Corporate Cards
 min read
June 13, 2024

How Corporate Expense Cards Simplify Expense Management

Streamline expense management with corporate expense cards

Every month, it is the same story. Inbox overflowing with expense reports, chasing down missing receipts, and reconciling transactions that do not match.

Expense management can feel like a never-ending cycle. However, there's a way to simplify the entire process and gain real-time visibility into company spending. Corporate expense cards offer a powerful solution, giving you control and freeing your team to focus on higher-value activities. 

In this blog post, we will discuss how corporate expense cards can help you streamline your expense management.

Challenges of the traditional expense management process

Almost all businesses face the following challenges when it comes to managing finances:

  • Too much time is spent on managing receipts and filling out reports
  • Finance teams spend hours reconciling reports and matching receipts to policies
  • Frequent follow-ups for missing information and reimbursements are needed
  • Manual processes lead to errors and compliance issues, which is harder to spot without an audit trail 

That is where corporate cards help. 

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What are corporate expense cards?

Corporate expense cards, or corporate cards, are specialised payment cards issued by companies to their employees for business-related expenses. Unlike personal credit cards, which individuals use for personal purchases, corporate expense cards are solely used for business expenses and provide instant tracking and management.

These cards come in different forms, such as physical cards that employees can carry for in-person purchases or virtual cards that exist electronically for online transactions. In both forms, the cards provide a convenient way for cardholders to make purchases on behalf of the company while also allowing businesses to track and manage expenses more effectively.

What are the benefits of corporate expense cards?

Corporate expense cards offer several key benefits that can enhance the efficiency of your business's expense management process. These include:

  • Time savings: Corporate cards automate expense reporting, reducing your employees’ administrative burden and freeing resources for more strategic activities.
  • Enhanced security: Corporate cards feature robust security measures, including customisable spending controls and fraud monitoring. This protects your business from unauthorised transactions and potential misuse.
  • Streamlined reimbursement: Corporate cards eliminate the need for the reimbursement process, allowing employees to charge expenses directly to the company account, which simplifies expense management and reduces processing time.
  • Improved visibility: With real-time expense data and detailed reporting, the finance team will have a clear and up-to-date view of your company's spending. This enables more informed financial decision-making and better budgeting.
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How do corporate expense cards streamline expense management?

Corporate cards are highly beneficial for managing your business spending. But how do they make the expense management process more efficient?

Automated expense reporting

When employees use their company cards for business expenses, the transactions are automatically recorded in your expense management system. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reduces errors, and saves time. 

For example, when your sales team members attend a conference and use their corporate cards for hotel stays, meals, and other expenses, these transactions get automatically recorded in your expense management system.

Match receipts digitally

Many corporate card providers use advanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to streamline receipt management. 

Here is how it works: When employees need to record an expense, they can simply take a photo of the receipt with their mobile device or upload a scanned image through the software interface. 

The OCR technology then extracts key details such as the date, amount, vendor information, and itemised expenses from the receipt, converting it into a digital copy. These receipts are then automatically categorised, making it easier for finance teams to match and reconcile. 

Spending controls

Controlling how much your employees spend is crucial when managing expenses. With corporate expense cards, you can set customised spending limits and restrictions for different expense categories. You can even mandate approvals from managers for expenses exceeding a specific limit. This ensures that your employees stay within budget and comply with company policies. 

For instance, you can restrict your marketing team's purchases to specific categories, such as software licences or advertising, to ensure they only use company funds for approved purposes. If you have more questions on how to set corporate card limits, check out our blog for more tips.

Real-time insights

Corporate cards provide real-time expense monitoring, giving you instant visibility into your company's employee spending patterns and cash flow. You can see exactly how much you are spending, where you are spending it, and when you are spending it. 

With this real-time data, finance teams can analyse expenses by department, expense type, and other criteria, leading to better financial planning and control. With these insights, they can allocate budgets wisely, ensuring resources align with business goals.

Choosing the right corporate expense card provider

If you are looking for corporate card providers in the UAE, here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Card acceptance and network coverage

Ensure the provider has a wide network coverage and is associated with major financial institutions in the UAE, so your employees can use their cards anywhere, anytime. When you are at it, you can also consider the provider's acceptance rate in different regions and cities and their ability to accept cards from various financial institutions. For instance, the VISA card is accepted by 44 million establishments across 200+ countries.

