A winning program goal strategy.

Has your organization reviewed its Commercial Card goals lately? Goals are a fundamental part of a card program, yet many organizations fall short in terms of goal setting and/or monitoring. Using my past experience as an example, the P-Card program that I managed was successful in many ways. For instance, it had executive buy-in and policies that allowed card usage for just about everything. We cruised along. Yet, for years we failed to: 1) research what our program could have captured and 2) subsequently develop specific goals derived from our overall B2B payments. As a result, we did not know what we were missing. Is this true of your organization? Where does your program stand in relation to goals? Following are five questions to help you assess your program goals, plus three additional action items critical for success. 

Assess Your Program Goals

Optimally, you will be able to answer “yes” to each question below.

  1. Are the goals measurable? Common program goals pertain to annual card spend and the number of transactions, process savings, invoice reduction within AP, changes to the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) within AP and/or procurement, the number of suppliers converted to card payments, revenue sharing incentives, etc.
  2. Are the goals still relevant? While it is common to document goals when first implementing a card program, some organizations do not create new ones as the initial goals are surpassed.  
  3. Has your organization evaluated its B2B payments in recent years, especially its check payments, to identify the current potential for Commercial Cards? Engage with your card issuer to determine which suppliers accept cards and then prioritize the suppliers to target. 
  4. Are goals reasonable/achievable, based on research of your B2B payments? You cannot randomly aspire to spend $25M via cards if your annual B2B payments are only $20M. It is also not realistic to expect a 100% conversion rate from checks to cards.  
  5. Do your card limits support program goals? For example, if Commercial Cards are the preferred payment method, then spend limits should be generous enough to accommodate such a goal. 
 In sports, a game plan guides the play of the team or individual. In card programs, quantifiable goals serve as a guide for program management, helping to drive optimal performance.

In sports, a game plan guides the play of the team or individual. In card programs, quantifiable goals serve as a guide for program management, helping to drive optimal performance.

Beyond Goal Setting

Goals remain incomplete until you do the following.

  • Create and follow an action plan for achieving the goals. Reviewing card limits is just one element. Ideally, the program manager, AP, and procurement will work together to build a structure for card program success. On a related note, see actions to increase card payments
  • Track and communicate the progress. This could also include highlighting the cost of any missed opportunities.
  • Adjust as needed. If your progress toward goals is slow or has stalled, identify the hurdles and what will move your program forward more quickly.

If your organization does all three of these things, you are at the top of your game. However, if you would like assistance with anything in the realm of card program goals, contact Recharged Education


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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