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What is Spend Management? Importance, Benefits & Process

Vlad Falin

November 14, 2022

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In the realm of business operations, effective spend management is crucial for maintaining a healthy financial bottom line. Businesses grappling with inefficient spending control face risks that can substantially impact their financial stability. 

For example, poor invoicing practices that cause a delay in payment can lead to contract management issues or, even worse, a lost client for your business. It also might cause issues with some of your preferred suppliers if they feel they’re not being paid on time. 

Making a slip-up that disrupts a subscription can mean your company lacks access to critical software or tools until the issue is fixed.

A poor expense report system means charges incurred on your business trip might result in many follow-up questions, so your accounts payable team is on the same page with purchase orders. A system without real-time visibility for spending data is not ideal for any organization and does not make it easy to reduce spend.

Intelligent spend management helps prevent these issues. A business uses spend management to comprehensively track and review organizational-wide spending and purchase orders down to the last dirham. 

In this post we will deep dive into spend management and discuss the best ways to properly manage it. 

What is spend management?

Spend management refers to the systematic process of tracking, analyzing, and controlling an organization's total expenditure. It encompasses all aspects of business spending, including invoicing, contract management, subscription services, and expense reporting. 

The goal of spend management is to enhance financial stability by providing real-time visibility into all financial transactions and purchase orders. This comprehensive approach enables businesses to identify inefficiencies, reduce unnecessary expenses, and maintain strong relationships with suppliers and clients.

The Importance Of Spend Management

Effective spend management is crucial for a company's financial health and operational efficiency. Neglecting careful expenditure tracking or allowing excessive indirect spending can lead to significant revenue loss, risking even the most well-planned business strategies. Managing costs and enhancing efficiency becomes challenging when financial processes are time-intensive and complex.

A report by McKinsey highlights the critical nature of this issue, noting that external spending on suppliers typically represents 40-80% of a company's total expenses. This statistic underscores the vital importance of meticulous spending control. Furthermore, the process of reviewing and optimizing expenditures can have a substantial impact on employee workloads, indicating the far-reaching effects of spend management.

Adopting robust spend management practices enables companies to achieve greater financial stability and avert potential crises. Implementing a system that tracks and monitors all financial transactions ensures that expenditures are fully accounted for, reducing the likelihood of wastage. In summary, efficient spend management is not just about cost control; it is a strategic approach that influences every aspect of a company's operations and contributes significantly to its long-term success.

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Advantages Of Digital Spend Management

In this day and age, using an online tool to keep track of your expenses should be a no-brainer. Let’s have a look at some of the main advantages.

1. Insight Into Everyday Expenditures 

Where is every dirham your company makes going? If you don’t know, digital spend management will dramatically strengthen financial accountability, budgeting, and expenses. In addition, reporting on where company funds are flowing makes it much simpler to see how different department heads oversee budgets. Read more on how to improve internal control over financial reporting.

2. Stronger Financial Controls 

Spend management tools like Pluto, allow you to not only monitor your spending in real-time but also set the limits on the go. In addition to that you can issue cards for departments or individuals, and even focus them on a particular type of usage, such as specific vendors only. 

spend management

3. Budget optimization 

Effective spend management is a great solution to ensure a better-looking budget. Analyzing and managing spending makes it simple to find and cancel unneeded services, negotiate lower prices with new supplier contracts, and never have to pay a late fee again. It will also significantly help your board of directors as they’ll have a simplified, streamlined budget to review and discuss at the start of the year. 

Common Spend Management Challenges 

It’s easy to pursue spend management practices that hurt your business’s bottom line if you’re not careful. Many ‘traditional’ best practices might not fit companies with remote-first work policies, engage in cutting-edge industries, or have an unorthodox structure.

If your company has a dynamic structure, spend management becomes all the more important to help you keep up with the competition and get the most value out of every dirham spent. 

Keep these potential challenges in mind as you pursue spend management practices. 

1. Relying On Old Spending Data

Be wary of relying on old budgets or financial data when managing more spend. It’s challenging for leadership to identify problem areas with cash inflows or outflows, when they only have outdated information.

2. Over reliance On Manual Mapping 

Having to go back at the end of the month to match spending to budgets manually can take an inordinate amount of hours and opens the door to errors and mistakes that can throw off a spend management policy. 

Pluto helps to automatically match spend to budgets in real-time, ensuring accounting and finance teams have accurate updates. 

3. Harnessing Too Much Technology

Modern financial software can dramatically help your company’s day-to-day operational flow. However, if these solutions do not work together, chaos can ensue which leads to data migration and processing errors. Pluto integrates with your accounting tools, cutting the data flow time significantly. 

4. Outdated Processes

The post-COVID world of remote and digital work means your employees might be scattered across the globe and in different time zones. Having to arrange shared corporate cards manually or coordinate team spending with employees in different locations can be tricky. Pluto offers unlimited virtual cards, which allow you to provide a payment channel for any employee anywhere in the world. 

spend management challenges

How To Improve Your Spend Management Process

Optimizing your spend management process might seem tricky at first glance. Fortunately, small and large businesses often rely on the same core strategies to optimize spending. 

