Metrics are worth revisiting.

How do lessons learned from an appendicitis apply to P-Card metrics? I had the chance to ponder this recently while hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. It’s an odd comparison, but four things stand out to me that are relevant in both cases. (Yes, I coped with a lot of boring down time in the hospital.)

 Metrics help you determine the health of your P-Card program.

Metrics help you determine the health of your P-Card program.

Information is Valuable

Tests were needed to confirm my diagnosis. Similarly, you cannot determine the health of a P-Card program without various tests in the form of metrics. There could be something wrong that you can’t see unless you review specific data; for example, process costs and savings, P-Card usage/progress toward goals, inactive cards and declined transactions. Learn more about metrics...

Pay Attention to What’s Important

Just as ignoring an appendicitis is not wise, ignoring P-Card metrics could result in lost savings, increased program risk, decreased program buy-in, etc. Too often, organizations generate P-Card reports, but do not do anything with them (see last section of related blog post). Utilize the valuable information.

Weigh Your Options to Make Informed Decisions

My doctor gave me the options of taking an ambulance to the hospital or getting a ride. When choosing (the ride), I considered various factors—cost, time, pain level and test results. Before taking action within your P-Card program, evaluate whether a particular metric:

  • is an anomaly (good or bad), warranting further scrutiny to determine the cause
  • indicates a chronic problem in need of resolution
  • represents a positive trend to be promoted

Avoid hasty decisions, such as restricting card usage in response to negative compliance metrics or putting the program on auto-pilot when positive metrics emerge.

Communicate Effectively

A patient’s reported symptoms and history—documented within the medical chart—provides necessary insight to a medical team (like “her blood pressure really does run that low”). Sharing your P-Card metrics furnishes insight to your organization. Use multiple channels to reach different audiences:

  • post to your organization’s Intranet, so all employees can access
  • provide to management in summary form with graphs and charts
  • schedule a meeting with key stakeholders to discuss a diagnosis that needs to be addressed

Unlike a useless appendix and an appendectomy that is “one and done,” P-Card metrics are integral and ongoing. Giving your program a regular checkup should be a priority, not an afterthought.


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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