When you read an outrageous tale of fraud such as that perpetrated by London lawyer Christopher Grierson, who was jailed for fiddling his travel expense claims and costing his company millions, it’s little wonder that the billback, as painful and flawed as we all say it is, remains so popular among corporates.
Heaven forbid you trust your business travellers with a corporate card, especially when you’re trying to cut down on travel spend. Surely giving your travellers their very own little piece of magic plastic would open the floodgates to unnecessary expenditure and incidents of fraud?
But the reality is that Grierson was the exception, and the reason corporates insist on keeping an antiquated payment process in place is to manage the exception, not the rule.
Internationally, corporate cards are actually used by corporates to control spend. With a corporate card you can place spending and supplier limits on cardholders. It’s easier for management to keep tabs on expenditure and much easier to reconcile travel spend.
There are other benefits to banning the billback and going the corporate card route. By capturing as many transactions online, you can draw better supplier data and proactively negotiate better supplier deals. You can improve and streamline your expense management processes by linking the card to your traveller expense management system. You can enjoy lower payment costs and improve traveller compliance by saving them time when they submit their expenses. It’s even easier when there’s an emergency and travel has to be organised quickly.
The real control, however, happens after the spend has taken place, as you’re able to flag abnormal transactions quickly and easily, and analyse spend data to influence your travel expenses policy, travel behaviour and compliance.
And, with a proper expense management policy in place, if people are abusing their corporate card, your problems are much bigger than their wayward spend – these are not the people you want to keep in your business, surely?