1. Rely On Spend Management Software: Pluto can help automatically track expenses, keep abreast of budgeting, and help manage strategic sourcing. CEOs and CFOs then have relevant, real-time data at their fingertips to see where their company is financially. 

2. Focus On A Few Payment Methods: Do you have too many company cards in your pocket? It might be time to streamline purchasing methods to help simplify your spend management strategy. For example, your business can dramatically improve expense tracking by asking employees to only use company cards for business expenses instead of asking for their personal cards to be reimbursed. 

3. Have An Organized Approval Process: You can clarify your spending process (you might want to check our post on how to create a corporate card policy)  by ensuring employees have a clear hierarchy of how and by whom purchases need to be approved. If your team is unclear, they might complicate the payment process by not filing the right reports, which means your financial team could be left in the dark about purchases. 

6 Efficient Spend Management Strategy Tips

Your company needs to optimize its spend management strategy to ensure the final results lead to reduced procurement costs, improved efficiency, and streamlined workflows. 

Spend management best practices also help improve vendor relationships and communication, procure the optimal goods and services your business needs, and even help you earn volume and early payment discounts due to more effective and simplified financial practices. 

Keep the following steps in mind for the best results regardless of your organization’s industry or size. 

1. Calculate Expenses

Do you know exactly where employees spend company funds? If not, you’ll need to build a comprehensive list of company expenses, suppliers, and entities where funds are going. 

This might quickly become a challenge if you’re in charge of a large business. If so, look to designate specific team members to review employee salaries, utilities, marketing, training, and all other day-to-day expenses to have the most detailed list. 

You can’t improve what you do not measure. You can use Pluto to get a firm grip on your expenses. Pluto allows you to monitor and control your expenses so you clearly see how much was spent in which category. 

2. Confirm Data

You’ll want to ensure all accrued expense data is accurate and can be cross-checked with receipts and inventory records. Ensuring transaction data is precise, and expense lists are free of duplicates, spelling mistakes, and other mistakes makes the entire spend management process more efficient. 

Take this step extremely seriously if your company spend practices have relied on more manual processing methods. Standardization ensures that multiple currencies, formatting differences, and other nuances are accounted for when looking at spend analysis data. 

(Goes without saying that when using Pluto this is all pre-done for you!)

3. Categorize Information

While optimal spend management brings all expenditures under a single umbrella to review, your team will still want to categorize expenses into various groups to make reviewing and making adjustments across different departments simpler. 

It’s usually best to categorize expenses in multiple ways to understand where money is going. Pluto allows you to categorize expenses both through specialized cards or just by tagging, so everything is nicely grouped together when it is review time. 

spend management strategy

4. Review Expenses

A well-thought-out process of calculating, verifying, and categorizing spending information will simplify your entire review process when you’re looking at spend data. 

You should immediately be able to spot expenses that are anomalies or recurring spending that might be able to be cut out from the start. 

Pluto’s dashboard can give you a high level but also a detailed view, so you can clearly identify trends and separate expenses.

5. Devise A Strategy

You’ll want to move decisively once you’ve identified potential changes to spending habits and department budgeting approaches. 

It might seem difficult at first glance to start reducing budgets, cutting out vendors, or make other dramatic changes to your company’s budget and expense habits. Rely on good change management practices and your leadership team to cultivate employee and stakeholder buy-in to any adjustments.

6. Practice Good Data Forecasting

Keep updating your expense data as you make a budget and spending adjustments. Doing so keeps your team on top of where funds are going and can help forecast different spending scenarios and how they might impact your business’s bottom line. 

Keeping data and information updated becomes particularly important if your expenses grow to ensure financial operations run smoothly. Don’t forget to cultivate supplier relationships if you work with different vendors for optimal inventory management.

Should You Rely On Spend Management Software? 

Manually processing expense claims, keeping up with petty cash, and tracking company credit cards can quickly turn inefficient, hinder your company’s financial management, and inhibit the overall procurement process.

In contrast, the right spend analysis solution can aid real-time expense tracking, provide easy-to-read charts and graphs of high-level expenses, and capture and store financial-related documents, so your finance team members are not scrambling to find a receipt or report. 

Pluto has a multitude of features including procurement software and account payable that will help you with spend management and make spend control much easier.

1. Flexibility

Pluto allows you to create cards for various purposes, edit spending limits on the go and monitor your expenses in real time. This allows you to scale up or down depending on what your business needs at any given moment.

2. Powerful Analytics

With Pluto, you will be able to track spending patterns and areas of high expenditure and get real-time insights into your business finances. The powerful analytics will help you make better decisions about where to allocate your resources.

3. Ease Of Use

The main bottleneck of many spend management platforms is that the employees do not use them - as it is just too time-consuming. Not with Pluto!  The sleek and user-friendly interface makes expense management a breeze.

