a company's existing credit card while providing better spend management. Virtual cards have typically been viewed as a single-use product for specific purchases and online security –- often used only by the largest of companies. 

But at Extend, we’ve leveled the playing field and now bring virtual cards to businesses of all sizes. 

We’ve turned virtual cards into a dynamic payment platform, functioning as digital versions of a supplementary card but with a vast array of controls and features. 

Today, thousands of small to medium-sized businesses trust Extend to turn their existing corporate card into a spend management platform through the power of virtual cards. 


As one of our customers, the controller at Donovan Agency, put it,

“With Extend, we’re getting flexibility over how we can use our company credit card. Creating virtual cards is really simple, and we can use them for everything from office supplies and production costs to managing our clients’ campaign spend by platform.”

Whether it be to manage media budgets or streamline employee expenses, there are many ways our customers use virtual cards in their business. 

1. Pass-through and bill-backs 

Businesses using Extend bring a new level of efficiency to pass-through and bill-back expenses, streamlining expense tracking and reconciliation

Instead of handling payments with a couple of physical cards, which often leads to a time-consuming reconciliation process, assigning individual virtual cards to each project and client account ensures every dollar spent is accounted for and attributed to the appropriate source.

With this clear separation and categorization of expenses, it’s easier to see who spent what in real-time rather than combing through credit card statements at month’s end to determine which charge belongs to which project or account. 

Moreover, businesses not only streamline a manual and error-prone reconciliation process but also enhance transparency and accountability. Since every transaction is recorded in real-time and can be tagged with expense codes, finance teams gain an up-to-date financial picture to ensure clients are billed back correctly and quickly, fostering trust and reliability in business relationships.

2. Multi-location businesses and franchisees 

Maintaining oversight and control over purchasing across various locations and franchises while ensuring compliance can be daunting. For that reason, more multi-location businesses are using virtual cards to budget and delegate purchasing power while maintaining total oversight and control. 

Companies using Extend can easily do this by creating and allocating budgets to location managers, who can then create and issue virtual cards for each location's purchasing needs within that budget. This approach eliminates card-sharing and allows location managers to manage day-to-day expenses while ensuring spending remains aligned with the company's policies.

The strength of virtual cards lies in the unparalleled control and visibility they provide to the business. Every transaction made with a virtual card is tracked and recorded, offering a transparent and detailed view of expenditures across all locations. This level of detail is invaluable for effective financial planning and budgeting. It enables owners to dissect spending patterns, uncover potential areas for cost-saving, and allocate resources more strategically.

3. Contractors and temporary employees 

Virtual cards offer a more efficient solution for covering contractors' and temporary employees' work-related expenses compared to traditional methods like checks or ACH. While these conventional methods work, they often lead to delayed reimbursements, creating inefficiencies and potentially straining working relationships.

Instead of having contractors submit their out-of-pocket expenses via an invoice, businesses can issue virtual cards to them directly. This approach ensures that contractors and temporary employees can immediately cover necessary work-related costs, from supplies to tools, without fronting their own money.

Virtual cards also bring significant operational advantages thanks to their immediacy and flexibility. Businesses can reduce cash reimbursements, streamline financial operations, and enhance the spend-tracking process. Not to mention, businesses accrue even more rewards from these transactions, a benefit they would otherwise miss by paying with traditional methods. 

4. Vendor payments 

Businesses are increasingly turning to virtual cards for vendor payments due to their enhanced safety and efficiency. Unlike traditional payment methods, virtual cards offer stringent security controls, like spending limits and custom expiration dates, which reduce risks like wrongful billing and fraud.

Moreover, they eliminate the need to share a single physical card with multiple vendors, which is risky business. Especially since fraud and data breaches are more common than ever, with global losses predicted to grow to almost $50 billion by 2030.

Creating a unique virtual card for each vendor is a much more convenient and secure approach to protecting real account information and credit lines. If vendor-related fraud ever occurs, businesses can simply deactivate that one virtual card and create a new one, rather than having to close down their entire credit card and update card numbers with every single vendor — a tedious and disruptive process for business operations. 

5. Employee expenses 

Virtual cards offer a flexible and accountable way for businesses to manage employee expenses more effectively. This use case is particularly important since not every employee has access to a company card, leaving many fronting the bill and submitting expense reports for reimbursement. 

