The past two decades have seen a dramatic surge in the adoption of corporate card programs by businesses of all sizes. These programs mandate processes and infrastructure to control and monitor T&E spends and to ensure every expense is reconciled in compliance with government guidelines.
At Fyle, we’ve built our corporate credit card reconciliation module to helps finance teams monitor, control and reconcile expenses, and make it easy for employees to claim and submit expenses on their cards.
Benefits and challenges of a corporate card program
While these corporate card programs have been around for a while, it’s only in the recent years that we have acknowledged the need for it. Some of the top reasons for businesses to adopt these programs are:
- Eliminate paper-based processes
- Integrate card spend data with accounting systems
- Increase convenience for employee travellers
- Obtain better data to monitor policy compliance
- Negotiate vendor discounts
(2009 T&E Benchmark report from JP Morgan indicates the heavy adoption and usage of corporate card programs)
Institutions like American Express, Diners, Chase, Capital One, and many more have been leveraging this opportunity and rapidly growing their programs. Amex is the most popular among the Fortune 500 (servicing 63 percent of the entire active market). The IRS has set up certain guidelines around audit requirements for every T&E expense, to which a business must comply –
- Present a receipt for any business transaction above $75
- Record and maintain the context of the transaction (Vendor, Amount, Date etc.)
- Report business transactions within 60 days of the occurrence.
While a corporate card program does help companies tackle a plethora of problems (real-time record of transactions, budget/limit control etc.), it also brings new challenges with itself. In real life scenarios, companies have to deal with situations where –
- Employees make personal expenses on corporate cards – Admin needs a way to understand this and accurately account for it.
- Employees lose receipts – Since employees don’t have to worry about reimbursements, they often tend to not be as serious about holding receipts as they are when spending from their own pockets.
- Companies have multiple card programs for various employees and offices – All data needs to be pulled together and managed under one hood.
- Many companies have dynamic assignments for cards – More than one employee can be using the same card, or an employee might get assigned a new card. These cases, which are pretty common, bring inconsistencies in T&E reporting and analytics.
As a result of these operational inefficiencies, finance teams often find themselves lost between transactions and receipts. Consequently, the impact is seen in reconciliation, which later translates into poor or hacked compliance. While certain problems here can’t be corrected by software, a lot of them can be tackled with the right set of features in your T&E software – Exactly what we’ve built here at Fyle.
Reconciling employee card expenses in Fyle
From a systems perspective, reconciling corporate credit cards involves –
- Record of all card transactions with context (date, merchant, amount, employee etc)
- Assigning specific or all transactions to an employee
- Matching these transactions with respective expense receipts
- Handling policy violations on card transactions
- Processing (accounting for) corporate card payments
Setup cards and assign to employees
Receiving transaction records
Fyle allows organizations to gather transaction records in two ways –
- Configure direct feeds
Direct feeds are obtained directly from card providers (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Diners) with no intermediate third-party. The feeds are directly pushed by providers to Fyle once the organization signs off on an authorization letter to their bank.
- Manual statement upload
In case direct feeds can’t be configured, you can generate a card statement from your bank account and manually upload to Fyle. All transactions are automatically recognized and assigned to their respective cards/owners.
It’s worth noting here that a single Fyle account can be used to manage expenses across multiple banks, card providers and/or card programs. You can see specific instructions on how to set up card feeds in our help center here.
Assigning card transactions
Once transactions records are inside your Fyle account, one can assign these transactions to employees. This is needed for accounting employee-wise spends and reconciliations. Fyle provides you two methods to do this –
- When a single employee is using a corporate card for expenses
Fyle allows you to assign a card to a specific user. Doing this will automatically assign all transactions on the particular card to this user.
- When multiple employees share a corporate card
Fyle will present a list of all unassigned transactions to you, where you can select one or more transactions and assign them to specific employees.
In cases when a transaction is incorrectly assigned, admins will have an option to change the assignment.
Matching receipts with transactions
In order to be compliant, transactions need to be supported with a receipt and the context of the transaction. While details like payment mode, merchant, date and amount are directly pulled from bank records for accuracy, there are other fields which might be needed based on company policies.
There are two possibilities –
- An expense/receipt entry is made before the card transaction is imported
- An employee might have added a receipt in Fyle even before the card transaction record is pulled from your bank.
- As and when the transactions are imported, Fyle suggests possible matches in card transactions for the already existing expense entries. Employees can also manually do the same in case recommendations are not available or don’t seem accurate.
- Transactions are imported before the respective expense/receipt entry is made
- In this case, admins will first need to assign the transaction to the respective employee. As this happens, the employee is notified by Fyle to add a receipt with other expense entries to support their transaction.
Handling policy violations on card transactions
Policy violations on card transactions, like in all other payment modes, are automatically detected and processed by Fyle and highlighted to the user and the admin. Admins can key in rules to accept, reject or modify these expense claims as per company guidelines.
Processing (accounting for) corporate card payments
Generally, card transactions made by employees are directly from the company’s credit account, so these expenses need to be matched with receipts for audit and compliance. However, in everyday scenarios, admins might see card transactions deviating from this – Personal expenses made on corporate cards, reversed transactions
For each of these cases, admins can do the following in Fyle –
- If the transaction was reversedReversal or failed transactions are a very common occurrence, and Fyle accommodates that. Once a user marks a transaction as reversed, they’re asked to point towards the reversal transaction entry. The delta, if any, will have to be supported with receipt and expense entry as usual.
- If the transaction was a marked as a personal expense
The employee has an option to mark expenses as personal, in which case, the amount is treated similar to an ‘advance’ disbursement, wherein the transaction amount will be accounted for by deductions from the employee’s payroll.
The payments/accounting module in Fyle will automatically receive all changes made to transactions and keep all records ready for transfer to your accounting/payroll software.
The future of corporate credit card reconciliation
As corporate card programs keep getting popular, and business expenses on them keep increasing, we at Fyle are committed to building the best possible solutions to accommodate an organization’s expense management process.
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