4. Simplified Reimbursements

Receipt upload and reimbursements can be quite a burden for the team. Pluto allows you to take pictures of receipts with your phone and just add them to your reimbursements list. With the use of categories and tags, you will be able to both submit and review them in record time!

Key Takeaways For Company Spending

Spend management remains an essential component of all organizations regardless of size. Accountability for every dirham flowing in and out ensures your company maximizes revenue and remains growth-focused, no matter the budget.

You can take the first step today by relying on Pluto and processes to establish control over budgets, track spending, manage payments, cut costs, and boost your financial team’s day-to-day operations and processes.

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Learn how Pluto is helping Keyper        to eliminate petty cash spending and optimize spend management

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At Pluto Card, our mission is to assist businesses of all scales make well-informed choices. To uphold our standards, we follow editorial guidelines to guarantee that our content consistently aligns with our high-quality benchmarks.

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Corporate Cards
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Mohammed Ridwan

How Corporate Fleet Cards Help Modern Transport & Logistic Businesses

Companies use petty cash for managing driver and transport expenses, including maintenance, repairs, and small purchases, by allocating a small amount of physical cash to drivers. Drivers submit receipts for reconciliation, and they manually track these small transactions. 

However, tracking numerous trivial transactions becomes time-consuming, and discrepancies emerge during reconciliation. There's always a risk of misuse or theft, demanding strict security measures. Moreover, negotiating favorable terms with vendors for minor, recurring transactions becomes challenging. They must carefully budget and maintain a sufficient petty cash fund, which strains their overall cash flow.

Overall, the manual process raises efficiency concerns, necessitating a balance between control and practicality in managing day-to-day vehicle-related expenses.

A better alternative to petty cash is a fleet card. 

This post will explore corporate fleet cards, their benefits for transport and logistics, and strategies to overcome potential fuel card challenges for improved spend management.

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What Is Meant by Fleet Card?

A fleet card, also known as a fuel or gas card, is a specialized payment card used by businesses to cover expenses related to their vehicle fleets. It is issued by fuel companies or financial institutions specifically for fuel purchases, maintenance, and other vehicle-related expenses.

What Can Fleet Cards Be Used For?

The fleet cards are primarily used for fuel purchases, maintenance, and repairs. They facilitate seamless payments for routine servicing, tolls and parking fees, and purchasing vehicle-related products.

You get cards with custom spending limits and advanced controls, such as real-time transaction monitoring mechanisms, category-specific restrictions, and automated alerts for enhanced security and streamlined expense management.

Drivers purchase fuel, maintenance, and other vehicle-related expenses at authorized locations with the cards, and you enjoy complete visibility on a centralized dashboard for each transaction.

What Are the Benefits of a Corporate Fleet Card?

Switching from manual petty cash management to a fleet card yields the following benefits:

  • Simplifies payment processes by reducing the complexity of cash handling

  • Improves tracking and monitoring of all vehicle-related expenses

  • Minimizes the risk of theft or misuse, providing enhanced security measures

  • Automates the expense management and reconciliation process, eliminating manual record-keeping and ensuring accuracy with reduced likelihood of errors

  • Promotes compliance by enabling you to set controls and restrictions on card usage according to company policies

  • Enhances budgeting by providing detailed reports and insights into the spending patterns for a structured and controlled approach to managing vehicle-related costs

  • Streamlines transactions with vendors, offering an efficient payment method for small, frequent transactions

Should I Use a Fuel Card or a Credit Card?

Fuel cards and credit cards share similarities in providing a convenient payment method for expenses. Both can be used at gas stations and offer detailed transaction records for monitoring expenditures. Moreover, both cards come with features such as spending controls, reporting tools, and rewards programs.

However, here are some differences between the two:

  • Fuel cards restrict card usage to fuel and maintenance-related purchases, providing greater control and limiting potential misuse.
  • Fuel cards come with fuel discounts or rewards programs at specific gas stations, providing potential cost savings that credit cards do not generally offer.
  • While credit cards provide transaction records, fuel cards offer more detailed reporting on vehicle-related expenses like fuel consumption, maintenance costs, and odometer tracking.
  • Fleet cards partner with fuel providers, service centers, and other vendors, allowing businesses to negotiate favorable terms and discounts for bulk purchases or regular transactions. For instance, a fleet card's partnership with a fuel station yields discounted fuel prices, facilitating substantial cost savings.

So, for transport and logistics businesses, corporate fleet cards offer specialized controls for fuel and maintenance, streamlined reporting, and potential fuel-related discounts.

What Are the Risks of Fuel Cards?

Fuel cards, tailored for fleet management, are designed to address the unique needs of companies in the transport and logistics sector. However, organizations face the following challenges when switching to corporate fleet fuel cards:

1. Gas Station Availability Issues

Fuel cards encounter challenges related to gas station availability that limit refueling options. As a result, drivers can not find suitable gas stations, leading to increased travel time and delays in delivery schedules.