Worse yet, if employees aren't using personal credit cards, they're likely sharing company card numbers, which can lead to unauthorized charges and a lack of accountability. Such practices not only affect employee morale but burden finance teams with a retroactive process that depletes time and energy that could instead be devoted to more strategic tasks. 

With Extend, business leaders can use virtual cards to empower their teams and efficiently distribute funds across the organization without sacrificing control or visibility over expenses. Employees can also request virtual cards, reducing unapproved spending and enhancing accountability. 

This approach simplifies expense management, receipt management, and out-of-pocket expenses, if any, and allows finance teams to create pre-determined budgets to delegate spending power while retaining comprehensive oversight.

6. Subscription costs 

Managing subscription payments often involves sharing one or a few corporate cards across various departments. A process that ultimately exposes credit card numbers and forces teams to leave cards on file with multiple providers. 

While common, this method can lead to several challenges, from security breaches to difficulty in tracking which charges belong to which department, diminishing internal accountability and control. Instead, finance teams can create a recurring virtual card for each provider to drastically reduce the risk of credit line exposure and gain a clear view of expenses. 

This method ensures every subscription expense is linked to a distinct virtual card that automatically renews every month, simplifying the process of paying, identifying, and managing these costs across the organization. 

If an employee leaves without canceling a subscription, deactivating their specific virtual card is a simple task. 

7. Suppliers and wholesalers 

Dealing with wholesalers and suppliers means businesses face the same risks associated with using the same credit card for multiple transactions. This practice risks a business's entire credit line, and if fraud occurs, canceling and reissuing cards and updating all relevant vendor details will take valuable time and stall business operations.

Assigning individual virtual cards with set limits to each vendor is a better approach to eliminating risks and limiting potential fraudulent activity to a single virtual card rather than the entire credit line. In case of fraud, businesses can quickly cancel the affected virtual card in just a few minutes compared to the lengthy ordeal with traditional credit cards.

Leveraging virtual cards empowers businesses to maintain business continuity, ensure smoother interactions with suppliers and wholesalers, and benefit from a safer, more controlled, and more efficient way to handle these crucial business relationships.

8. Travel expenses 

Everyone benefits when virtual cards are used for business travel: the company, its finance team, employees, interns, and even interviewees. 

The reality is many employees can’t afford to front business costs on behalf of a company and wait for reimbursement. Given that travel expenses can be substantial and accrue interest, this places a significant financial burden on staff, interns, and interviewees. 

Meanwhile, finance teams are left with a cumbersome reimbursement process and a lack of real-time spending visibility. Finance teams that implement virtual cards for better spend management can easily manage and monitor travel spending as it occurs, while employees get an instant and reliable way to cover travel-related costs like flight bookings, accommodations, and meals.

The same applies to interviewees, who can also use a virtual card to take care of travel costs and an allotted per diem when interviewing for a position, giving them a stellar interview experience and leaving a positive impression of the company. Moreover, with spending limits and restrictions on virtual cards, teams can rest assured travel expenses will adhere to company policies, reducing the risk of overspending and simplifying compliance. 

9. Tail spend 

Virtual cards provide a practical way to track miscellaneous spending and cash flow in real-time. Each purchase is automatically recorded, providing up-to-date financial data and enabling businesses to adjust their spending as needed throughout the month, rather than waiting for month-end reviews. 

This level of detail is crucial for identifying areas where cost savings can be made and ensuring that even minor expenses align with the company’s broader financial strategies.

Businesses using virtual cards for tail spend not only benefit from a streamlined expense tracking process but also from significant savings. According to recent data, firms that use digital tools to manage tail spend can cut their annual expenditures by 5% to 10%, on average.

Get started with Extend 

Experience Extend's spend management platform for yourself and see the impact it can have on a business’s efficiency and financial control.

Presented by

David Blaha

Chief Revenue Officer
Blog

How businesses use Extend

Virtual Card Spend
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At Extend, we believe in enhancing, not reinventing, how businesses pay. 

We know businesses don’t want to start from the ground up; they simply want to do more with what they already have. But to achieve this, companies need access to the right tools to streamline payments.

That’s why we partner with the banks businesses already know and trust to instantly help customers access a smarter, more efficient method of managing company spend. 

