Large, mid-size and small organizations with any kind of spend, in the U.S. or globally, should use enterprise-wide corporate cards to pay for everything from travel and entertainment expenses to legal services in order to increase the card rebate, gain visibility into expenses, decrease fraud and reduce accounts payable cycle time. Although the move to an enterprise corporate card system feels like a complex initiative, the implementation produces a streamlined business process. Even organizations that have already implemented a corporate card may question how to negotiate with behemoth financial institutions.
There are fees, there are rebates, there are services. All these, and there are different products. When corporate card contract knowledge is mastered through education, comparison and calculations an organization will gain the most benefits. Lets start with the fees.
Fees, like a bee sting, may come unexpectedly, hurt and put the most congenial in a foul mood. Fees for cash advances, foreign currency exchanges, delinquencies, premium cards, technology integration and others not mentioned here are all negotiable. The most complex calculation is the negotiable client held days or the quantity of days before a charge is considered delinquent. Don’t let them bamboozle you . . . this is negotiable by some institutions although they often hold court with only the biggest spenders.
Rebates, incentives and signing bonuses are like birthday presents for the CFO. Yet, many organizations lose valuable monies because membership rewards and delinquency fees may be deducted from the incentive, and results in a lesser financial prize. Two ways that organizations can mitigate the loss are to restrict personal spend on the corporate card and pay the financial institution directly. Contract signing bonuses should take the entire contract length into consideration and if the contract is cancelled, include a prorated pay-back clause.
For Ritz quality regardless of spend, mutually agreed upon service level agreements ("SLA") may aid in service quality and timeliness for card issuance and replacement, statement delivery methods, call resolutions, and standard and custom reports. Just as SLAs elevate performance expectations, the quarterly supplier meetings measure the financial institution’s execution.
The number of card products and suppliers continue to expand, just like America's waistline. From procurement cards, to corporate cards, to meeting cards, to fuel cards and Airplus cards–all have unique functionality and benefits. Compare the costs, rebates, services and features before selecting a card product and supplier. And, to answer my client’s corporate card questions from yesterday ... yes, there is a difference.
This blog post is syndicated with permission from Debi's T&E Plus blog
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