Growth for any company is very exciting, but it also comes with risk. As a company grows, its expenses and costs of doing business grow with it, and sometimes exponentially: new business can be more expensive as you need to pay suppliers, and bring in more staff, more materials and more vehicles at the outset.
The consequence of these increased upfront and everyday costs is that working capital can be put under pressure, with the added issue that those running the business find themselves spending more time managing capital than the new contracts, which in itself can have a detrimental effect on how the business performs.
After the long periods of lockdown, the economy is predicted by many forecasters to grow quickly. In a recent study, Deloitte found economic optimism among chief financial officers at its highest level for 13 years, and so there are many opportunities for businesses. But in order to move quickly and take advantage, you need cashflow.
A business credit card can allow you to be more flexible, and help to take the pressure off your working capital. By using them to pay suppliers and expenses, you can buy yourself time, meaning that your working capital can be used to fund expansion and target growth opportunities, not service expenditure.
Whether it be reorganising how employees work from office and home, sourcing new suppliers, finding new clients or managing growth, the amount of time you have to manage every aspect of your business will be challenged in the next few months.
What you don’t want to happen is that as opportunities present themselves, your time is taken up managing bills, employee spending and the mechanics of everyday working: authorising payments, chasing receipts, wading through accounts or sorting invoices.
For daily costs, choose a card that can do some of the heavy lifting: letting you set pre-authorisations, including spending limits, for specific spend categories including fuel, office supplies and travel. Employees can then work without you having to get involved in time-consuming discussions about purchasing.
Then ensure they can upload receipts digitally and all spend is consolidated into a single report. You’ll be able to understand quickly what your outgoings are, and can adjust future spend through online platforms, meaning that this often laborious, yet fundamental, part of running a business is streamlined, giving you time to concentrate on growing your business.
Your employees have most likely been working from home for a long time now, or you’re in the process of bringing employees back from furlough: 11.4 million jobs, from 1.3 million different employers were furloughed in the past year.
It takes a while to get back into the old routines – or new ones – as they go back out to work. As a result, they may need to re-learn the habits of good procurement and understanding what they can spend your money on.
Suppliers may have changed, or have new terms, and prices may have increased, and you might only find this out afterwards. So it is important to have pre-spend controls in place to ensure that your employees can only pay for the right things. Online dashboards lets you see in real time what is being spent, allowing you to review spending trends over time.
Also, you may well be taking on new staff if you are growing quickly, and ensuring that the company’s money is being used in line with policy can be better ensured through payment solutions that include spend controls.
In order to grow, you need flexibility that allows your employees to buy and pay for what they need, wherever they are, quickly and easily. This creates opportunity and improves productivity. But within reason, of course: a ‘blank cheque’ can be counter-productive.
So give them a card which is widely accepted and can be paired with expense management software so you can keep track of spending and identify new sources of efficiency and savings, while employees can get on with the job, and not waste your company’s time and money.
It’s been a really tough year for many employees: according to research by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Development, 37% of businesses said that stress-related absence had increased in the last 12 months.
But for many, they will be relieved to get back to some sort of working normality, and grateful of the opportunities. Therefore it is important to support them in every way you can, and one way is by not increasing their financial burden.
Employees that have to use their own cash for expenses are effectively funding your business until they are reimbursed, and for many this will come at time when they can ill afford to.
Help with cashflow and saving
Up to 44 days interest-free credit on purchases*, lower fuel costs via Discount Diesel plus savings on your business spend at selected merchants.
Universal card acceptance on business purchases through the Visa network plus as a unique ‘all-in-one’ business and fuel card, access over 7,700 fuel sites, covering 90% of the UK, including all major oil brands and supermarket sites.
Control, insight and security over spend
Tailor each card to your needs. Set permissions and limits at a card level via an online portal to control spending before it takes place. We also offer secure payments and anti-fraud controls to provide seamless and secure e-commerce
Streamlined administration on real-time reporting
Visa Business Reporting in partnership with Allstar helps reduce expense admin while an online portal offers insight into spend.
*Subject to status.