Central to this strategy are virtual cards, which are digital counterparts of traditional physical cards, extending the capabilities of a company's existing credit card while providing better spend management. Virtual cards have typically been viewed as a single-use product for specific purchases and online security –- often used only by the largest of companies. 

But at Extend, we’ve leveled the playing field and now bring virtual cards to businesses of all sizes. 

We’ve turned virtual cards into a dynamic payment platform, functioning as digital versions of a supplementary card but with a vast array of controls and features. 

Today, thousands of small to medium-sized businesses trust Extend to turn their existing corporate card into a spend management platform through the power of virtual cards. 


As one of our customers, the controller at Donovan Agency, put it,

“With Extend, we’re getting flexibility over how we can use our company credit card. Creating virtual cards is really simple, and we can use them for everything from office supplies and production costs to managing our clients’ campaign spend by platform.”

Whether it be to manage media budgets or streamline employee expenses, there are many ways our customers use virtual cards in their business. 

1. Pass-through and bill-backs 

Businesses using Extend bring a new level of efficiency to pass-through and bill-back expenses, streamlining expense tracking and reconciliation

Instead of handling payments with a couple of physical cards, which often leads to a time-consuming reconciliation process, assigning individual virtual cards to each project and client account ensures every dollar spent is accounted for and attributed to the appropriate source.

With this clear separation and categorization of expenses, it’s easier to see who spent what in real-time rather than combing through credit card statements at month’s end to determine which charge belongs to which project or account. 

Moreover, businesses not only streamline a manual and error-prone reconciliation process but also enhance transparency and accountability. Since every transaction is recorded in real-time and can be tagged with expense codes, finance teams gain an up-to-date financial picture to ensure clients are billed back correctly and quickly, fostering trust and reliability in business relationships.

2. Multi-location businesses and franchisees 

Maintaining oversight and control over purchasing across various locations and franchises while ensuring compliance can be daunting. For that reason, more multi-location businesses are using virtual cards to budget and delegate purchasing power while maintaining total oversight and control. 

Companies using Extend can easily do this by creating and allocating budgets to location managers, who can then create and issue virtual cards for each location's purchasing needs within that budget. This approach eliminates card-sharing and allows location managers to manage day-to-day expenses while ensuring spending remains aligned with the company's policies.

The strength of virtual cards lies in the unparalleled control and visibility they provide to the business. Every transaction made with a virtual card is tracked and recorded, offering a transparent and detailed view of expenditures across all locations. This level of detail is invaluable for effective financial planning and budgeting. It enables owners to dissect spending patterns, uncover potential areas for cost-saving, and allocate resources more strategically.

3. Contractors and temporary employees 

Virtual cards offer a more efficient solution for covering contractors' and temporary employees' work-related expenses compared to traditional methods like checks or ACH. While these conventional methods work, they often lead to delayed reimbursements, creating inefficiencies and potentially straining working relationships.

Instead of having contractors submit their out-of-pocket expenses via an invoice, businesses can issue virtual cards to them directly. This approach ensures that contractors and temporary employees can immediately cover necessary work-related costs, from supplies to tools, without fronting their own money.

Virtual cards also bring significant operational advantages thanks to their immediacy and flexibility. Businesses can reduce cash reimbursements, streamline financial operations, and enhance the spend-tracking process. Not to mention, businesses accrue even more rewards from these transactions, a benefit they would otherwise miss by paying with traditional methods. 

4. Vendor payments 

Businesses are increasingly turning to virtual cards for vendor payments due to their enhanced safety and efficiency. Unlike traditional payment methods, virtual cards offer stringent security controls, like spending limits and custom expiration dates, which reduce risks like wrongful billing and fraud.

Moreover, they eliminate the need to share a single physical card with multiple vendors, which is risky business. Especially since fraud and data breaches are more common than ever, with global losses predicted to grow to almost $50 billion by 2030.

Creating a unique virtual card for each vendor is a much more convenient and secure approach to protecting real account information and credit lines. If vendor-related fraud ever occurs, businesses can simply deactivate that one virtual card and create a new one, rather than having to close down their entire credit card and update card numbers with every single vendor — a tedious and disruptive process for business operations. 

5. Employee expenses 

Virtual cards offer a flexible and accountable way for businesses to manage employee expenses more effectively. This use case is particularly important since not every employee has access to a company card, leaving many fronting the bill and submitting expense reports for reimbursement. 

