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IF CARDS ARE LINKED TO A GOOD EXPENSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, RICH DATA CAN BE INTEGRATED INTO THE WORKFLOW


THE TMC


SIMON ANTONIOU, EMEA CONSULTING SALES DIRECTOR, AMERICAN EXPRESS GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL


Invisible travel spend heavily impacts policy compliance, duty-of-care, budgeting and the visibility needed for negotiating with suppliers. People’s spending behaviour can be an issue when using their personal cards to gain points and they often make out-of-pocket expense claims sporadically, which affects cash flow and budgeting. So, beyond a certain annual threshold of individuals’ T&E spend, it makes sense to implement corporate cards for those travellers – and this can be built into your policy. Traveller security is also a key consideration. Corporate card data, when integrated with a risk management programme, can provide valuable information – often close to real time – to help pinpoint travellers when there is a crisis. For example, because Amex is both a card issuing bank and a merchant bank, the user’s whereabouts can be traced to a precise location from a transaction a few minutes earlier. There are also benefits to using virtual payment cards associated with a centralised account. These are


highly secure and configurable to restrict usage to specific budget caps, vendors and time windows, and are an effective way of managing T&E spend for contractors and third-party workers. And due to the customisable data fields and rich data levels associated with centralised accounts, this spend can be automatically assigned to particular project codes, budgets or departments. Individual or personal corporate cards bring a wide range of benefits to the programme, particularly for employees who travel regularly. On these, individuals file their own expenses, so there is greater awareness of their spend, which can positively influence their behaviour. If the cards are linked to a good


expense management system, rich data can be integrated into the workflow, including type of spend, region, business purpose, department, associated client and project code. And a seamless, user- friendly process, with intuitively prepopulated fields, can help incentivise adoption and usage.


JON BOLGER, DIRECTOR, EQUILIBRIUM Five or six years ago, it was corporate card or bust. Now there are virtual payments, one-time cards, mobile payments, leapfrog technology, and a lot of consumer solutions are moving into the corporate environment, so you might want to mix any of these with corporate cards, depending on your traveller profiles. Someone travelling from London to Amsterdam could book a flight on an online booking tool and there could be a lodge card against that, which gets straight through to the TMC on a centrally billed account. The traveller could park their car and book, and pay for that through an app. When they eat in a restaurant in Amsterdam, they might use mobile payment. The demographic of the employee base is also relevant: if the average age is 26, they will have different views on how to pay than someone of 56. A lot of younger employees don’t have credit cards and expect to pay instantly with their phone.


If an organisation has interns, infrequent


travellers or contractors, it may activate a virtual card for single use or for a specific number of times against that individual’s booking, and that is billed back to the TMC. Typically, there is no one size fits all. An organisation using billback via a TMC would not need credit cards, although it will get charged for the credit line provided by the TMC. If everyone books online and that goes through a central account that would also not require credit cards – but the company would need to cover additional expense claims, such as sustenance and incidentals. Demographics, geography, frequency, control, supplier relationships, are all part of a 360° solution. There is no point in rolling out a credit card when people will not use it. nFind out more in the Corporate Cards and Payments 2019 supplement with this issue of BBT


buyingbusinesstravel.com


2019


MAY/JUNE


55


THE CONSULTANT


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