16 tasks for card program fitness.

How fit is your card program? Nearly two years ago, I provided a list of 12 housekeeping tasks that help keep a program in good shape. A reader recently contacted me about annual program maintenance, so, as 2016 wraps up, I am offering the complete list again. It has grown and evolved into 16 items to review and consider at least annually. 

Annual Tasks

Some are operational and some are strategic. Together, they create a solid foundation for any card program.

Get your program ready for a great 2017.

Get your program ready for a great 2017.

  1. Revise dated information, such as transaction reconciliation deadlines that cardholders must follow in the upcoming year.
  2. Ensure P-Card policies and procedures are accurate, and look for opportunities to improve the appearance and clarity.
  3. Execute mandated annual refresher training for cardholders and their managers.
  4. Evaluate cardholder activity for the prior year to identify inactive or under-utilized cards and address accordingly. In conjunction with this, determine whether additional employees need cards.
  5. Review the appropriateness of card limits and merchant category code (MCC) restrictions. Too many temporary adjustments during the year to accommodate legitimate purchases indicate a mismatch between your controls and program goals.
  6. Update your P-Card program risk assessment.
  7. Publish key program metrics online, such as annualized process savings, and develop a summary specifically for management. Using graphs can be an effective way to share program status at a glance.
  8. Consult with accounts payable regarding the potential need for a rebate accrual entry or adjustment.
  9. Upload current accounting/budget codes to your program management system, if applicable. Some organizations pre-populate budget code drop-down menus. This allows cardholders to select (versus key in) the right codes, if different from any default codes, when reconciling transactions online.
  10. Confirm that your issuer’s records of your cardholders are accurate and complete. You might find discrepancies ranging from minor (e.g., the wrong address for someone) to significant (e.g., issuer shows an open card account that you thought was closed). You might also see gaps, such as missing phone numbers. Learn more…
  11. Provide updated cardholder information for the organization’s business continuity/disaster recovery plan. If your organization does not require annual training on the plan, then consider sending an overview to cardholders and their managers as a reminder.
  12. Review the job description for the program administrator/manager (PA/PM) role. Does it accurately reflect the role and associated requirements?  
  13. Determine if there is an appropriate backup for the PA/PM.  
  14. Assess your organization’s relationship with the card issuer. Are there any unresolved issues? Are they meeting your needs? How can you improve the relationship? Confirm when your contract expires, so you are not caught off-guard. 
  15. Consider whether your organization could benefit from adding another card type, such as Declining Balance Cards (e.g., project/meeting cards) or Virtual Cards, to round out your payment strategy and resolve a pain point.
  16. Identify program priorities for the year ahead. Besides adding another card type, is program buy-in lacking throughout the organization? This should be addressed prior to attempting program expansion. Could additional technology make a positive impact? Before pursuing, see reasons why some technology projects fail. These are just a couple examples. To help you rate various components of your program and identify priorities, download a simple spreadsheet from Recharged Education.

Make 2017 a strong year for your card program. If your organization would like assistance from an external resource, submit a contact form and learn how Recharged Education can help.

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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