Worse yet, if employees aren't using personal credit cards, they're likely sharing company card numbers, which can lead to unauthorized charges and a lack of accountability. Such practices not only affect employee morale but burden finance teams with a retroactive process that depletes time and energy that could instead be devoted to more strategic tasks. 

With Extend, business leaders can use virtual cards to empower their teams and efficiently distribute funds across the organization without sacrificing control or visibility over expenses. Employees can also request virtual cards, reducing unapproved spending and enhancing accountability. 

This approach simplifies expense management, receipt management, and out-of-pocket expenses, if any, and allows finance teams to create pre-determined budgets to delegate spending power while retaining comprehensive oversight.

6. Subscription costs 

Managing subscription payments often involves sharing one or a few corporate cards across various departments. A process that ultimately exposes credit card numbers and forces teams to leave cards on file with multiple providers. 

While common, this method can lead to several challenges, from security breaches to difficulty in tracking which charges belong to which department, diminishing internal accountability and control. Instead, finance teams can create a recurring virtual card for each provider to drastically reduce the risk of credit line exposure and gain a clear view of expenses. 

This method ensures every subscription expense is linked to a distinct virtual card that automatically renews every month, simplifying the process of paying, identifying, and managing these costs across the organization. 

If an employee leaves without canceling a subscription, deactivating their specific virtual card is a simple task. 

7. Suppliers and wholesalers 

Dealing with wholesalers and suppliers means businesses face the same risks associated with using the same credit card for multiple transactions. This practice risks a business's entire credit line, and if fraud occurs, canceling and reissuing cards and updating all relevant vendor details will take valuable time and stall business operations.

Assigning individual virtual cards with set limits to each vendor is a better approach to eliminating risks and limiting potential fraudulent activity to a single virtual card rather than the entire credit line. In case of fraud, businesses can quickly cancel the affected virtual card in just a few minutes compared to the lengthy ordeal with traditional credit cards.

Leveraging virtual cards empowers businesses to maintain business continuity, ensure smoother interactions with suppliers and wholesalers, and benefit from a safer, more controlled, and more efficient way to handle these crucial business relationships.

8. Travel expenses 

Everyone benefits when virtual cards are used for business travel: the company, its finance team, employees, interns, and even interviewees. 

The reality is many employees can’t afford to front business costs on behalf of a company and wait for reimbursement. Given that travel expenses can be substantial and accrue interest, this places a significant financial burden on staff, interns, and interviewees. 

Meanwhile, finance teams are left with a cumbersome reimbursement process and a lack of real-time spending visibility. Finance teams that implement virtual cards for better spend management can easily manage and monitor travel spending as it occurs, while employees get an instant and reliable way to cover travel-related costs like flight bookings, accommodations, and meals.

The same applies to interviewees, who can also use a virtual card to take care of travel costs and an allotted per diem when interviewing for a position, giving them a stellar interview experience and leaving a positive impression of the company. Moreover, with spending limits and restrictions on virtual cards, teams can rest assured travel expenses will adhere to company policies, reducing the risk of overspending and simplifying compliance. 

9. Tail spend 

Virtual cards provide a practical way to track miscellaneous spending and cash flow in real-time. Each purchase is automatically recorded, providing up-to-date financial data and enabling businesses to adjust their spending as needed throughout the month, rather than waiting for month-end reviews. 

This level of detail is crucial for identifying areas where cost savings can be made and ensuring that even minor expenses align with the company’s broader financial strategies.

Businesses using virtual cards for tail spend not only benefit from a streamlined expense tracking process but also from significant savings. According to recent data, firms that use digital tools to manage tail spend can cut their annual expenditures by 5% to 10%, on average.

Get started with Extend 

Experience Extend's spend management platform for yourself and see the impact it can have on a business’s efficiency and financial control.

Blog

How businesses use Extend

Author
David Blaha
Chief Revenue Officer
Virtual Card Spend
No items found.
Share post

At Extend, we believe in enhancing, not reinventing, how businesses pay. 

We know businesses don’t want to start from the ground up; they simply want to do more with what they already have. But to achieve this, companies need access to the right tools to streamline payments.

That’s why we partner with the banks businesses already know and trust to instantly help customers access a smarter, more efficient method of managing company spend. 

