6 Feb 2023
4 min read

Get better company spend management and control with card limits, caps, and approvals

Quick summary

Though their remit may differ, finance teams at SMBs and large enterprises often have a lot in common. They want to give out company cards to empower their colleagues and help remove manual finance admin, but they don't want to lose control of spend.

Table of Contents

    Picture this: You're a finance manager for an SMB or large enterprise. It's close to month end, and you're downing your fifth coffee of the day and pulling your hair out because there are tonnes of missing receipts, and worse still, you have no visibility over how much the business has spent.

    You've heard that spend management solutions, including corporate cards and expense management software, could be the answer. Still, you're nervous about putting company funds in your colleagues' back pockets and losing control and oversight of spend.

    Sound familiar?

    Discover better decision-making with transparent spend data

    Moving away from AMEX and traditional banks for better spend control

    Many companies have been using company card solutions for decades. The problem is not all card solutions are created equal.

    The finance team at leading art and event fabrication company, MDM Props, used to rely on a few different card solutions to manage company spend. The lack of visibility and lengthy processes involved with said solutions created some big challenges, and they knew there must be a better way.

    "We used two different credit card systems, one from Barclays and one from AMEX. With the Barclays card, you would get a monthly statement, and you had to pay it in seven days. But sometimes, when we'd log into the system to retrieve the statement, it wasn't even available," explained Finance Manager Uchenna. "So, we didn't know what we were paying, which was bad for cash flow. We had to download a pdf statement then physically get the receipts and attach them to the statement, and it would take days or even weeks to reconcile."

    Next-generation company cards are different. Part of a complete spend management solution, modern company cards should link to expense management software that lets you see spending exactly as it happens and helps decentralise expense management and leverage in-built spend controls. Payhawk, for example, enables cardholders to pay with a virtual or physical card, snap their receipt, upload it in an app, and categorise it using custom fields provided by finance.

    The cards and app also feature in-built spend caps and limits, meaning cardholders can't overspend or break budget. So, your cardholders have the freedom to spend, but you stay in control.

    Modern spend management solutions are convenient, reduce administrative costs, and help control costs and budgets by allowing employees to spend within pre-set limits. Yet shockingly, many businesses still prefer to stick to old-fashioned methods and scramble at the end of the month.

    A recent report from Harvard Business Review Analytics Services, in association with Payhawk, explored the changing role of the finance team and the practical ways to become more strategic and less administrative. In the report, 67% of business leaders shared that they believed the finance team mainly worked on chasing down receipts and managing day-to-day record keeping.

    Set limits and see company spending in real time

    At Payhawk, we know spend control is top of the list for many finance teams. From expense policies to policy compliance, you need your team to spend appropriately and support the company's budget and overall goals.

    Finance teams can implement spend policies with the Payhawk solution with inbuilt corporate card controls and approval workflows that make it easy for cardholders to stick within the rules.

    Our software lets you:

    • Set spend limits for individual employees or groups of employees
    • See who has used their card and how much they spent (by individual, team, and entity)
    • View past transactions, including receipts and invoices, to ensure that all purchases are legitimate
    • Set rules and alerts, so you know when an employee is overspending on a particular category of items or services
    • Set up approval workflows for team leaders to approve card fund requests (which you can set to auto-approve if under a certain amount)

    Limit excessive business spending

    Are you tightening your belt? You know it's impossible to reduce spend without a) understanding it and b) being specific about where you need your controls (and where spend is running wild).

    With Payhawk, you can update the following card controls individually or in bulk:

    1.Set up or block ATM withdrawals

    Setting up ATM withdrawals is an excellent way to monitor and limit employee spending. With this feature, you can decide whether employees can use their cards in ATMs. Admins and accountants can toggle individual or bulk ATM use on and off as needed. This feature is handy for larger companies with multiple departments and locations where employees may require different access levels.

    2.Block online transactions

    You can select whether to allow online payments or not. If your team is mainly on the road and paying for petrol and sundries, then you may choose to turn off online payments, for example.

    3.Block or freeze card spend

    You can easily stop employee card spending in a few clicks in case of misuse or suspicious activity. Then simply unfreeze the cards to resume agreed use.

    4.Delete cards easily

    Card deletion is made easy via the portal. Keep track of staff turnover and delete cards accordingly, with no involvement from the departing employee.

    5.Set daily spend limits on corporate cards

    Daily limits are a great way to control your company's overall spending limit for any given day. These limits help give you an accurate picture of how much money is being spent and where it's going. It also allows you to spot potential problems before they become significant issues. For example, if one employee keeps going over their allocated budget, you can take action before they use up all of their allotted funds for the month.

    How to get smart spend management right

    Many companies have company cards for their employees to help them make purchases for the company. Often these same companies then connect either separate expense management software or manage and chase all expenses manually.

    Both of these options make it impossible to know exactly how much each employee (or team) is spending, why, and where.

    With Payhawk, you can keep track of all your company's purchases in one place and get real-time analytics on how much is being spent each month. This connected experience allows you to monitor your expenses more closely than ever before and prevent unnecessary overspending.

    The best spend management tools make it easy for employees to submit their expenses quickly and easily from their mobile phones or laptops. And they give you complete visibility and control over spending via a range of helpful, customisable features.

    Learn more about your company could take control of spend with corporate cards and software. Book a demo today.

    Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrow
    Trish Toovey
    Senior Content Manager

    Trish Toovey works across the UK and US markets to craft content at Payhawk. Covering anything from ad copy to video scripting, Trish leans on a super varied background in copy and content creation for the finance, fashion, and travel industries.

    See all articles by Trish →

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