3. Location-Dependent Acceptance

The acceptance of corporate fleet cards varies by location, leading to constraints and inconveniences for companies operating in areas where certain cards are not widely accepted.

Drivers will encounter difficulties during interstate routes if you offer a nationwide delivery service and the fleet card is only accepted at specific gas stations or regions. It complicates expense management and hinders the company's ability to streamline fuel-related transactions.

3. Management Complexity

The specialized design of fuel cards introduces an administrative burden when managed separately. For instance, a company using distinct fuel cards for different vehicles finds consolidating expenses difficult, leading to increased administrative efforts and potential operational inefficiencies.

As a result, administrators have a hard time reconciling statements, accurately tracking expenses, and ensuring compliance. This burden increases processing times and errors in financial reporting.

4. Reward Limitations

While crafted to suit industry needs, fuel cards encounter limitations in cashback offers. Consider a scenario where a company's preferred fuel card provides cashback benefits only at select stations, restricting potential cost savings for the entire fleet. 

Source

Why Should You Switch to Pluto Corporate Fleet Cards?

Pluto fleet cards don't restrict the use of cards at their discretion. Instead, they facilitate advanced controls and real-time visibility. From issuing budgeted fuel cards to creating vendor-specific cards, you can set rules that align with your company's needs and policies. Then, with each transaction, you track all fleet expenses from a single dashboard and get real-time data without manual effort.

Pluto's corporate fleet cards

So, you set cards and add controls, and you are good to go! Drivers can spend them at convenient gas stations while you enjoy complete visibility and control. Each transaction appears on the dashboard and notifies drivers to upload the receipt directly from WhatsApp. Once uploaded, you can approve the expense, and the data syncs with your accounting software to help you close your books ten times faster.

Here are the top six benefits of switching to Pluto corporate fleet cards:

1. Unrestricted Access Anywhere

Unlike traditional restrictions, Pluto corporate fleet cards liberate your drivers. There are no limitations on locations or specific fuel stations. Enjoy the convenience of using cards at the most budget-friendly and strategically located gas stations, repair shops, or truck stops that welcome Mastercard.

2. Easy Cashback

Pluto corporate fleet cards make cashback benefits straightforward. With up to 2% unlimited cashback on over 100+ currency spends, enjoy seamless cost savings without intricate conditions or restrictions.

3. Smart Budgeting

Smart budgeting with corporate fleet cards

Pluto fleet cards, functioning as debit cards, provide smart budgeting without blocking cash flow. Drivers can request limit increases in seconds, ensuring operational flexibility with swift approvals. This distinctive feature sets Pluto apart, seamlessly blending budget management and uninterrupted cash flow for efficient fleet operations.

4. Driver-Friendly Controls

Provide drivers with budgeted fuel cards and set spending rules. Real-time data and advanced controls give you complete transparency of fleet expenses, enabling strategic decision-making.

5. Grow With Ease

Whether you have hundreds or thousands of drivers, the streamlined process of issuing corporate fleet cards and setting controls remains hassle-free, supporting your scalability with ease.

6. Eliminate Fraud

Eliminate fraud using Pluto corporate fleet cards

Lock or freeze cards instantly from the Pluto app, ensuring proactive measures against fraud. Enable company policies to ensure in-policy transactions, eliminating the risk of unauthorized spending.

Enhance End-to-End Spend Management

Pluto eliminates the need for separate investments in corporate fleet cards, offering an all-in-one spend management solution. 

Pluto's comprehensive platform facilitates both corporate purchase cards and fleet cards, streamlining your financial operations. Enjoy the same benefits as traditional corporate fleet cards but with enhanced functionality, all within a unified platform. With Pluto, you get unparalleled efficiency in managing corporate expenses, ensuring a seamless and integrated approach to financial control. 

Transform your spend management today. Book a demo and discover how Pluto can optimize your financial processes and elevate your business operations.

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Corporate Cards
October 26, 2022

Leen Shami

Corporate Credit Card Policy: What is it & How to Create One

Corporate cards are a great way to manage your spending, control expenses, eliminate petty cash, and, most importantly - give your employees the freedom to focus on their work without any blockages.
But for everything to work smoothly and for everyone to know how to use your corporate cards, you must establish some ground rules.

What is a Corporate Credit Card Policy?

A corporate credit card policy entails the protocols and terms and conditions of use associated with a company credit card issued in an employee's name. A company credit card policy protects businesses and companies from unauthorized payments and inappropriate use by outlining the repercussions and consequences of such actions.

See a Demo

Why Do You Need a Corporate Credit Card Policy?

In the same way, companies have a travel and expense policy; they have a corporate card policy. A company credit card policy is set in place to ensure all company cards are used for authorized and permitted business purchases.

In a corporate credit card policy, the guidelines, responsibilities of the cardholder, dos and don'ts, and repercussions of misuse are outlined. This ensures that all business finances are regulated.

