In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the mistakes small business make when it comes to company credit cards, plus a few quick fixes that are easy to implement.
Isn’t it funny how changing one variable can completely change your perception? Think about it.
Would you scribble the company credit card details on a post-it for the new marketing exec on your team to pay for printing? WhatsApp a picture of the company credit card to your colleague in the Manchester office because it’s quicker than typing out the numbers?
Okay, but would you scribble your personal credit card details down on a post-it and hand it over to someone you’ve only known for a few weeks? How about WhatsApp a picture of it to someone you’ve never actually met in-person?
We’re sure you think pretty highly of your employees. They’re smart, hardworking, highly skilled and together they create the company culture you’ve always hoped for. But they’re also human. Which means they’re probably not looking after your company credit card details with the same enthusiasm as they look after their own.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the mistakes small business make when it comes to company credit cards, plus a few quick fixes that are easy to implement. We’ll ask:
The first time you let an employee use the company credit card was probably quite a milestone for your business. Especially if you grew it from the ground up and didn’t actually have any employees for a while. Delegating responsibility to trusted members of your growing team was a crucial part of scaling your small business.
So you’ve given a lot of thought to the people in your business that you trust with your (or their own) company credit card. The problem is that they’re likely delegating responsibility too. Monica the manager for, example, asks Anil the assistant to book train tickets and hands over the card.
Although this is a pretty commonplace (and largely innocent) scenario, it has a diluting effect on how much control you have over spending as a business owner.
The short list of employees you trust with a company card has become a much longer list of trusted employees who trust other employees with the details. That means:
Another important point to consider is how your company credit card details are being shared between employees. In fact, this point is so important we’ve dedicated a whole section to it below.
In a pre-covid world, your staff probably worked in the same building. They sat next to each other five days a week, conducted meetings in person and thought of working from home as a novelty. Sounds weird, we know.
So when a department or team all used a single company credit card before the pandemic, it was likely stored in a drawer or manager’s wallet. The furthest it probably had to travel was from one person’s desk to another.
But that’s not how the world works anymore.
To be clear, sharing a company card round a team wasn’t without its problems pre-covid (please see previous section). Leaving a company credit card lying in the bottom of a drawer was hardly secure.
Now hybrid and remote working environments have added a layer of complexity – and stripped away several layers of security – when it comes to sharing company card details.
Employees working in separate physical spaces end up sharing cards in ways that, while quick and easy, are also incredibly insecure. They’re shooting over company card details in a message on Slack or Teams or typing them into an email.
These are at least protected by your company’s security policies and controls, but what about that quick photo they took of the card and sent via WhatsApp? Or the post-it note they wrote the details on and stuck into their notebook the last time they were in the office?
Here’s why your company credit card details are most definitely not safe and secure:
Now that short list of employees you trust with a company card has become a much longer list of employees who are using unauthorised and unsecure methods to share company card details with each other.
It might sound flippant, but the easiest way to avoid common company credit card mistakes is to avoid company credit cards. There are other options out there, so it’s worth looking into alternatives to company credit cards, weighing up the pros and cons and deciding what’s best for your business.
Consider the perks you get with your company credit card – are you using them and do they make the monthly fees and interest rate you’re paying worthwhile?
Does the convenience of a single bill to pay at the end of every month outweigh the lack of visibility over who made each individual purchase?
Does every employee need the ability to spend company money? How do you get around that without people sharing your company credit card details through unsecure channels?
An alternative option that could be worth considering is switching to prepaid company cards.
Instead of having one company credit card doing the rounds, you could assign every employee their own prepaid company card. Every card could have a spending limit that makes sense for the employee’s needs and you’d be able to turn cards on and off in real-time.
Prepaid company cards through a platform like Soldo, for example, come with their own mobile app and expense management software. That means:
If you’re looking for a simpler way for your employees to spend company money – with no connection to your business bank account – prepaid company cards could be the answer.
That short list of employees you trust with your company credit card would become a long list of employees spending only what they need to get the job done, safely and securely.
See below for business credit card alternatives: