Jun 21, 2024
2 minutes

Why look for an alternative to traditional bank cards & how to switch a solution

Paying with Pahyhawk corporate cards at a checkout
Quick summary

Imagine it's the end of the quarter or even the month, and you're still wrestling with outdated financial systems, juggling multiple tools, and chasing approvals. Isn't it time for a change? Discover how our corporate card solution can streamline your financial operations, turning chaos into clarity and costs into savings.

Table of Contents

    In the fast-paced world of corporate finance, many finance teams still struggle to track employee expenses using outdated methods. From traditional corporate cards to Excel sheets, legacy methods often involve a tangle of receipts, a delay in expense visibility, and the ever-present risk of overspending.

    As Howard Thompson, Global Financial Controller at GDS Group, explains:

    Before using Payhawk, we had to manually do everything using Excel spreadsheets. Somebody would send their physical receipts in an envelope attached with a spreadsheet printout, leave that on their manager's desks, and then get that signed off before sharing it with finance.

    Alternatives to traditional bank solutions like Payhawk corporate cards (and expense management software) simplify the entire spend process. With smart control-boosting cards in hand, your team can track transactions in harmony with budgets, capture receipts with a snap, and ensure cash flows perfectly in line with your business's rhythm and needs.

    But don't just take our word for it. Here are the eight biggest benefits at Payhawk in a nutshell.


    Discover 20+ ways to control your card spend & approvals

    Top eight Payhawk benefits

    Modern business leaders expect to have their fingers continually on the pulse, including understanding and controlling spending. And that's where we come in: changing how businesses manage and monitor their expenses.

    Curious to see how fintech solutions like ours disrupt traditional banks?

    Here are the main benefits you get when using Payhawk for spend management:

    Corporate cards

    Our cards are designed to support businesses to make payments and manage all spend smartly. And here's how these cards are transforming the corporate spending experience:

    • Streamlined spending with extensive controls: Corporate cards that put the power in the hands of the finance teams. With customizable spending limits and real-time tracking, businesses can ensure that every card transaction aligns perfectly with their budget and policy.
    • Worldwide acceptance and easy expense management: Our cards are accepted globally, making business travel and remote purchases hassle-free. Coupled with the corresponding app, employees can easily capture receipts and categorize expenses on the go, significantly reducing the administrative burden of expense reporting.

    Andrew Jacobi, VP of US Finance at State of Play Hospitality, says:

    We rely on the customizable class settings within Payhawk to distinguish between venues and analyze performance. Whether categorizing between venues or categorizing into the right general ledger code, it's extremely helpful in allocating spending.

    • Improved policy compliance: Our corporate cards help enforce company policies automatically by setting specific spending rules based on the cardholder, category, and budget. This minimizes the risk of unauthorized spending and enhances compliance across the board.

    Further benefits

    Besides our virtual and physical cards, we also offer:

    • Instant oversight and enhanced control: At Payhawk, our solution offers unmatched control over your business spend. Every swipe is tracked in real-time, offering immediate insights and ensuring every dollar spent is justified and within budget policies. A substantial number of companies report achieving a return on investment faster with Payhawk, with 40% reaching ROI in under six months — a stark contrast to the 13.8-month industry average.
    • Massive reduction in manual tasks: Say goodbye to the tedious manual expense tracking management and invoice processing. Our solution automates these tasks, minimizing human error and freeing your team to focus on what truly matters—growing your business. Our automation also cuts manual workloads by 50%, enabling teams to close monthly books twice as fast as before.

    Charlotte Donaldson, Financial Analyst at Essentia Analytics, says:

    What have we learned from Payhawk? It doesn't need to take ten days to close the month! Now it only takes five!

    • Effortless reconciliation: Forget the headache of chasing down receipts. At Payhawk, we automatically pair each transaction with its corresponding receipt, making receipt reconciliation a breeze and ensuring complete and accurate financial records.
    • Complete digitization of expense management: From the point of transaction to final bookkeeping via the integration to your ERP, we digitize and automate the entire process, transforming how you manage and record your expenses. With Payhawk and our seamless ERP and accounting integrations, you can accelerate your expense processing, with over half of all receipts collected on the same day they are incurred.
    • Simplified pre-accounting: Our automated pre-accounting features eliminate manual data entry, ensuring your financial records are always precise and up to date without constant manual intervention.

    Nadia Vauytrecht, HR & Operations Manager at Explose says:

    Payhawk enables me to focus on tasks that create company value. Payhawk makes accounting easier; the OCR technology does part of my job by identifying duplicate invoices and populating fields… It's like the four-eyes principle in action!

    How to nail your Payhawk implementation

    Now that we've gone through the numerous benefits of fintech vs traditional bank solutions, we will guide you through the implementation process of transitioning to Payhawk.

    Robbie Hadfield, ACCA, Director of Solution Engineering at Payhawk, says:

    We've seamlessly transitioned thousands of companies to Payhawk. Our data imports, integrations, and practical checklists ensure a smooth switch with minimal disruption to your organization. Plus, our experienced Implementation Managers offer guidance and best practices for a thorough and fully phased roll-out, making expense management seamless and stress-free.