While it is important to have a corporate credit card policy, Pluto takes the extra step to ensure all transactions and purchases are pre-approved, regulated, and permitted by:

  • Creating Pluto cards that can only be used with specific vendors
  • Setting daily, weekly, or monthly limits on cards
  • Having an approval workflow to make sure the necessary departments are approving all transactions
Credit Card
Creating a corporate card with Pluto

Which Employees are Eligible for a Corporate Credit Card?

It is essential to note which job roles are eligible for a company credit card to protect your business against accusations of favoritism or discrimination.

A company can decide whether all employees, c-suites, or department heads are eligible for corporate credit cards.

Typically, companies only give executives, VP levels, C-suite, and salespeople access to company credit cards. However, there are situations where employees who are not eligible for a company credit card may have to pay for business-related expenses, such as plane tickets. In this case, the employee would ask their manager to pay for such an expense with the corporate credit card, or they will have to pay using their personal credit card or cash and file a reimbursement, which will be reimbursed with the next paycheck.

 With Pluto's expense management platform, a company does not have to worry about corporate credit card eligibility or the hassle of employees filing reimbursements.

Using Pluto's platform, the business will have access to unlimited corporate cards, meaning any employee can be issued corporate cards with spend limits, approval workflows, and category-specific purchases. This results in no overspending and knowing all transactions are pre-approved and authorized due to the card only being accepted at allocated vendors.

Suppose an expense is made using cash or a personal credit card. In that case, the employee can snap a picture of their receipt and have it approved on the spot with Pluto's Whatsapp reimbursement feature, making it easier for finance teams and employees to sort through reimbursement receipts!

Corporate card message
Pluto's Whatsapp Reimbursements

Components of a Corporate Credit Card Policy

When creating a corporate credit card policy, the credit cards intended to be used, the credit card provider's requirements, and the company's needs should be known.
In most cases, corporate credit card policies include the following points as part of their corporate credit card policy:

1. Employee Credit Card Agreement

When issuing a corporate credit card to employees, an employee credit card agreement must be signed to ensure that employees understand the card belongs to the company, regardless of the employee's name on the card.
The agreement will also state that the company credit cards can only be used for business-related expenses, where the company can investigate charges, if necessary.

2. Permitted Types of Expenses 

The types of transactions that can be made should be stated clearly in the company credit card policy: work-related expenses only. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Meetings with clients
  • Work-related travel (e.g., flight ticket, accommodation)
  • Educational material
  • Software subscriptions
  • Legal document expenses
  • Business meals

While tending to the above is a good way to ensure company credit cards are being used for business-related expenses, Pluto offers cards that can only be used for specific vendors, such as fuel cards, to avoid mishaps or fraud.

Corporate card fuel expense
Vendor-specific purchase cards

With these policies and procedures in place, employees should note that if an instance occurs where the company credit card is used for non-authorized transactions, personal expenses, or cash withdrawals, they will be faced with disciplinary action.

The disciplinary action could result in the following:

  • Cancellation of the company credit card
  • Withdrawal of corporate credit cards privileges
  • Recovery of funds from employee's salary
  • Termination of employee contract

3. Exceptions

In some cases, an employee cardholder may incur an expense that is not usually permitted under the company credit card policy. To be able to do so, the company credit card policy should indicate how the cardholders can apply for an exception and get permission for such expenses.
While doing so, the company should also outline specific transactions that can never be made using the company credit card.

4. Spend Limits

The spending limits on a company credit card usually depend on the employee's job and level of seniority. The company credit card policy should clarify the card's limits when receiving a new card.
In general, businesses can choose to have limits established based on transactions per-item or on a cumulative basis. However, not all employees will have the same spending limits.
With Pluto, you can set spending limits on virtual or physical cards before issuing them to ensure that employee spending stays within their budget.

Corporate card new card creation
Set spend limits on Pluto

5. Temporary and Permanent Limit Increase

To get a limit increase on a company credit card, the cardholder must fill out a form stating why they need a limit increase on their card and whether it is a temporary or permanent limit increase. The form will then have to be signed by the employee's manager and sent to the company credit card provider for processing.
Although it is possible, the process of getting a limit increase on a company credit card may take quite some time. Pluto allows managers, administrators, and finance teams to increase limits on virtual or physical company credit cards in seconds.

Corporate card limit
Edit spend limits on Pluto in seconds

6. Approval Requests

A company credit card policy must show how approval requests work when using a corporate credit card. Usually, approvers are responsible for reviewing all transactions regularly. By doing so, the following is warranted:

  • The transaction or expense adheres to the company credit card policy
  • A receipt is attached to the transaction made
  • The description of the transaction follows the details mentioned above

Pluto takes the extra mile to automate approval workflows and receipt reconciliation. With Pluto, all approval requests will be made through the Pluto platform, and receipts will be collected through Whatsapp as soon as a transaction is made.

