A few days ago, I conversed with a 103-year-old woman who defies the typical image of someone that age. She has well-done hair and wears fashionable attire, including heels. Her hobby is ballroom dancing. Our conversation centered on the best places to shop for clothes. So, what does this have to do with Commercial Cards? It is a matter of longevity and what supports or detracts from it. At this point, 20-year-old card programs are common, but age is just a number, not a measure of success or health. Why do some card programs maintain a strong position or keep improving over the years while other programs decline? Two typical detractors are manual processes and a reliance on paper, which can frustrate program participants and, even worse, eat away at Commercial Card benefits. Today, there is no reason a program needs to be stuck in the dark ages. To determine if your program is aging well, see if you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions.
Confined to a Wheelchair or Out Dancing?
Some programs have never been able to say “yes” to the following. Others started strong, but had a health crisis from which they may or may not have recovered. The best of the best have been ballroom dancing all along.
- Is there an engaged executive champion of the program?
- Is the right person fulfilling the program manager or program administrator role?
- Does the organization encourage continuing education for program leaders?
- Is the program supported by procurement and accounts payable?
- Do you take advantage of technology to minimize paper (e.g., card applications, transaction documentation/receipts, statements, the policies and procedures manual, etc.)?
- Have you replaced manual transaction auditing with some type of auditing solution/technology?
- Is the accounting process for card activity aided by integration or an electronic interface file?
- Are program goals updated annually?
- Are program metrics reviewed regularly, shared with senior management, and used to guide the program?
- Do you periodically partner with your card provider to identify missed opportunities? This includes new uses of cards, new card types, additional technology and/or reports that could help your program, and so on.
- Have you evaluated the potential of implementing or expanding ePayables/electronic accounts payable (EAP)?
- Do you offer a variety of training options to cardholders and manager-approvers, including electronic methods, to accommodate different needs, schedules, learning styles, and preferences?
- Are cards easy to use?
- Is there a current, completed risk assessment of the program?
- Are audits conducted each year to test controls, verify compliance, and reveal any control gaps?
Being active is a key to success, both for people and card programs. Organizations reap rewards from an educated, engaged program management team who will ensure best practices are followed and drive ongoing program improvements.
So, is your program better or worse today? If you fondly remember a distant time when your program was in its prime, identify how you can get it back on track to maximize the benefits Commercial Cards offer. If you need assistance, submit a contact form to inquire about consulting services from Recharged Education.
About the Author
Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With 20 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more…
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