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Another business credit card reward: financial management

By Ben Woolsey

Most people think of business credit cards for their rewards programs, cash back incentives, or frequent flier airline miles, but a corporate or small business credit card is an excellent vehicle for managing company expenses. As most consumers can attest, it's easier to let spending get out of control when using a plastic rather than paying cash. But with business credit cards spending there is rarely unnecessary or impulse spending going on so the downside of plastic use is normally not a factor. Business expenses are a fact of life but the key to is know where the money is going so that ongoing control can be exerted.

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Expense reporting is a wonderful feature of business credit cards and takes the form of monthly statements with purchase category breakdowns for easy analysis. For instance, monthly travel and entertainment expenses can be separated and monitored relative to office supply and administrative expenses. Many credit card issuers offer statement formats that can be accessed online and downloaded into business reporting software such as Quickbooks for more detailed accounting purposes. In fact, many businesses forgo paper statements and rely solely on Internet-based monitoring of credit card expenses which allows daily monitoring capabilities. For businesses with remote or traveling employees this can be an invaluable resource for controlling expenses and maintaining an audit trail.

In addition to the rewards programs and frequent flier airline miles one of the major benefit of corporate and small business credit cards involves the consolidation of expenses for companies with many employees. Rather than having a flood of invoices and expense reports come in every month from traveling employees the company can receive one bill broken down by employee, type of charge and date -- all much appreciated by the accounting department and CFO. This process is also very helpful for employees who in the past had to fill out expense reports and send in invoices in order to get reimbursed for charges made to their personal card. New expense reporting software supports the use of corporate credit cards and allows employees to view and approve their charges prior to submitting online for approval. Future travel expenses can even be forecast and managed more efficiently using these reporting tools.

How your company chooses to use business credit card reporting capabilities is somewhat dependent on the type of operations involved and the number of employees. Regardless of size, a business credit card can offer significant expense control features to make your business work more efficiently. So the next time you think of small business and corporate credit cards for just frequent flier airline miles and cash back rewards, remember that they are also a great tool for managing company expenses.

Published: November 22, 2005


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