2. Customisation options

When selecting a corporate card provider, look for one that offers several customisation options to suit your company's unique needs. This includes allocating specific budgets for daily, weekly, or monthly expenditures. The provider should also allow you to create single-use purchase cards that automatically deactivate after being used once. Additionally, you should be able to control spending for different departments based on spending habits.

3. Sync with expense management software

Choose a provider that comes with an in-built expense management platform. This streamlines the expense reporting process and reduces errors. Additionally, consider the provider's ability to integrate with other software systems, such as accounting software like Quickbooks or Netsuite, so that you can automate your accounting and close books faster. Another thing to consider is whether the card issuer works with mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Such integration provides a lot of convenience to employees who can use cards directly with their phones.

4. Customer support and service

Select a provider that offers excellent customer support and service. This includes 24/7 assistance, online support, and a dedicated account manager. Look for a provider with a reputation for providing prompt and helpful customer support. Consider the provider's response time to customer inquiries and ability to resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

5. Security measures

Ensure the provider has robust security measures to protect your company's financial data. This includes encryption, firewalls, and regular security audits. Look for a provider with a strong track record of security and compliance with industry standards such as ISO 27001. Additionally, consider the provider's ability to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions and their procedures for handling security breaches.

6. Fee structure and transparency

Choose a provider with a transparent fee structure. This includes clear information about the fees, charges, and interest rates. Look for a provider that offers a flat fee per transaction rather than a percentage-based fee. Additionally, consider the provider's ability to provide detailed reports on transactions and expenses and their procedures for handling disputes and errors.

7. Additional benefits and rewards

Look for a provider that offers additional benefits and rewards, such as cashback, rewards points, or business travel rewards. For example, Alaan corporate cards offer 2% cashback on international transactions.

You can also consider the provider's ability to offer customised rewards and benefits and their flexibility regarding reward redemption options.

We've made choosing a business card issuer simple. Download our free exhaustive checklist to find the right fit for your organisation.

 Corporate card buyer’s checklist

Best practices for using corporate expense cards

As you consider implementing corporate expense cards for your business, it is essential to establish best practices to ensure a smooth and efficient process. Here is what we recommend:

Establish clear policies

Before issuing corporate expense cards, define clear policies for approved expenses, spending limits, receipt requirements, and the expense reporting process. This ensures employees understand what expenses are allowed and how to report them accurately. To help you get started, here is a customisable template for creating your corporate card policy.

Encourage timely expense reporting

Set deadlines for expense reporting and encourage employees to report expenses promptly. This ensures that expenses are tracked accurately and that reimbursements are processed quickly. You can also set reminders or notifications to help employees stay on track.

Restrict cards for business use only

To prevent misuse, restrict corporate expense cards for business use only. This can be done by setting spending limits, restricting certain types of transactions, or requiring approval for certain expenses. This ensures company funds are directed towards business needs, not personal expenses.

Educate employees 

Train employees on the best practices for protecting card information. This includes remembering PINs, keeping information secure, and immediately reporting lost or stolen cards. It will ensure your company's financial data is secure and protected from unauthorised transactions.

Use a card provider with an integrated expense management platform

Consider partnering with a card provider that also offers an expense management platform. This allows you to manage your expenses and track your spending in one place, streamlining your expense management process. 

For example, Alaan offers a corporate card and expense management platform with real-time expense tracking in dynamic dashboards, automated expense reporting, and detailed expense analytics. This can help you make more informed financial decisions and optimise your spending.

Use Alaan business expense cards for seamless expense management

Using a corporate card lets your company's financial operations run smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on your core business activities. But, rather than settling for legacy corporate card providers that require a personal guarantee or offer basic spend management software, partner with Alaan.

Our comprehensive corporate card and spend management solution is designed to simplify the business expense process while ensuring the needs of employees, accountants, CFOs and business owners are met.

 Issue Alaan corporate card with one click

Tracking expenses with Alaan is simple: you can attach receipts to transactions and transactions are automatically categorised. You can then view real-time transaction details and receive notifications on your mobile app for every card transaction, ensuring complete visibility.

Automatic receipt matching 

Our corporate cards are accepted worldwide and support over 200 currencies. Whether your team is distributed, travels frequently, or makes international payments, our cards ensure seamless transactions no matter where your business takes you. The platform also integrates with major accounting software and payment wallets like Apple Pay

With Alaan's corporate cards and expense management platform, you can streamline your expense tracking, gain visibility into spending, and optimise your company's financial efficiency.

Ready to simplify your corporate spending? Get in touch with us today!

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