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We often get inquiries from people looking for expense management for non-profits, churches, and major multinational corporations. Our customer support team reports that many of these prospective customers are concerned that they cannot get a Bento account because they do not have an owner. That is not the case. As long as an organization has someone who is responsible, accountable, and authorized to enter into contracts, it is eligible to apply.

The role of business owner at a non-profit

Each Bento for Business account has someone assigned as business owner. Not all of our customers are businesses that have owners, however. Bento works great for expense management for non-profits, for example, but non-profits aren’t businesses and don’t have an owner. 

The “business owner” has a powerful role. This is the person who determines who gets to use the cards and who has administrative privileges. Also, business owner has the only card that can be used at an ATM to make a withdrawal. For most of our clients, the business owner is straightforward: it’s the person who owns the business. We developed our products and services to help small businesses operate better, but they work for lots of others.

For a non-profit organization, the person who is designated as the owner is most likely the executive director. At a church, it is probably the pastor. For a government organization, it is probably the treasurer, CFO, or head accountant. 

Filling the role at a corporation

Corporations, whether large or small, have many owners represented by a board of directors. This would include Bento for Business. All of the employees here have stock, but that doesn’t mean we are business owners when it comes to our Bento cards. Here, the designated business owner is the CEO. No one else can make cash withdrawals, and most employees have strict controls set on their cards. For other corporation clients, the “business owner” is a different officer. 

We also have some customers that are very large corporations. One is a major food and beverage company that uses Bento for Business to distribute funding for certain innovation projects. The managers working on these projects are free to spend money as they like, and Bento’s reporting allows for an analysis of spending effectiveness. It’s a way to give people great freedom while also creating information for learning. In this case, the business owner is the executive in charge of the program. The company’s CEO probably doesn’t even know our name. 

(And yes, this makes us sad.)

Giving the right people the right permissions

Our service team reports on a related issue: on some accounts, the CEO signs up but is too busy to manage the account, so they put their administrative assistant’s email address on the account instead of their own, assuming that this gives the admin full permission over the account. Then, the assistant reaches out for help and we can’t assist them because they aren’t technically on the account. A fix for that is using an email specific for Bento that the admin has access to, then use it to add themselves to the account as an administrator with full permissions. 

We offer expense-management tools for owner-operated small businesses, but we also do expense management for non-profits and other organizations that don’t have a single owner in charge, but that do want control and visibility over spending. We’re happy to help them all.