There's no quick fix for implementing a commercial card program, but there are a number of best practices that can help your growing business reach its e-payments goals faster and with fewer headaches.
1Partner for supplier enablement
Getting suppliers on board with receiving payments via card can be an involved process. For a successful transition, it's important for companies to help their suppliers understand how e-payments benefit them, including faster payments, potentially more business, reduced processing costs, increased efficiencies and access to payments data. Although your financial team should still remain actively involved, outsourcing the supplier enablement process will ease the burden of helping suppliers transition to the use of e-payments.
2Put fraud protections in place from the start
To mitigate fraud, work with a bank that will help you design effective commercial card program controls upon implementation, such as guidelines for card issuance, policies, procedures, credit limit controls, velocity controls, merchant blocking, reconciliation processes, auditing procedures and more. Also, follow industry best practices regarding continuous or risk-based reporting and analysis of transaction data to identify fraud or risk of fraud.
3Ensure systems integration
Key to it all is ensuring the data generated by commercial card use is integrated with your accounting/enterprise resource planning (ERP) and expense reporting systems. You don't want staff to be doing manual re-keying of data—that's not time well spent. Automated integration also makes data more timely, bolstering data visibility and control. Furthermore, integrating card data into your supply chain management gives managers the information they need to more effectively negotiate discounts with suppliers.
4Invest in management and training
It's not sexy and it costs money, but ongoing management and training are essential for a successful commercial card program. What to consider: hiring an administrator, establishing KPIs to keep the program on track, budgeting for user-training conferences, establishing and enforcing usage polices, and budgeting for training cardholders on the polices.
5Do it now
Or at least implement a card program sooner rather than later. If you think your company is too small to worry about it, note that it's much easier to set up and train staff when you're small versus changing processes and systems down the road. As you grow, you'll need to put controls in place for regulatory compliance, including data collection and analytics. If you think your company is too big to make the shift, consider the growing risk of fraud. It's smart to get ahead of potential payment issues and reduce risk, and commercial cards and reporting data are a key part of that effort.
By following a few best practices and working with a strong bank partner that can take some of the work off of your plate, you can realize the significant benefits of a commercial card program faster than you might think.
This is part three of our three-part blog series about e-payments and commercial cards:
- The 5 Components of a Comprehensive E-payments Strategy
- Top Ways to Improve Cash Flow and Grow with Commercial Cards
- 5 Keys to Successfully Implementing Your Commercial Card Program
Let Silicon Valley Bank help you realize the full potential of your card solutions.
Call 408 654-7400 or visit Commercial Cards.
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