Corporate card request
Approval workflows on Pluto

7. Cardholder Responsibilities

Including the cardholder's responsibilities in the company credit card policy is an essential part of the document. The purpose is to describe how employees can ensure they use their cards appropriately.

It's important to include that:

  • Cards cannot be used for personal expenses
  • Cards must only be used by the cardholder to help avoid fraud 
  • Cards and PINs must be stored in a safe place
  • Cards must be reported as stolen and lost as soon as possible
  • Document all expenses and send monthly reports

8. Policy Violations

Employees are expected to comply with the corporate card policy. If the cardholder violates the terms stated, disciplinary action will be taken against the employee.

The disciplinary action can include:

  • Face a written warning for violating the corporate credit card policy
  • Pay for the expenses yourself if you've used the card for any inappropriate use
  • Lose the right to have a corporate credit card if you lose a receipt or violate the policy
  • Suspension or termination of employment if you give the company credit card to unauthorized people or abuse the expense limits
  • Loss of company card privileges if expenses are not submitted on time
  • Legal action and termination can be imposed if prohibited purchases are made using the company credit card

How Can a Corporate Card Policy Prevent Fraud?

Globalization and remote work have increased the risks of card fraud and identity theft. A proper corporate credit card policy will minimize these risks and ensure that your corporate funds are safe.

1. Flexible limits

With Pluto, it is effortless to set card limits in real-time, so decreasing the spending limit when needed can be done in a matter of seconds. This ensures that a card is not over-exposed. If the card details were compromised, the perpetrator would not be able to withdraw any big sums.

2. Limited users

You can see all the cardholders from your Pluto dashboard and create additional cards if needed. This prevents sharing card details between the employees, as it is simply not needed anymore. The cards are used by authorized personnel, who are aware of the proper use and policies - further preventing any potential fraud and leaks.

3. Vendor-specific cards

Pluto allows you to create a card for a particular transaction, purpose, or project. This will enable you to allocate a certain amount of money that can be spent on the card, meaning the risks of any authorized charges, re-bills, or other online scams are non-existent.

4. No petty-cash

In a bigger organization, petty cash can be an issue as it is easy to defraud. Even when used properly, it is a pain to keep track of. Petty cash is no longer a problem with Pluto corporate cards, particularly when you can issue as many corporate p cards as you need with Pluto seconds (specifically 9 seconds).

The Value of a Corporate Credit Card Policy

Company card policies control employee spending, ensure compliance, and minimize fraud risk. It's even easier to maximize your results by integrating it with Pluto's expense management software.

By integrating with Pluto, you can:

  • Issue unlimited corporate cards
  • Digitize receipt reconciliation
  • Reimburse in seconds
  • Review all transactions in real-time
  • Approve expenses in an instant
  • Minimize the risk of employee fraud

Key Takeaways

A corporate card policy will help you to establish ground rules that will keep things running smoothly but, at the same time, will not limit your employees in their day-to-day work.

Ensure everyone who will have the card is aware of the rules. The great thing about using Pluto is that you can make your corporate card policy very simple, as Pluto has all the tools to manage your spending and keep everything under control.

5
All
Spend Management
December 6, 2022

Vlad Falin

Efficient Receipt Management For UAE Businesses

Collecting, storing, and otherwise managing receipts is essential to a well-oiled expense reporting machine. 

Each receipt serves as confirmation of payment processing between yourself and the customer or vendor. You also need expense and sales receipts to file taxes and maintain your peace of mind.

Unfortunately, while saying receipt management is easy, the whole process itself is daunting. Tracking hundreds, thousands, even millions of employee and customer receipts leaves loopholes for fraud and misreporting. 

Physical expense receipts are especially susceptible to being lost, damaged, or fading with time.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to do it: digital receipt management with Pluto.

  • Automate more of the expense management process
  • Reduce the risk of fraud and inaccuracies
  • Create more efficient workflows and financial departments
  • And overall streamline modern business operations

While you probably can’t eliminate 100% of paper receipts from your workday, you can still improve your process with an increasingly-digital footprint!

What is Receipt Management?

Receipt management is the process of collecting, tracking, and storing business receipts. This task is usually handled by internal finance teams. Their role involves collecting various receipts, tracking costs in accounting software, and storing these receipts for future reference. Additionally, they may need to manually sort each expense, depending on the system in place.

Why Do You Need It?

  • A well-run receipt management protocol is crucial for businesses for several reasons:

1. Simplify Employee Reimbursement Programs: It aids in the smooth operation of reimbursement programs for employees.

2. Track and Report Tax Deductions: It's essential for accurately tracking and reporting tax deductions.

3. Provide Proof during Tax Audits: It serves as necessary documentation during tax audits.

4. Streamline Expense Reports and Budgets: Helps in making expense reports and budgeting more efficient.

5. Combat Internal Fraud and Inauthentic Chargebacks: Plays a key role in preventing fraud and false chargebacks within the company.

