Who is your executive champion?

Beyond the initial P-Card program implementation, which was many years or even decades ago for most organizations, the role of an executive champion evolves. As a program manager or administrator (PM/PA), are you actively engaging your champion to help enhance their role and prevent their support from waning? We know that executives have the power to make or break a card program, so keeping them involved is a must. Following is a look at what you can do, as well as examples of what the executive champion can do.

Know Your Executive

You might be working with the same executive who approved the original program or someone new. Either way, consider the following.

  • What is their current view of the program? 
  • Which aspects are most important to them?
  • What do they expect of you?
  • How often do they want to see a report of program progress?
  • How do they want to receive program updates?
  • Do they prefer details or summaries? Graphs can be a great way to provide at-a-glance information.

Inform Your Executive

Having a better understanding of your executive allows you to tailor your communications accordingly. Following are ways to keep him or her informed. In addition, occasionally verify if what you are providing is valuable and, if not, what you can do differently.

  • Report program status; for example, progress toward goals, comparisons to previous years, and missed opportunities (see also information on metrics).
  • Share P-Card best practices and how your organization compares.
  • Outline any issues and propose solutions.
  • Make suggestions regarding program improvement and/or expansion possibilities.

During my time as a P-Card program manager, I identified how my organization had surpassed goals and outgrown the initial revenue share grid. I reported as such to the executive champion and, together, we renegotiated the contract with our card provider.

The Ongoing Role of a Champion

An executive champion can directly execute and/or delegate the following actions. 

  1. Enforce cardholder and manager accountability, and demonstrate corrective action consistency across job levels.  
  2. Support training initiatives; for example, email participants about the importance of training and attend in-person sessions (if offered) from time to time.
  3. Promote the program; for example, encourage “lunch and learn” sessions, make P-Cards a topic at budget meetings, and introduce the P-Card program at new hire training.
  4. Routinely review program status; subsequently, this could mean asking questions of the PM/PA and participating in calls/meetings with the card provider.  
  5. Help steer the program; for example, endorse policy changes to expand card usage.

An active executive champion can take a program to the next level.

Related Blog Post

Does program buy-in seem out of reach?

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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