There are at least four reasons why some organizations have not yet adopted Virtual Cards or, more broadly, an electronic accounts payable (EAP) solution. Do any of the following pertain to your organization? Revisit the reasons for their decision and ensure they had the right information first. You might be able to reopen the case.
1. Few Regularly Used Suppliers
A common target for Virtual Card usage is regularly used suppliers. This list might be short for some organizations, thereby a Virtual Card program may not be the best fit. For example, one end-user told me they do not use Virtual Cards because, as a research laboratory, their suppliers were always changing due to their always evolving purchasing needs. They found that traditional Purchasing Cards worked best. This is a valid reason. However, for other organizations, there are few regularly used suppliers because no one has pursued strategic sourcing. Besides not gaining the benefits of a Virtual Card program, they are potentially losing out on cost reductions that can be obtained through negotiated pricing.
2. Too Hard to Convert Suppliers
Your organization might be under the impression—without concrete evidence to support it—that your suppliers will not accept Virtual Cards. Before casting Virtual Cards and other ePayables aside, work with your current Commercial Card provider (or even a provider who is trying to gain your business) to do a “supplier match.” You might be surprised at how many of your suppliers are already accepting Virtual Card payments from other customers. In addition, many providers offer supplier on-boarding services, with or without an extra fee, to make the process easier for you. It pays to explore provider options.
3. The ERP System Cannot Support It
In response to this excuse, I have to ask, “Are you sure?” ERP systems are more robust today than ever before and include many different payment choices (or you might be able to add one). Further, you might be able to apply a default payment type by supplier. To accommodate Virtual Cards, the “payment release” step of the accounts payable process may simply generate another output. Instead of just checks and an ACH file, there would be a Virtual Card file to upload to the provider. Talk with your ERP system vendor to learn more about the capabilities.
4. Organization Resistance to Change
This is the catch-all reason that, unfortunately, often prevails above logic. If decision makers reject a sound, factual business case for Virtual Cards, then there is not a lot you can do until there is a leadership change or shift in organization priorities. Wait for the right time to bring this up again and ensure your business case includes the fraud protection aspects of Virtual Cards/EAP. Read more about getting EAP in the door...
Open Fraud Survey
Speaking of fraud, I encourage you to participate in the current survey by AP Now, Newer & Less-commonly Occurring Payment Frauds. It digs into all sorts of frauds that your organization might be overlooking.
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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…