Why It’s Time for a Corporate Card Program

By The Center Team on May 21, 2020

With an increasing need for live data and full visibility into spend, there are clear advantages to setting up a corporate card program sooner vs. later.

Your organization might use a small business card for purchases or rely on employees to use their personal cards to pay for business expenses. But with an increasing need for live data and full visibility into all types of spend, there are clear advantages to setting up a corporate card program sooner rather than later.

1. You need a faster and more predictable expense cycle.

Real-time data has never been more important, and month-end surprises have never been less welcome. Especially if you are still relying on paper receipts and spreadsheets, keeping track of what has actually been spent becomes increasingly difficult.

Establishing a company-wide card program gets your whole team on the same cycle of statements and reports, which helps prevent painful budget surprises.

CenterCard’s real-time data is fully integrated with Center Expense, making it easy for managers and execs to quickly answer the question, “How are we tracking to budget?” at any time.

2. You need clear parameters around spending.

When employees are spending money on behalf of the company, things can get messy. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of spend now, ask permission later. Tough conversations about what is OK and what is not take place after the fact—or they don’t happen at all, especially in a remote work environment. At best, you’re spending more than you need to be on discretionary expenses like subscriptions and office supplies. At worst, you’re increasing the risk of fraud.

Rolling out a company-wide card program is an ideal time to establish clear policies designed for current conditions, so everyone can be on the same page about the plan.

CenterCard helps you build a strong fiscal culture and empower your team to stay on track with flexible controls and adjustable policy flags.

3. You need to analyze your spending more closely.

Whether you’re in build mode, analyzing return on every investment, or trying to identify short-term cost-cutting measures that won’t hamper long-term growth, you need an effective way to track your discretionary spend—which can add up to a whopping 25% of your overall budget. Travel typically makes up a large percentage of discretionary spend, but even when travel budgets are trimmed, other kinds of spending (think subscriptions and video conferencing software) tend to rise. When expenses come in piecemeal, getting a clear handle on discretionary spend is nearly impossible to do.

Corporate card programs help by delivering your expenses in a clear, consistent format and organizing them by merchant category code. You can more easily identify opportunities to trim costs and to negotiate volume discounts with frequent suppliers.

CenterCard helps eliminate wasteful spend with full visibility into tough-to-track expenses like software subscriptions, digital marketing, and office supplies.

4. You’ve experienced, or suspected, expense fraud.

We believe that employees generally want to do the right thing, but unfortunately there are some who don’t. We have heard about cases where employees falsified receipts or even manufactured fake ones to cover dubious expenses—or where they purchased and expensed items, and later returned them for cash.

Corporate cards make it easy to ensure that the amount charged always matches the amount expensed, and if a purchase is returned, then the refund goes directly to the company.

CenterCard includes standard industry fraud and security protections, and 100% of expenses are automatically audited. 

5. You need to stay nimble.

During a period of uncertainty like this one, companies need to stay nimble. Many companies implement spending freezes or across-the-board cuts, but these drastic measures can actually limit your ability to come out of the downturn stronger. Bureaucracy and personal credit card limits can’t slow down your team from acting on opportunities that could increase revenue or help close deals. Requiring your team members to use their own cards can limit their ability to act, or place extra pressure on their personal finances during an already stressful time.

When you have a well-structured corporate card program with clear spending policies in place, you can stay nimble without placing undue burden on your employees.

With CenterCard you can set adjustable limits for each card, and lock cards not in regular use for security.


CenterCard is the only corporate card that integrates directly with Center Expense, helping everyone keep business running smoothly. Center is easy to customize to your policies and adjust as needed—the powerful automatic audit flags any expense requiring review. Managers, finance, and executives can see at a glance what’s been spent to date, without waiting for month-end close. To find out more, schedule a demo with our team.