Central to this strategy are virtual cards, which are digital counterparts of traditional physical cards, extending the capabilities of a company's existing credit card while providing better spend management. Virtual cards have typically been viewed as a single-use product for specific purchases and online security –- often used only by the largest of companies. 

But at Extend, we’ve leveled the playing field and now bring virtual cards to businesses of all sizes. 

We’ve turned virtual cards into a dynamic payment platform, functioning as digital versions of a supplementary card but with a vast array of controls and features. 

Today, thousands of small to medium-sized businesses trust Extend to turn their existing corporate card into a spend management platform through the power of virtual cards. 


As one of our customers, the controller at Donovan Agency, put it,

“With Extend, we’re getting flexibility over how we can use our company credit card. Creating virtual cards is really simple, and we can use them for everything from office supplies and production costs to managing our clients’ campaign spend by platform.”

Whether it be to manage media budgets or streamline employee expenses, there are many ways our customers use virtual cards in their business. 

1. Pass-through and bill-backs 

Businesses using Extend bring a new level of efficiency to pass-through and bill-back expenses, streamlining expense tracking and reconciliation

Instead of handling payments with a couple of physical cards, which often leads to a time-consuming reconciliation process, assigning individual virtual cards to each project and client account ensures every dollar spent is accounted for and attributed to the appropriate source.

With this clear separation and categorization of expenses, it’s easier to see who spent what in real-time rather than combing through credit card statements at month’s end to determine which charge belongs to which project or account. 

Moreover, businesses not only streamline a manual and error-prone reconciliation process but also enhance transparency and accountability. Since every transaction is recorded in real-time and can be tagged with expense codes, finance teams gain an up-to-date financial picture to ensure clients are billed back correctly and quickly, fostering trust and reliability in business relationships.

2. Multi-location businesses and franchisees 

Maintaining oversight and control over purchasing across various locations and franchises while ensuring compliance can be daunting. For that reason, more multi-location businesses are using virtual cards to budget and delegate purchasing power while maintaining total oversight and control. 

Companies using Extend can easily do this by creating and allocating budgets to location managers, who can then create and issue virtual cards for each location's purchasing needs within that budget. This approach eliminates card-sharing and allows location managers to manage day-to-day expenses while ensuring spending remains aligned with the company's policies.

The strength of virtual cards lies in the unparalleled control and visibility they provide to the business. Every transaction made with a virtual card is tracked and recorded, offering a transparent and detailed view of expenditures across all locations. This level of detail is invaluable for effective financial planning and budgeting. It enables owners to dissect spending patterns, uncover potential areas for cost-saving, and allocate resources more strategically.

3. Contractors and temporary employees 

Virtual cards offer a more efficient solution for covering contractors' and temporary employees' work-related expenses compared to traditional methods like checks or ACH. While these conventional methods work, they often lead to delayed reimbursements, creating inefficiencies and potentially straining working relationships.

Instead of having contractors submit their out-of-pocket expenses via an invoice, businesses can issue virtual cards to them directly. This approach ensures that contractors and temporary employees can immediately cover necessary work-related costs, from supplies to tools, without fronting their own money.

Virtual cards also bring significant operational advantages thanks to their immediacy and flexibility. Businesses can reduce cash reimbursements, streamline financial operations, and enhance the spend-tracking process. Not to mention, businesses accrue even more rewards from these transactions, a benefit they would otherwise miss by paying with traditional methods. 

4. Vendor payments 

Businesses are increasingly turning to virtual cards for vendor payments due to their enhanced safety and efficiency. Unlike traditional payment methods, virtual cards offer stringent security controls, like spending limits and custom expiration dates, which reduce risks like wrongful billing and fraud.

Moreover, they eliminate the need to share a single physical card with multiple vendors, which is risky business. Especially since fraud and data breaches are more common than ever, with global losses predicted to grow to almost $50 billion by 2030.

Creating a unique virtual card for each vendor is a much more convenient and secure approach to protecting real account information and credit lines. If vendor-related fraud ever occurs, businesses can simply deactivate that one virtual card and create a new one, rather than having to close down their entire credit card and update card numbers with every single vendor — a tedious and disruptive process for business operations. 

5. Employee expenses 

Virtual cards offer a flexible and accountable way for businesses to manage employee expenses more effectively. This use case is particularly important since not every employee has access to a company card, leaving many fronting the bill and submitting expense reports for reimbursement. 

