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Combining T&E software with a corporate credit card program

Does anyone have experience in combining T&E expense reporting software (right now we are looking at Concur) with a corporate credit card program? Our business model has shifted in the last 5 years to include a lot more employees that are on the road traveling, and we desperately need to get away from our current policy of employees paying out of pocket and submitting paper expense reports. A good solution seems to be providing corporate credit cards and utilizing an expense reporting software. However, as an accountant who will have to deal with this on the back-end, I am apprehensive about issuing Amex cards where we would reimburse the employee and they would pay their own bill (seems to open up unnecessary headaches of them not paying their bill. We are dealing with entry or low level employees). I would like to use a corporate credit card program that allows us to pay the credit card bill on behalf of the employee and only reimburse them for out of pocket expenses i.e mileage. I'm having trouble visualizing how this would work on the back-end with a consolidated corporate bill. Does anyone currently do this? If so, how do you handle it?

Answers

Shabbir Imani
Title: Director & Founder
Company: Expenzing (Nexstep)
(Director & Founder, Expenzing (Nexstep)) |

The key reason why Organisations earlier did not go for a Corporate Credit Card program was the back end payment & reconciliation which the Finance team needed to do. Now good T&E software would make this relatively easy for you, where they pull in the spends on the credit card employee wise & employee can mark them off on their expense report as Corporate spends as part of automatic report submitting. Any expense not marked off is considered as a personal expense. Some aspects to look out for which only a few T&E software can handle are Cash withdrawals from ATM's, credit card charges, and refunds which need to be handled properly. We at Expenzing.com are a T&E software provider and have a full fledged Credit Card system integrated with our T&E solution. Happy to help in any way I can irrespective of whether you consider Expenzing.com or not.

Anonymous
(Bookkeeper) |

We recently began using Concur and the only problem is entitled salesman who have to be nagged to provide receipts. Prior to Concur the controls were almost non-existent. Concur integrated nicely with the AMEX cards and QuickBooks.

Donald Kalkofen
Title: Outsourced CFO/Controller/Director/SEC 4..
Company: Consulting CPA
(Outsourced CFO/Controller/Director/SEC 4 startups & public companies, Consulting CPA) |

I am a strong believer in using software to help teams in accounting control costs and manage policy compliance. When you are considering a T&E software solution you should look to match the system to your needs. List out the most important aspects of what you are looking for in a T&E solution as not all software will provide meet your needs. On you question about credit cards typically a business will issue a separate card to each employee and each will have their own statements. Card plans can be set up so that the company reimbursements for approved expenses are sent directly to the card carrier and then you send any cash reimbursements back to the employee. The employee would be responsible for paying back any charges they used for personal use, and they are typically responsible for late fees and interest, this is often used to help encourage the employee to turn in expense promptly. Hope this help. Feel free to reach out if you have more questions. Don, CEO Simplifier

Ashley Collins
Title: Director
Company: 3D Procurement Solutions
LinkedIn Profile
(Director, 3D Procurement Solutions) |

Your concerns regarding Amex relate to the liability profile associated with the cards issued to employees. Amex in the US offers three liability profiles to customers. They are:

1. Limited Liability (Selective Protection)
The company and the Cardholder are jointly liable for payment of all charges.
Under certain circumstances the company may waive its responsibility for personal charges and business expenses for which the company has reimbursed the Cardholder.

2. Limited Liability (Expanded Protection)
The company is responsible for reimbursing Cardholders for business expenses. The company is only liable for payment of business expenses for which the Cardholder has not been reimbursed.

3. Sole Company Liability (Standard Protection)
This option is available only for central billing and/or cash advance programs. With Standard Protection, the company is liable for payment of all charges. American Express will either bill the company directly for charges or will request payment from the company if the Cardholder does not pay the outstanding balance.

Option 1 is typically the preferred and most efficient and acceptable option for both company and employee. The employee is not out of pocket temporarily for expenses incurred however the company has the right to pursue the employee for any out of policy expenses incurred. The other benefit is that the company/employee will be unlikely to incur any delinquent debt or late payment fees by paying expenses based upon the cycle cut period associated with the card population. This will of course need to be supported through the Expense Management Solution (EMS) platform that is linked to your card population.

Happy to take offline if required.

Peter Kotsifas
Title: VP of Finance
Company: Mondo
(VP of Finance, Mondo) |

Last company I worked for, we implemented a Concur expense reimbursement system integrated with an AMEX corporate credit card program. We were sold on having the AMEX program, but ended up discontinuing it due to problems with employees not submitting expense reports timely. What we ended up realizing is that we lost our leverage by paying AMEX directly for the employees. Most of our employees were road warrior consultants and didn't want to be told they needed to use our AMEX corporate credit cards - they wanted to use their favorite credit cards. So, we ended up discontinuing the AMEX program and just had the employees add their personal credit cards into Concur (which still integrated with the Concur expense reimbursement system) and it created the leverage we needed - employees would be more apt to submit expenses timely if they were on the hook for paying their personal credit card bills.

Current company I work for, we implemented Concur expense system. It is a fairly stripped down system, but works flawlessly.

Also, be aware the Concur implementation is more involved then Concur will tell you. I would double whatever they tell you it will take in terms of work effort. Good luck!

Anonymous
(Assistant Controller) |

I'm the Assistant Controller @ a small software company, and I just finished up with demos for ~10 separate T&E software providers (including Concur). We ended up choosing a small company called Abacus, which has been outstanding thus far. Our corporate cards sync to the Abacus software, and the transactions also flow through to our accounting software, which makes reconciliations much easier than before. Also, as an added bonus, the cost of the software is only $5/month per active user. I would highly recommend contacting Abacus to setup a demo, as well as contacting a few other highly-rated T&E providers to get a good feel for the differences between them.

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