Technology has swooped in to dramatically reduce the time and cost of travel and entertainment expense management. For instance, using an automated expense reporting solution over a manual one can bring the expense report processing cost down from about $72 to about $25. But that still leaves a number of other costs that don’t necessarily have a straightforward technical solution. 

Remaining Costs 

A number of non-T&E expenses still need to be managed, which is typically done through a budgeting process geared toward establishing operating goals. Here you’ll find costs that include: 

  •          Operations and headcount
  •          Marketing
  •          Capital expenditures
  •          General and administrative 

Unlike the automated process of T&E expenses, these costs are generally still managed through accounting software or manual spreadsheets. 

Where Prepaid Cards Come In 

One option that can keep costs easier to manage is offering field employees prepaid credit cards in lieu of personal or corporate credit cards to cover their expenses. Rather than reimbursing employee or reviewing expenses after the fact, prepaid cards allow managers to set the funding limits through a web or mobile app – before the purchase is even made. 

Discussions regarding purchases happen before the fact, not after. This helps to ensure the purchase gets done right the first time, which can greatly increase budget compliance. It can also greatly reduce any unwanted surprises when it comes to reimbursement or reviewing corporate credit card statements. 

Proactive Expense Management 

Managing expenses proactively can result in obvious benefits, while reactive management can cost a company more than you may think when it comes to percentage points on the net margin line. In other words, a business that brings in $1.5 million revenue and operates at an 11.6 percent net margin will end up earning $175,000 for the owner. 

Let’s put the firm’s cost base at $17,000 every month, but closer scrutiny and help from technological solutions like expense reporting software can lead to an average monthly savings of 10 percent. The company has now improved its net margin to more than 13 percent. Do the math by multiplying the 13 percent net margin by the $1.5 million revenue, or by multiplying the monthly $1,700 savings by the 12 months in a year, and the end results are the same: more than $20,000 each year heads to the bottom line. 

One of the strategies with proactive cash management is to communicate frequently and openly to staff about what purchases are necessary and what expenses should be avoided. While the method may sound simple, it can make a significant difference when it comes to increasing control of your business and improving revenue. And one of the tools that can help make that difference can be prepaid credit cards. 

Another way to make a significant difference in your bottom line is to manage your expenses with Chrome River’s expense management software.


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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care. Sally Abella, Director of Corporate Travel Harman International
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic. Ben Zastrow Zelle

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