Worse yet, if employees aren't using personal credit cards, they're likely sharing company card numbers, which can lead to unauthorized charges and a lack of accountability. Such practices not only affect employee morale but burden finance teams with a retroactive process that depletes time and energy that could instead be devoted to more strategic tasks. 

With Extend, business leaders can use virtual cards to empower their teams and efficiently distribute funds across the organization without sacrificing control or visibility over expenses. Employees can also request virtual cards, reducing unapproved spending and enhancing accountability. 

This approach simplifies expense management, receipt management, and out-of-pocket expenses, if any, and allows finance teams to create pre-determined budgets to delegate spending power while retaining comprehensive oversight.

6. Subscription costs 

Managing subscription payments often involves sharing one or a few corporate cards across various departments. A process that ultimately exposes credit card numbers and forces teams to leave cards on file with multiple providers. 

While common, this method can lead to several challenges, from security breaches to difficulty in tracking which charges belong to which department, diminishing internal accountability and control. Instead, finance teams can create a recurring virtual card for each provider to drastically reduce the risk of credit line exposure and gain a clear view of expenses. 

This method ensures every subscription expense is linked to a distinct virtual card that automatically renews every month, simplifying the process of paying, identifying, and managing these costs across the organization. 

If an employee leaves without canceling a subscription, deactivating their specific virtual card is a simple task. 

7. Suppliers and wholesalers 

Dealing with wholesalers and suppliers means businesses face the same risks associated with using the same credit card for multiple transactions. This practice risks a business's entire credit line, and if fraud occurs, canceling and reissuing cards and updating all relevant vendor details will take valuable time and stall business operations.

Assigning individual virtual cards with set limits to each vendor is a better approach to eliminating risks and limiting potential fraudulent activity to a single virtual card rather than the entire credit line. In case of fraud, businesses can quickly cancel the affected virtual card in just a few minutes compared to the lengthy ordeal with traditional credit cards.

Leveraging virtual cards empowers businesses to maintain business continuity, ensure smoother interactions with suppliers and wholesalers, and benefit from a safer, more controlled, and more efficient way to handle these crucial business relationships.

8. Travel expenses 

Everyone benefits when virtual cards are used for business travel: the company, its finance team, employees, interns, and even interviewees. 

The reality is many employees can’t afford to front business costs on behalf of a company and wait for reimbursement. Given that travel expenses can be substantial and accrue interest, this places a significant financial burden on staff, interns, and interviewees. 

Meanwhile, finance teams are left with a cumbersome reimbursement process and a lack of real-time spending visibility. Finance teams that implement virtual cards for better spend management can easily manage and monitor travel spending as it occurs, while employees get an instant and reliable way to cover travel-related costs like flight bookings, accommodations, and meals.

The same applies to interviewees, who can also use a virtual card to take care of travel costs and an allotted per diem when interviewing for a position, giving them a stellar interview experience and leaving a positive impression of the company. Moreover, with spending limits and restrictions on virtual cards, teams can rest assured travel expenses will adhere to company policies, reducing the risk of overspending and simplifying compliance. 

9. Tail spend 

Virtual cards provide a practical way to track miscellaneous spending and cash flow in real-time. Each purchase is automatically recorded, providing up-to-date financial data and enabling businesses to adjust their spending as needed throughout the month, rather than waiting for month-end reviews. 

This level of detail is crucial for identifying areas where cost savings can be made and ensuring that even minor expenses align with the company’s broader financial strategies.

Businesses using virtual cards for tail spend not only benefit from a streamlined expense tracking process but also from significant savings. According to recent data, firms that use digital tools to manage tail spend can cut their annual expenditures by 5% to 10%, on average.

Get started with Extend 

Experience Extend's spend management platform for yourself and see the impact it can have on a business’s efficiency and financial control.

About the author

David Blaha

Chief Revenue Officer

David has spent 30 years as a payments executive, working with fintechs and start-ups to advise on funding and launch strategies. Previously, as vice president and general manager at American Express, David worked across consumer and corporate businesses, leading executive-level sales, operations, and account teams. David’s history of driving exceptional growth and creating highly engaged teams earned him an election into the American Express Hall of Fame in 2015. He earned a BSBA in Marketing and Management from Appalachian State University.

