2 Feb 2023
4 min read

Freedom within a framework: Company cards with savvy spend controls

business spend control and management
Quick summary

Smart corporate cards provide businesses with a super easy way to manage company expenses. So, why are some many businesses still hesitant to use them? Often, it’s because they worry that putting company money in employees’ hands and pockets is too risky and will result in overspend and even fraud. But what if businesses could give out company cards and still stay in complete control?

Table of Contents

    For those companies still using personal cards for business expenses or corporate cards from traditional banks; a real-time view of company spend is impossible. And with a lack of spend visibility comes uninformed decision-making, inaccurate forecasting, and a lengthy month-end close. Hardly ideal, especially in the current climate.

    Let's imagine your number one salesperson, Maria, is on the road and needs to spend on some event collateral for her team to exhibit in London. Maria pays on her personal card and will submit her expenses at the end of the month. That means no visibility over the true cost of the event until at least the beginning of the following month. And no understanding of the event's ROI or success. Plus, your finance team is now relying on Maria to collect and save all her receipts and submit them on time, even though they know she'll likely be travelling again, and it'll be the last thing on her mind.

    A spend management solution like Payhawk, complete with corporate cards and expense management software, can save Maria's company money, improve efficiency, provide real-time spend visibility, and save time.

    Moreover, our solution includes multiple spend controls that allow you to empower your colleagues to spend for work without losing any control. From limits on how much cardholders can spend on their corporate debit or credit cards to blocks on ATMs or card freezes, our built-in spend controls ensure the business can keep a firm grip over spending. And they also help employees avoid the hassle of navigating dusty spend policies or lengthy reimbursement processes.

    Take control of company spend

    Managing spend controls at scale should be easy

    Whether a growing company or large enterprise, you can manage your company's entire spend in real-time and get an accurate picture of your expenses with our solution. With Payhawk, your account admins in the finance team can set individual or bulk card controls to roll out company policy across the cards and cardholder app; they can:

    • Set card rules per cardholder or in bulk around daily limits, expense types, and more. Plus, track expenses by employee, department, or entity
    • Set different policies for different staff members depending on their seniority level. For example, the CEO's card may have no spending cap, while junior employees may have a lower limit
    • Set different policies based on the type of card and do things like block online spend or ATM withdrawals
    • Block, freeze or delete cards based on misuse, fraud, theft, or staff turnover.

    Spend control is more than setting limits

    The way you set up your card controls can help you improve business processes, manage risk, and reduce costs.

    Your finance team can instantly set controls in the Payhawk platform to reflect the company’s spend policies and encourage compliance. These controls are then reflected on the card and app to ensure that whoever is spending is doing so within a finance-led framework.

    Spend controls can make a big difference to your business and help you to do the following.

    - Create better budgets by customising spend rules

    Set and update card rules individually or in bulk around single transactions, daily limits, and expense types to roll out your spend policy and update it as required. You can apply card spend limits to individual cards or multiple cards simultaneously. And create rules that apply across all cards or create multiple rules for different purposes.

    - Take advantage of risk-free, zero-balance credit cards

    Let’s go back to our number one salesperson, Maria. The nature of her role means that some weeks she needs to spend a lot, and some weeks it’s zero. Her boss is reluctant to set up a rolling monthly budget because of the sporadic spend, so you suggest an alternative: a zero-balance card.

    It sounds odd, but some customers really like this approach. With Payhawk, we can help you issue company cards with zero balance and a fund request approval process attached. You can even automate the approval workflows so it automatically approves any requests under a certain amount and only flags a human approver if it’s above a set limit.

    See what our cards can do

    - Control recurring payments

    Our subscription feature analyses your current credit card statements and finds duplicate charges, hidden fees, and other recurring payments you can investigate or eliminate.

    - Set cards limits

    Set up individual, team, or company card limits. And get low fund alerts for when card balances are low.

    Easily set up rules for how much cardholders can spend. For example, you could limit your VP sales team to £2000 per day and your interns to £500 per day. You can also set up daily spending limits and caps by transaction type.

    Enhanced control and governance over company spending

    Company cards with in-built spend controls are a great way to ensure your employees spend company funds appropriately. With enhanced control over spending, you'll have peace of mind knowing exactly where your funds are going. This kind of oversight makes it easier for companies to:

    • Set limits on the amount that can be spent on each card, which helps to prevent overspending or spending beyond budget. Customisable per diems and a TravelPerk integration help make these even more sophisticated.
    • Access to real-time transaction data to review spending at any time and see how much is left in their account for the month. Monitoring transactions and viewing financial information in real time helps users save time by eliminating manual reconciliation processes. London-based arts fabrication company MDM Props shared how frustrating it was for them when they used corporate cards from traditional banks . "When we were with our previous credit card supplier, we had to wait until the end of the month for the limit to update. Meaning if someone spent their money within two weeks and needed more, they just had to wait for two more weeks. Not very agile!"
    • Generate reports at any time, giving you access to an aggregated view of all transaction activity across all cards within one solution. This view makes it easier than ever before to stay on top of expenses and monitor compliance with company policies and procedures

    These features, and more, help to provide better expense control while increasing spend transparency within the organisation.

    Spend controls: The common sense approach to corporate cards

    Corporate cards are one of the most effective tools in a business’s arsenal. They offer flexibility, convenience, and control over expenses. The key to maximising their use? Leverage the tools and policies that make sense for your company.

    Ready to eliminate business expense risks with spend controls? 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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