6. Avoid Repair or Replacement Costs for Items Under Warranty: Keeps track of receipts necessary for warranty claims, saving costs on repairs or replacements.

7. Calculate and Improve Long-Term Profitability: Receipt management is vital in calculating and enhancing the long-term profitability of a business.

Different types of receipt management systems are in use today, including those for printed receipts, e-receipts, and even handwritten receipts. This diversity can be challenging for businesses, as they need to follow multiple procedures to reconcile their books effectively.

Types of receipt management

Today, there are three basic ways to handle receipts directly:

  • Manual receipt management involves handling, tracking, and storing paper receipts
  • Digitization receipt management scans physical receipts to digitize the tracking process
  • Digital-only receipt management is used for online or digitally generated receipts

While many businesses are moving toward digitization and digital-only receipts, some businesses are stuck in the dark ages. (The kind that involves typing physical receipt information into a digital spreadsheet.)  

And as we’ll see below, manual entry strategies come with some…problems.  

Difficulties of Manual Receipt Management

1. Easily Lost or Damaged Receipts

Perhaps the most obvious problem with physically tracking expense receipts is that there’s so much that can go wrong. Lost, damaged, or faded receipts make the business expense tracking process that much harder.

Even if the employee who spent the money doesn’t drop their receipt, it’s possible for paperwork to get lost on a desk somewhere. And if you need to find a receipt two years later? Better hope it was filed properly and hasn’t faded completely.  

2. Consumes Human Resources

Manual receipt management is an extremely hours-intensive process.

Your financial team has to collect invoices, type their data into your accounting software, and double-check their work. Then, they have to reconcile business expenses against company credit card statements and track down potential instances of fraud or misreporting.

Not only does this require a lot of time, but it also impacts employee productivity. Every hour an accountant spends tracking receipts is an hour of productivity lost elsewhere.

3. Leaves Room for Human Error

Aside from the time and human resource cost, manual receipt management presents the potential for human error. And unlike on the product line or in customer service, every reporting mistake risks an unfavorable tax audit.

Even the simplest receipt management and tracking process involves several steps from collection to reconciliation. Every stage is an opportunity for an employee to get distracted, mistype a name or number, or duplicate entries. In bigger cases, they might even duplicate a payment, costing you more money.

And even if you catch the mistakes before they’re submitted, that’s more human hours wasted double-checking and correcting completed work.

4. Increases Fraud and Misreporting Risk

The risk of fraud is higher in manual receipt management programs, and instances of fraud may be harder to detect. Types of fraud that commonly crop up in expense reporting include:

  • Inflated claim amounts
  • Claiming personal costs on the business’ dime
  • Submitting expense reports twice
  • Falsifying “proof” to claim for money that wasn’t spent

Unfortunately, manual receipt management makes these kinds of fraud more likely and difficult to catch. For example, if the employee who authenticates receipts is committing or permitting the fraud, it’s harder to detect until after you’ve lost money.

Over time, even small acts of fraud can have massive financial consequences.

5. Contributes to Employee Dissatisfaction

For many companies, employee reimbursement programs contribute both to the need for manual receipt management – and to employee dissatisfaction.

Think about it. In a modern, tech-savvy business world, why should employees have to pay out of pocket, ever? 

Virtual cards and online-based businesses have all but eliminated the need for an employee to front your expenses.

But if you’re still stuck doing manual receipt management, chances are, your employees are still submitting reimbursement tickets. (And grumbling about the time it takes to get paid back.)

And that’s not even touching on the frustration, tedium, and headaches manual receipt management programs cause your high-paid finance teams.  

6. Jacks Up Business Costs

Together, all these factors paint a picture of increased business costs.

The time and human resource cost to track, reconcile, and store receipts.

The human and financial cost of detecting and counteracting fraud.

Even the maintenance costs for your printer and filing cabinets.

Every dollar spent on manual receipt management is a dollar sucked from office parties, growth, or your bottom line.

Benefits of Digital Receipt Management

It’s easy to see the costs that manual receipt management impose. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: digital receipt management.

In short, digital receipt management involves using digital copies of receipts in your expense reporting strategy. Digital smart receipts are easy – simply integrate them into your accounting software and let automation take you away.

But even physical sales receipts can be digitized, Pluto allows you to digitize your receipt very simply - through your phone. 

Incorporating such technology means that even paper receipts fold neatly into your overarching digital strategy.

And as you’ll see, the process comes with tons of benefits.

1. Increases Integration Potential

A massive benefit of digital tracking is the sheer integration potential. Most receipt management tools, from receipt scanning devices to receipt tracking software, easily mesh with your existing expense reports system.

From there, you can automate mindless tasks and set up occasional human checks to ensure the system works as intended.

2. Fewer Costly Errors

Another way that a digital receipt management program saves costs is by reducing employee errors. Digital receipts should meld seamlessly into your tracking system – no surprises there.

But even processing physical receipts is cheaper and easier.

