Reclaim time for program optimization.

We are routinely double-booked and embrace multitasking as a way of life because we have too much to do. This often stems from our choices, but, in the realm of P-Cards, at fault are time-wasters in our policies and procedures. As a P-Card program manager/administrator (PM/PA), you get trapped in a vicious cycle that prevents you from pursuing program optimization.

Double-booking amounts to an air guitar life—furious motion and considerable energy, but, in the end, no sound and little lasting impact.
— John Busacker, author of Fully Engaged: How to Do Less and Be More

First, stop the multitasking. 

Take the advice of Bob Kodzis, keynote speaker at this year’s IFO conference. He endorsed “mono-tasking” for maximum focus because it’s impossible to fully concentrate on more than one thing at once.

Identify what doesn't add value.

What’s causing you to be pulled in multiple directions? Are the tasks meaningful? Following are three common time-wasters in the life of a PM/PA and possible resolutions. 

Declined transactions
They interrupt your day and slow down the purchase-to-pay process, impacting cardholders and suppliers, too. Are legitimate transactions being declined? The problem could be overly restrictive MCC blocks and/or spend limits. Ensure controls align with P-Card goals and targeted purchases. If the problem boils down to the cardholder or supplier, more training could be needed.

Resist urges to multitask; resolve the real problem.

Resist urges to multitask; resolve the real problem.

Delinquent cardholders
How much time do you spend chasing down cardholders who are delinquent in their reconciliation of transactions? Their managers are also to blame. This is a job performance issue and should be treated as such. A lack of accountability sends a message that policies and procedures are optional, thereby weakening program controls. You can also speed up the reconciliation process and put an end to your chasing activities by utilizing default accounting/budget codes for each cardholder. 

Useless/unused reports
Do the PM/PA procedures direct you to produce an excessive number of reports? Stop generating ones that do not help increase program buy-in, demonstrate program status, or support your control efforts. If you take the time to create a meaningful report, then be sure to use it. Also consider report frequency. If, for example, you create a monthly report pertaining to P-Card system access, but there are seldom any changes, decrease the frequency to quarterly.

Manually auditing all transactions might be the biggest time-waster of all, but this is a topic for another day. Do what you can now to mono-task (focus!) on shifting more of your time to value-added program strategies.  

About the Author

Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more

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