Blog

How businesses use Extend

Presented by

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Presented by

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David Blaha

Chief Revenue Officer

At Extend, we believe in enhancing, not reinventing, how businesses pay. 

We know businesses don’t want to start from the ground up; they simply want to do more with what they already have. But to achieve this, companies need access to the right tools to streamline payments.

That’s why we partner with the banks businesses already know and trust to instantly help customers access a smarter, more efficient method of managing company spend. 

Central to this strategy are virtual cards, which are digital counterparts of traditional physical cards, extending the capabilities of a company's existing credit card while providing better spend management. Virtual cards have typically been viewed as a single-use product for specific purchases and online security –- often used only by the largest of companies. 

But at Extend, we’ve leveled the playing field and now bring virtual cards to businesses of all sizes. 

We’ve turned virtual cards into a dynamic payment platform, functioning as digital versions of a supplementary card but with a vast array of controls and features. 

Today, thousands of small to medium-sized businesses trust Extend to turn their existing corporate card into a spend management platform through the power of virtual cards. 


As one of our customers, the controller at Donovan Agency, put it,

“With Extend, we’re getting flexibility over how we can use our company credit card. Creating virtual cards is really simple, and we can use them for everything from office supplies and production costs to managing our clients’ campaign spend by platform.”

Whether it be to manage media budgets or streamline employee expenses, there are many ways our customers use virtual cards in their business. 

1. Pass-through and bill-backs 

Businesses using Extend bring a new level of efficiency to pass-through and bill-back expenses, streamlining expense tracking and reconciliation

Instead of handling payments with a couple of physical cards, which often leads to a time-consuming reconciliation process, assigning individual virtual cards to each project and client account ensures every dollar spent is accounted for and attributed to the appropriate source.

With this clear separation and categorization of expenses, it’s easier to see who spent what in real-time rather than combing through credit card statements at month’s end to determine which charge belongs to which project or account. 

Moreover, businesses not only streamline a manual and error-prone reconciliation process but also enhance transparency and accountability. Since every transaction is recorded in real-time and can be tagged with expense codes, finance teams gain an up-to-date financial picture to ensure clients are billed back correctly and quickly, fostering trust and reliability in business relationships.

2. Multi-location businesses and franchisees 

Maintaining oversight and control over purchasing across various locations and franchises while ensuring compliance can be daunting. For that reason, more multi-location businesses are using virtual cards to budget and delegate purchasing power while maintaining total oversight and control. 

Companies using Extend can easily do this by creating and allocating budgets to location managers, who can then create and issue virtual cards for each location's purchasing needs within that budget. This approach eliminates card-sharing and allows location managers to manage day-to-day expenses while ensuring spending remains aligned with the company's policies.

The strength of virtual cards lies in the unparalleled control and visibility they provide to the business. Every transaction made with a virtual card is tracked and recorded, offering a transparent and detailed view of expenditures across all locations. This level of detail is invaluable for effective financial planning and budgeting. It enables owners to dissect spending patterns, uncover potential areas for cost-saving, and allocate resources more strategically.

3. Contractors and temporary employees 

Virtual cards offer a more efficient solution for covering contractors' and temporary employees' work-related expenses compared to traditional methods like checks or ACH. While these conventional methods work, they often lead to delayed reimbursements, creating inefficiencies and potentially straining working relationships.

Instead of having contractors submit their out-of-pocket expenses via an invoice, businesses can issue virtual cards to them directly. This approach ensures that contractors and temporary employees can immediately cover necessary work-related costs, from supplies to tools, without fronting their own money.

Virtual cards also bring significant operational advantages thanks to their immediacy and flexibility. Businesses can reduce cash reimbursements, streamline financial operations, and enhance the spend-tracking process. Not to mention, businesses accrue even more rewards from these transactions, a benefit they would otherwise miss by paying with traditional methods. 

4. Vendor payments 

Businesses are increasingly turning to virtual cards for vendor payments due to their enhanced safety and efficiency. Unlike traditional payment methods, virtual cards offer stringent security controls, like spending limits and custom expiration dates, which reduce risks like wrongful billing and fraud.

Moreover, they eliminate the need to share a single physical card with multiple vendors, which is risky business. Especially since fraud and data breaches are more common than ever, with global losses predicted to grow to almost $50 billion by 2030.

