Whatever the size of your company, VSE, SME, mid-market, or large group, you may be looking for a solution to control the management of your company’s professional expenses.

Business, or corporate, bank cards allow company employees to make payments on behalf of the company, without having to pay for these professional expenses in advance.

These expenses may include, for example:

  • Business travel expenses (fuel, tolls, etc.);
  • Business meals;
  • Supplies or equipment needed to complete an assignment; and
  • Payments to suppliers or service providers.

🔎 Note: there are two types of professional bank cards:

  • Company debit cards (Business): with these cards, the amounts are debited directly from the company’s account. These cards are not often given to employees, as they are more complicated to manage in terms of accounting.
  • Employee debit cards (Corporate): these cards are linked to the employee’s personal bank account. With deferred debit, employees have time to submit their expense reports. They also simplify the process if an employee has exceeded an expense limit or has incurred non-reimbursable expenses.

What different types of professional bank cards are there?

There are several types of business bank cards, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your company’s specific needs and operations, one type may be more suitable than another.

You may also choose to use more than one type, depending on the role of the employees who will be using the cards, for example.

💸 Debit cards

These work like a classic bank card, with the funds being debited directly from the bank account. Depending on the bank, it is possible to set a payment limit.

  • Advantages: there is no risk of overdraft, since it is impossible to spend more than the current account balance. With this type of card, you can easily consult your professional expenses as well as movements on the current account.
  • Disadvantages: it is complicated to manage the card when it expires or if it is lost and needs to be blocked. You can well imagine the problems that arise if your tool and software licenses are deducted monthly using the card, but it is blocked!

👛 Credit cards

These cards use deferred debit, and are often favored by companies, as they can see in advance the expenses that will be incurred.

  • Advantages: with little or no commission, depending on the banking establishment, they often offer many additional services and insurance that can attract and safeguard companies.
  • Disadvantages: as expense monitoring is deferred, the process is more laborious for the company.

💰 Prepaid cards

These cards are not directly linked to the company’s current account, but must be reloaded by a designated person within the company (accountant, CFO).

  • Advantages: there is no risk of overdraft, since there is a limit, and it is easier to issue these cards to different employees. Depending on the solution chosen, expense report management is simplified, with receipt collection, payments in real time, and the extraction of accounting data.
  • Disadvantages: paying for unexpected expenses can be complex if they exceed the limit. Also, constant and efficient monitoring of expenses is more difficult if the chosen solution is not fully adapted to the company.

Managing professional expenses: why choose pro cards?

#1 – Easy to use

One of the reasons most frequently given by administrative departments for using professional bank cards is that they save time! Employees are autonomous and are able to make payments when they need to, freeing up time for support services, who no longer need to step in at a moment’s notice to book a train ticket or a hotel.

The company also has better control over cash flow because expenses are centralized in a single account and are therefore more easily traceable.

#2 – Avoid advance expense payments

Professional cards avoid advance payements for employees who need to incur expenses related to their assignments. In the event of a tax audit, it is easy to find all the expenses incurred by employees on an assignment, and even more so if the solution you choose enables the legal compliance archiving of receipts.

#3 – Take advantage of banking benefits

Banks often offer benefits to businesses that choose to use professional cards. These include:

  • One or two months deferred debit without interest;
  • Installment payments;
  • Additional insurance (travel, 24-hour assistance, equipment insurance, etc.); and
  • Additional services (loyalty programs, access to airport business lounges, etc.).

Professional bank cards, what are the disadvantages?

Fraudulent use of professional cards

Company bank cards are sometimes used fraudulently by employees, especially for personal expenses. The company therefore risks booking more expenses than necessary for their professional activity, losing money, and running into problems if there is a tax control.

Moreover, if the professional cards are not nominative, it will be difficult to detect which of your employees has done their shopping with the company’s bank card!

Annual spending limits and card costs

Professional bank cards aren’t free! Before you commit, be sure to consider whether it is beneficial for your company to incur the costs of these cards or the fees associated with them.

For example, for credit cards that allow installment payments, the APR (annual percentage rate of charge) can be quite high.

Also bear in mind that the bank may impose an annual spending limit.

Professional bank cards or expense reports?

In many companies, only the CEO and/or the administrative department hold a professional debit card. The company’s employees therefore need to turn to these colleagues when they have to make a purchase for their assignment.

In reality, the choice of a pro card will depend on the company’s activity, as well as on its demands and needs. Are these cards adapted to your company and to your employees’ habits, and is the cost (in terms of money and time) worthwhile?

Remember that an expense report solution such as N2F uses bank reconciliation to facilitate the accounting process for expenses incurred on professional cards.

What are bank reconciliations?

Bank reconciliations concern both company and employee professional debit cards.

  • Company debit cards: there is no need to manually reconcile expenses in the accounts and to wait for the bank statement to verify that the employee’s receipt agrees with the amount debited in the bank account.
  • Employee debit cards: the employee can see all of their professional expenses, and the receipts for these expenses, directly on their expense report application.

A bank connector linked to an expense report management application can centralize all your information in one place! With N2F, all the transactions on your professional bank cards will be updated daily. The user only has to take a picture of the receipt to complete the expense!

As you can see, the accounting department will save a considerable amount of time and errors will be limited. What’s more, by using an expense report solution such as N2F, you ensure legal compliance archiving for your receipts, in accordance with the law.