There are many, many ways to improve a Purchasing Card program, but one answer is ensure the cards are easy to use. Satisfied cardholders (and managers) translate into support that can move your program to the next level. Below are three elements to assess in an effort to determine whether your program is causing unnecessary pain.
Consider the basis of P-Cards and the reasons your organization pursued a program. P-Cards are intended to simplify the purchase-to-pay (P2P) process, resulting in cost savings and efficiencies. Using a card to purchase needed business goods and services should be the quickest and easiest option. If it isn’t, identify the pain points. For example, are cardholders required to obtain pre-purchase approval for every purchase? This creates more work and slows the process down. Does it really add value, especially for low-dollar purchases?
Allowed and Prohibited Purchases
Do your program policies center on everything cardholders should not purchase? I have seen policies that consume an entire page outlining what is prohibited, but, for allowed purchases, there is only a brief mention of the card’s per-purchase limit. This is discouraging. No one will want to use their card and, given all the restrictions, they might be afraid of making a mistake.
First, it might be time for your organization to expand allowable purchases and/or limits. However, either way, make it enticing to use the card by describing the benefits. Be specific about the targeted purchases, helping cardholders easily see what they can and should do.
Manual tasks can be painful. Ensure cardholders and managers have access to technology to help them more efficiently execute their responsibilities. Technology goes beyond transaction review functionality, but some organizations still rely on paper statements (yes, it is true). Most technology solutions from the card issuers include a mobile option especially useful to managers who need to approve transactions on the go. Also explore whether receipt imaging is available to improve how supporting transaction documentation is handled.
Ease of use depends on the eye of the beholder. See if your assessment aligns with that of program participants. Select a limited number, but diverse group, of cardholders and managers. Invite their feedback, sharing your goal to enhance ease of card use. Then prioritize what to improve first.
Help is Available
If you need assistance with evaluating your program improvement opportunities, please submit a contact form. 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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