With their mobile phones, employees can scan receipts and upload them instantly. From there, Pluto categorizes the information and adds it to the overall report.

While employees may spend a second filling in any blanks, increased automation greatly reduces the risk of input errors.

3. Reduces Risk of Fraud

Less human interference means your financial system is more resilient to fraudulent activities. Pluto improves speed and accuracy while digitizing the receipts.

That leaves fewer opportunities for fraudulent claims.

4. Reduces Clutter

Uploading physical receipts means less physical space is needed for storage. That can save you on storage costs and reduce desktop and file cabinet clutter.

And because everything’s digitally maintained, you’ll still meet or exceed your tax authority’s required financial record storage period. 

Not to mention, just finding your records will be easier than ever!

5. Easier Audits

No person or business enjoys tax season. But digital management makes the process at least a little easier. 

Because all of your information is stored online, it’s easier to access and export receipts as needed. 

When tax time or the dreaded audit comes around, your data will be well-organized and easily accessible.  

6. More Efficient Expense Reporting

Traditional receipt management is a costly, time-intensive, error-prone manual process that used to be necessary. With modern tools, businesses can streamline the entire financial structure of their organization.

No more lost receipts or worrying about fraud.

Less time spent inputting and double-checking data, and more time helping your business grow.

All these positive benefits will improve efficiency – and even bring smiles to your accountants’ faces.

7. Faster Reimbursements

Like using a virtual corporate card, digital receipt management speeds up the reimbursement process. 

Since everything is tracked and verified electronically, it’s easy to set up an automatic or streamlined reimbursement protocol.

8. Putting Your Eco-Friendly Foot Forward

Lastly, any step your business can take toward going paperless is good news for the environment. 

Cutting down fewer trees and reducing printer ink usage are laudable goals that can decrease your environmental footprint. 

Not only will you enjoy cost savings, but you’ll feel better about doing business in an increasingly eco-conscious world.

8 Tips for Efficient Receipt Management

Digitizing your receipt management strategy is just the first step toward expense report success. To ensure you’re operating at maximum efficiency, consider the following tips.

1. Use Pluto App

The first step is to get Pluto and start managing your spending digitally. 

While you’re moving toward digital efficiency, your vendors aren’t required to follow. Keeping the proper tech on hand ensures you can digitize any paper receipts that come your way.

Pluto allows you to take a picture of the receipt, upload it to your expense and just like that the reconciliation process is done!

2. Save Your Receipts

While you can set up secure digital folders to store all your digital originals and copies - Pluto does that for you! 

Just take a picture of the receipt, upload it to the app and that is it.  

3. Ensure High-Quality Digital Format Uploads

There’s no point in uploading and saving documents if you can’t read them. 

Before tossing your physical copies, make sure you can clearly read the essential information on each receipt. (Such as the company name, date, purchased item(s), and amount.)

4. Categorize Submitted Expenses

Take some time to categorize your expenses (most businesses do this in chronological order). Pluto helps you with that, but just make sure to check the right category so the reporting stays in top notch condition. 

5. Set Up a Simple Expense Report Strategy

Expense reporting is the backbone of any business’ financials. For prompt, complete reporting and tracking, ensure that you design a straightforward strategy. 

Same-day submissions, fewer Excel sheets, and faster reimbursement protocols will improve efficiency and attitudes. Better yet, invest in a quality expense and receipt management software.

Or even better - start with Pluto, we have a free package. It will allow you to completely digitize and control your spending, while keeping your reporting in the best possible shape. 

6. Establish Accountability

A top-notch expense reporting strategy only works if people use it.

To ensure your protocols are followed, emphasize and encourage accountability. Keep all managers and supervisors up-to-date with company spending and card policies and remind them to disseminate that information appropriately. Follow up with employee expenditures as needed.

7. Run Regular Internal Audits

Regular expense report audits help businesses track receipts fraud, clear up discrepancies, and streamline inefficiencies. 

Take time each month or quarter to check for fictitious or overblown expenses or troubles with your expense reporting strategy. 

Pluto allows you to run real-time reports at any given moment for any period of time.

8. Switch to Virtual Corporate Cards

Virtual corporate cards make managing receipt tracking even easier. Not only can you digitize the entire process end-to-end, but corporate p cards give you greater control over your expenditures and tracking.

Sure, you can’t prevent vendors from handing you physical receipts. But you can greatly minimize instances of employees walking in with a big stack of thermal paper to scan in.

Pluto offers unlimited virtual cards which will book all your expenses right into the dashboard!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper receipt management is key to running a financially successful business.
  • While manual receipt management reconciles physical copies, it’s increasingly unnecessary in an increasingly digital world.
  • Digital receipt management simplifies the collection, reconciliation, and storage process.
  • Digital tracking also reduces fraud potential, time and financial waste, and increases employee satisfaction.
  • Digitizing your expense reports pairs nicely with digitizing your own payments with virtual corporate cards.