“I needed an easy way for project leaders to be able to buy supplies. Giving out cash was not an option and going to buy gift cards over and over was a pain. Bento enrollment was easy and allows the organization to focus on service, not expense management.”
-John A., Treasurer, Not-For-Profit Outreach Program
Expense management for small business, nonprofits and startups is a crucial balancing act that can make the difference between success and failure, and as a business owner or manager, it’s natural that you do what you can to control business expenses. It’s not always easy to get a handle on, however, and despite the best efforts of accountants and entrepreneurs around the country, managing cash flow continues to cause financial pain for too many small enterprises.
Quite often it’s the expense management problems you didn’t even know you had…
Most business owners have assembled their own expense management solution, cobbling together cash, checks, business credit cards and store gift cards to empower employee purchasing and keep their endeavor powering forward. How much time do you and your people spend writing checks, driving across town to deliver funds, or compiling and reconciling expense reports? While you may have accepted this system as “good enough,” it is likely that you are spending more time and money than you want to admit, all in a compromise of convenience. But all of this has a price that might surprise you.
Let’s say, for example, that each of your five employees buys a cup of coffee every morning using the cash leftover from a company purchase. Even if you haven’t given them permission to do so, it still seems harmless enough. However, at $4 a cup, for five employees, five days of the year for the whole year actually costs you $5,200. Think back to last year, how much more could your business have achieved with an extra $5,200?
While this example might not resonate with you, I’m sure you can think of your own expense “leaks” scenario that you have just accepted as a cost of doing business…but it doesn’t have to be.
The Problem in Detail
The most common way small businesses control business expenses is an erratic mixture of debit cards, credit cards, checks and petty cash. Unfortunately, not one out of these options is without issues, and using them together leads to time and money being lost on a regular basis (for a detailed analysis, download our “Cash Flow Leaks” Whitepaper).
Handing out debit and credit cards to employees causes no end of headaches, not least because it isn’t easy to hand them out in the first place! They’re not trackable in real time, so any inappropriate or unauthorized spending won’t be picked up until the statements come in at reconciliation time, and they’re not particularly secure. Let’s not forget the issue of business owner liability. Did you know that business credit cards can have a negative impact on your personal credit score, even if you’re not using a personal credit card for business expenses?
The risk of credit card fraud is one thing, and employee theft is another. Whether it’s intentional (doctoring expense reports, using their business credit or debit card for personal use etc.) or unintentional (forgetting to return the change, losing the receipt, purchasing the wrong item etc.), it’s the type of loss that is made possible by a lack of proper process and an expense management system that’s lacking in security. Even if you (or your accountant) realize that an employee isn’t following procedure when it comes to spending, including keeping the change from petty cash purchases, that’s an awkward conversation to be had – and something that you could probably do without.
A major aspect of expense management for small business is tracking income and expenditure and reconciling accounts. Unfortunately, along with this comes an often inordinate amount of time producing expense reports and matching receipts. You might have just accepted this as a necessary part of your process to control business expenses, but think about how much easier it would be if your employees didn’t have to fill in expense reports every month and then waiting to be reimbursed. Think of how much more efficient your accounts team would be if they didn’t have to spend hours (or days, depending on the size of your business) matching, checking and reconciling expense reports. In fact, think how about much extra time they’d all have to perform other tasks that increased operational efficiency.
It’s not a stretch to say that there is a high demand for an expense management solution. Using one or a combination of credit cards, debit cards, petty cash, checks, and even gift cards is just not cutting it for your business. Cash is still slipping through the cracks and affecting your bottom line.
That’s where the Bento Prepaid Debit MasterCard for small businesses comes in.
An extremely effective financial solution when it comes to expense management for small business, the Bento Business Prepaid Debit Card lets you control business expenses with ease. User friendly and secure, the Bento card and dashboard make all of your expense management issues a thing of the past.
Control: Using Bento’s automated expense tracking, you control each individual card; who uses it, where they use it, and even what they use it to purchase. You can set individual limits and functions for different cards, so you know exactly where business funds are going. The detailed dashboard lets you track spending and control business expenses, with analytic capabilities that make it quick and effective to analyze individual or total spends and tighten or expand your budgets accordingly, per project, per purpose, or per person.
Efficiency: With expense tags that let you easily separate expenses on the Bento dashboard, the need for expense reports, receipt matching and time-consuming manual reconciliations is rendered obsolete (sure, you can still collect receipts if you so choose). Giving you complete visibility over all company spending, Bento cards are easy to hand out to employees, easy to reload and convenient. You’ll save time and ultimately money because you won’t need to micromanage every step of the expense process, and the Bento tracking solution gives you real-time visibility of each and every card.
Security: The Bento Business Prepaid Debit Card offers so much more security than other methods of controlling business expenses, with real-time alerts that will notify you of any suspicious transactions, plus the ability to set limits and controls so any unauthorized transactions are refused. Employee purchase gets declined – you get an alert. Employee tries to purchase an unauthorized item – you get an alert. All of this means more peace of mind. There’s no need to use your personal credit card for business expenses in an emergency, and the complete removal of credit from the equation means no business owner liability!
If any of the aforementioned items resonate with you and your business, organization or startup, then you might want to consider looking at a solution like Bento for Business. Businesses, nonprofits, and associations of all sizes and in every type of vertical are discovering the control, security and convenience of Bento’s Business Prepaid Debit MasterCard. Start your free 60-day trial today and discover true expense management peace of mind.