How to Get Greater Efficiency and Savings from Your Commercial Card Program

As an increasingly digital world engulfs everyday processes, surprisingly, paper checks remain a significant part of many business transactions. Issuing checks for payables is an Achilles heel for Treasury, creating inefficiencies, higher costs and a greater risk of fraud. Exploring solutions that mitigate these challenges is a priority in an efficiency-driven environment.

Today’s commercial card solutions are highly effective tools for managing business travel and the purchase of goods and services. Cards are fast becoming a preferred means for eliminating paper, deploying more efficient, automated electronic capabilities and supporting fraud mitigation efforts.

Improving the Process: A Win-Win for Buyers and Suppliers
Today’s commercial card solutions streamline both ends of the purchasing process, delivering a win-win proposition that meets the needs of both buyers and suppliers. The right solution facilitates greater levels of control and visibility to low-dollar, high-volume expense categories.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from a commercial card strategy. By implementing a card program, putting the optimum types of payments on cards, buyers can achieve essential goals, such as dramatically extending Days Payable Outstanding (DPO), which improves access to working capital. As a result, Commercial cards afford buyers and suppliers an effective way to manage cash flow and add liquidity into their supply chain.
Suppliers are attracted to card solutions because they potentially enable faster receipt of funds, and do away with some of the most onerous manual processes, such as check processing. The streamlined nature of a card program also reduces exceptions and errors by making access to improved remittance information readily available.

Cards Offer Invaluable Reporting Insights: Monitor and Control Spending
One of the shortcomings of paper-based payment processes is the inability to gather in-depth transaction level information that is vital to monitoring spend and vendor management. Commercial cards solve this problem by automatically capturing transaction data at the point of sale. Treasury is able to conveniently gain access to detailed reporting, which facilitates better vendor management. Armed with critical information, Treasury professionals can determine if card-holders are deviating from corporate procurement policy and can then limit spend to preferred vendors. The controls offered by commercial cards are worth their weight in gold.

Getting a Leg Up on Fraud
Beyond the control and visibility offered by commercial cards, these solutions also bring a critically important level of improved security. Virtual Card Numbers, which may act as a one-time use only card, can be issued to suppliers for a specific purchase. Such a card solution can essentially eliminate the possibility of a card number being compromised. Fraud rates on commercial cards are significantly lower than those of checks or any other kind of commercial type payments, making cards an increasingly popular choice for business procurement transactions.

Let Curiosity Be the Mother of Invention: Partnering for Success
Treasury professionals would be well advised to employ a good measure of intellectual curiosity when exploring opportunities to improve payments processes. Taking a fresh look at the way business is being done, with an eye toward questioning how things can be done better, is key to uncovering fertile ground for improvement. This is an ideal scenario for working with your bank to explore how the latest innovative card solutions will fit within the scope of your overall treasury operation. The right bank can help you evaluate your existing payment processes and determine how commercial cards can enable you to achieve critical Treasury goals.

Fifth Third Bank is a trusted partner and Vendor Centric Preferred Vendor for commercial and purchase card programs. Our purchase card consortium for zoos, aquariums and museums is the first of its kind, and is paving the way for a more strategic approach to commercial card management in all three specialized fields.
Tom Rogers
Author:

Job Title: CEO
Organization: Vendor Centric

Tom is the founder and CEO of Vendor Centric, he has been a trusted advisor to nonprofit organizations for 30 years, with a focus on helping them align the right people, processes and systems to mitigate third-party risk and drive more value from third-party contracts and relationships.

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