Creating a unique virtual card for each vendor is a much more convenient and secure approach to protecting real account information and credit lines. If vendor-related fraud ever occurs, businesses can simply deactivate that one virtual card and create a new one, rather than having to close down their entire credit card and update card numbers with every single vendor — a tedious and disruptive process for business operations. 

5. Employee expenses 

Virtual cards offer a flexible and accountable way for businesses to manage employee expenses more effectively. This use case is particularly important since not every employee has access to a company card, leaving many fronting the bill and submitting expense reports for reimbursement. 

Worse yet, if employees aren't using personal credit cards, they're likely sharing company card numbers, which can lead to unauthorized charges and a lack of accountability. Such practices not only affect employee morale but burden finance teams with a retroactive process that depletes time and energy that could instead be devoted to more strategic tasks. 

With Extend, business leaders can use virtual cards to empower their teams and efficiently distribute funds across the organization without sacrificing control or visibility over expenses. Employees can also request virtual cards, reducing unapproved spending and enhancing accountability. 

This approach simplifies expense management, receipt management, and out-of-pocket expenses, if any, and allows finance teams to create pre-determined budgets to delegate spending power while retaining comprehensive oversight.

6. Subscription costs 

Managing subscription payments often involves sharing one or a few corporate cards across various departments. A process that ultimately exposes credit card numbers and forces teams to leave cards on file with multiple providers. 

While common, this method can lead to several challenges, from security breaches to difficulty in tracking which charges belong to which department, diminishing internal accountability and control. Instead, finance teams can create a recurring virtual card for each provider to drastically reduce the risk of credit line exposure and gain a clear view of expenses. 

This method ensures every subscription expense is linked to a distinct virtual card that automatically renews every month, simplifying the process of paying, identifying, and managing these costs across the organization. 

If an employee leaves without canceling a subscription, deactivating their specific virtual card is a simple task. 

7. Suppliers and wholesalers 

Dealing with wholesalers and suppliers means businesses face the same risks associated with using the same credit card for multiple transactions. This practice risks a business's entire credit line, and if fraud occurs, canceling and reissuing cards and updating all relevant vendor details will take valuable time and stall business operations.

Assigning individual virtual cards with set limits to each vendor is a better approach to eliminating risks and limiting potential fraudulent activity to a single virtual card rather than the entire credit line. In case of fraud, businesses can quickly cancel the affected virtual card in just a few minutes compared to the lengthy ordeal with traditional credit cards.

Leveraging virtual cards empowers businesses to maintain business continuity, ensure smoother interactions with suppliers and wholesalers, and benefit from a safer, more controlled, and more efficient way to handle these crucial business relationships.

8. Travel expenses 

Everyone benefits when virtual cards are used for business travel: the company, its finance team, employees, interns, and even interviewees. 

The reality is many employees can’t afford to front business costs on behalf of a company and wait for reimbursement. Given that travel expenses can be substantial and accrue interest, this places a significant financial burden on staff, interns, and interviewees. 

Meanwhile, finance teams are left with a cumbersome reimbursement process and a lack of real-time spending visibility. Finance teams that implement virtual cards for better spend management can easily manage and monitor travel spending as it occurs, while employees get an instant and reliable way to cover travel-related costs like flight bookings, accommodations, and meals.

The same applies to interviewees, who can also use a virtual card to take care of travel costs and an allotted per diem when interviewing for a position, giving them a stellar interview experience and leaving a positive impression of the company. Moreover, with spending limits and restrictions on virtual cards, teams can rest assured travel expenses will adhere to company policies, reducing the risk of overspending and simplifying compliance. 

9. Tail spend 

Virtual cards provide a practical way to track miscellaneous spending and cash flow in real-time. Each purchase is automatically recorded, providing up-to-date financial data and enabling businesses to adjust their spending as needed throughout the month, rather than waiting for month-end reviews. 

This level of detail is crucial for identifying areas where cost savings can be made and ensuring that even minor expenses align with the company’s broader financial strategies.

Businesses using virtual cards for tail spend not only benefit from a streamlined expense tracking process but also from significant savings. According to recent data, firms that use digital tools to manage tail spend can cut their annual expenditures by 5% to 10%, on average.

Get started with Extend 

Experience Extend's spend management platform for yourself and see the impact it can have on a business’s efficiency and financial control.

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