    Let's walk through the essential steps Payhawk takes to prepare your system and team for a successful launch.

    ERP, accounting and HR integrations

    The foundation of a seamless transition begins with integrating the Payhawk solution with your existing ERP and HR systems. This step entails consolidating your financial operations and maintaining data consistency across platforms. Our implementation team facilitates connections to each relevant ERP subsidiary for businesses managing multiple entities, ensuring comprehensive integration that aligns with your organizational structure.

    Importing your "master set of data" into Payhawk

    A smooth transition to Payhawk includes transferring your master data set into the platform. This process, facilitated by both ERP integration and direct data imports from Excel, ensures that all critical data is in place before you go live. By handling this upfront, we ensure that your financial data is organized and ready for action from day one.

    Let's walk through the essential steps Payhawk takes to prepare your system and team for a successful launch.

    Additional configuration

    Beyond data integration, setting up your system to match your business processes is key. Our team will let you configure various workflows and processes during onboarding:

    • Approval workflows: Customise approval paths that reflect your organizational hierarchy and spending policies.
    • Card policies: Establish control mechanisms for card usage to prevent unauthorized spending and enhance security.
    • Receipt chasing regulations: Activate features to manage and minimize issues with missing receipts, ensuring compliance and simplifying reconciliation.

    Martin Reindl, Director of Implementation at Payhawk, says:

    Our implementation managers and project team are almost like Payhawk consultants; they're here to guide and advise on setting up the company account and do the heavy lifting so the customer is prepped for success. We then look at their use case and offer suggestions and advice on setting the solution up to ensure they get the biggest bang for their buck. Take, for example, a customer who says they don't need our subscription management software. In that case, we still suggest setting it up based on our research into their use case, as we've seen that it would benefit them and offer even more value.

    Core user training

    Empowering your team with knowledge and skills is critical to leveraging our solution's full potential. The initial training sessions are designed for core users — Controllers, Directors of Accounting, and other key finance personnel involved in daily financial management.

    Training topics include:

    • Detailed ERP integration: Ensuring all expenses are mapped correctly to your general ledger
    • Expense review process: Streamlining how expenses are approved and recorded in Payhawk
    • Subscriptions module: Transferring all recurring card expenses from legacy systems to Payhawk to optimize cashback benefits and simplify expense tracking
    • End-of-month processes: Preparing your team for efficient month-end closing with our solution

    Switching to Payhawk

    Ready to take a transformative step in managing your company's finances by switching to Payhawk?

    Here's how your implementation might look:

    Phase 1: Issuing cards

    First, you need to move all your recurring subscriptions to dedicated Payhawk subscription cards. This transition is not just about changing where payments are made; it's about enhancing how you manage these expenses.

    Key subscriptions to move include:

    • Google
    • Microsoft
    • Slack
    • ERP costs
    • Marketing expenses (Google Ads, SEO, Websites)
    • Utilities
    • Internet Costs
    • Insurance payments

    The Payhawk Subscriptions feature serves as a comprehensive checklist to help ensure no critical payment is overlooked during the transition.

    Issuing cards to Team Members

    Deciding when to issue your Payhawk cards is crucial. We recommend starting in the last week of the month. This timing allows your team members to receive their virtual cards instantly, with physical cards arriving within two to three days. Starting at this time helps seamlessly close out the month with your legacy systems and kickstart the new month on Payhawk.

    Card migration plan

    A typical card migration might look like this:

    • Week 1-3: Continue with your existing card setups.
    • Week 4: Begin Payhawk integration, including training sessions or videos to facilitate card activation and app usage. Issue Payhawk cards and transfer all subscription payments to these new cards.
    • Month 2: Start actively using Payhawk cards. Monitor and manage subscriptions through the Payhawk platform.
    • Month 3: Deactivate old cards to prevent service interruptions and confirm that all spending has successfully transitioned to Payhawk.

    Best practices and next steps for a smooth transition

    • Training and activation: Schedule a training session for all cardholders to ensure everyone is comfortable using the new system. Cards should be activated within five days of issuance.
    • Monthly review and reconciliation: At the end of each month, review all card transactions to ensure they are correctly recorded and exported to your ERP system. This helps maintain accurate financial records and simplifies month-end reconciliation.
    • Ongoing usage and feedback: Continue using Payhawk cards and gather feedback to optimize the system. Regular check-ins with users can help identify any challenges early and streamline the expense management process.

    Businesses that transition to Payhawk note significant improvements in financial management efficiency. For instance, by marking all card expenses as reviewed at the month-end, companies can streamline their reconciliation processes, ensuring a smoother financial close. Moreover, managing subscriptions centrally or by department enhances accountability and control over company spending.

    – David Sandler, Senior Business Controller at Mercell, says:

    Before Payhawk, we only had one credit card, which was used by several people. This made it difficult for us to trace which expenses were coming from where. Every time someone needed to use the credit card, they needed to reach out to our CFO, and now they get the autonomy they need.

    Eager to see how Payhawk can reshape your financial operations like the team at Mercell? Request a demo and set your sights on a future where informed decisions, optimized budgets, and sustainable growth are the norm.

    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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