Jan 17, 2023
4 min read

Card reconciliation: Best practices for accuracy and efficiency

Accountants using Payhawk's Card reconciliation features
Quick summary

The power of automation is changing the way we work, and expense management is no exception. The future belongs to those who can simplify tasks like the bank reconciliation process and receipt chasing, and get back to doing what they do best — growing their business.

Table of Contents

    This story might sound familiar if you haven't yet adopted a spend management solution that includes Visa corporate cards and expense management software. Jenny and Hannah from your sales and marketing team have gone on a work trip to host an event for your target prospects.

    While on their trip, Jenny used her company card to pay for her travel expenses and settle some supplier invoices for the event banners. The problem is Jenny is great at organising events and terrible at keeping receipts.

    Jenny's missing receipts mean a big gap in your corporate card reconciliations, and, worse still, a lost opportunity to reclaim VAT.

    Hannah has been attending the same event and making purchases for work via her personal card. Hannah is a superhero when it comes to saving receipts. No missing receipts for her. But still hours of reviewing, checking, and reconciling the paperwork against the spend for the finance team, before they can transfer money to her account as reimbursement.

    Simplifying the bank reconciliation processes is vital. Your team does not need to waste their time chasing down receipts or manually matching your spend to the correct invoice. A smart spend management solution, like Payhawk, can save you hours of manual admin a day and even help you close your month twice as fast.

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    Reduce the friction in your expense management process

    Back in the present day and the truth is pretty shocking. Lots of companies, big and small, are still reconciling their payments and expenses in this way. But, the thing is, thanks to innovative technology, finance teams and accountants don't need to chase down receipts or manually match spend to correct invoices. Instead, they should be able to focus on what they do best — developing strategies around budgets, pinpointing ways to save the business money, and supercharging growth or encouraging stability.

    But how can companies achieve this?

    The answer lies in expense management software that captures receipt data in just the snap of a photo, auto-chases missing receipts, and integrates with your accounting software or ERP. With the right solution, companies can drastically reduce the time spent on manual processes like invoice matching and spend analysis.

    The days of chasing receipts are over

    You love numbers (we do, too), but let's face it, tracking expenses isn't fun. It's time-consuming, tedious, and undesirable. But as a CFO or Controller, you're 'primarily responsible for providing accurate and timely company records by managing the accounting function,’ so ensuring your team can properly reconcile spend is imperative.

    A solution like ours makes it so easy for people to collect their receipts and capture the data that adoption is a no-brainer for users. Remember Hannah and her reimbursements? What if she had a company card?

    With our solution, a cardholder simply pays with a Payhawk corporate card, snaps a picture of the receipt via their phone, and uploads it to the Payhawk app — our OCR tech then does the heavy lifting in seconds by pulling out all of the relevant data. All they have to do then is choose the spend category (from the categories which the finance team account admins have added), and hey presto, the spend data is captured and categorised.

    No chasing and no manual data entry. Moreover, our solution is built in accordance with the accruals concept; from card payments and receipt capture to ERP and accounting software integrations, all the spend data flows in perfect sync. And it's all in real-time. Companies no longer have to wait until month-end for their traditional bank card statements or manually enter data into spreadsheets or accounting systems to match transactions.

    You will also massively improve your successful VAT reclaim potential in a world where you don't have missing receipts. Take the German automotive company ATU, for example. As Senior Project Manager Mathias Goetz explained, "we no longer have to chase receipts. Since using Payhawk, managers must simply take a picture of their receipt — thus digitising it — and enter it into the automated finance system. In the first year, this change resulted in ATU recouping € 2 million from the tax office that would have been lost otherwise."

    Real-time reconciliation explained

    Prevent errors and time spent re-keying

    Good finance departments are vital to the success of any company. And if you're the CFO or finance manager, you already know how difficult it can be to ensure that your financial statements are accurate, complete, and ready to be filed with auditors right on time.

    The problem is that finance departments have to reconcile many business expenses across several departments. Each with its own unique reporting and spend requirements. This process can lead to a lot of duplicate data entry by busy employees who just want to get their work done so they can go home at the end of day. And when those same employees make mistakes while inputting data into their systems, the finance department must spend even more time reconciling and correcting their errors.

    The account reconciliation process might often seem like an endless cycle of risk management. It typically starts with the initial receipt of data and ends when the close of the fiscal year is complete. In between, there are countless opportunities for human error to creep in, causing serious financial consequences. These challenges are precisely why the larger the company gets, the more it needs account reconciliation automation.

    How automated card reconciliation can help you

    Large enterprises must automate manual tasks where possible to free up valuable time for more strategic initiatives; this is why many CFOs look for ways to streamline their card reconciliations.

    With our spend management solution, you can take advantage of automation that makes your reconciliation process painless. Here's how in a nutshell:

    1. Automating the process - With our solution, you can encourage your employees to collect and upload receipts easily (thanks to receipt capture with OCR tech). No more waiting around for receipts or chasing after employees. Just make sure they submit them using the mobile app or dashboard
    2. Easy access - The mobile app makes it easy for employees to submit their expenses from anywhere at any time, so there's no need for them to go through their emails or log into a web portal when they're away from their desks at work. This means that all expense information is available whenever you need it, even during non-working hours

    What about big businesses?

    Our platform has been designed to help large companies and enterprises optimise their accounting processes through superior integrations. And, our smart integration strategy is built in accordance with the accruals concept and means you can…

    1. Easily transfer your company's expense data; we have first-class integrations with many popular accounting systems and ERPs, NetSuite, Xero, and QuickBooks, so your spend data will sync seamlessly
    2. Keep accurate records of transactions in real time. This ensures that no expense goes unrecorded and no money is unaccounted for at the end of the month

    Final thoughts

    Companies need to know that every penny spent on behalf of the business and all transactions are recorded accurately. They must be confident that their financial statements can be relied upon at all times, which means having a clear audit trail for all expenses.

    The solution is an all-in-one integrated spend management solution that automates the entire process from receipt creation through to accounting. These solutions provide a centralised platform where employees can upload their receipts and track their expenses from start to finish. They also allow managers to review expenses on a real-time basis, so they can approve or reject individual items quickly without waiting for monthly reports or audits.

    Learn how to reconcile transactions more efficiently and accurately; book a demo.

    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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