• Play the efficiency card


    With ambitious spending reduction targets to meet, companies are looking for innovative card solutions to bring greater efficiency to their purchase-to-pay cycle. ALLISTER MITCHELL, Head of Virtual and Emerging Products at Lloyds Bank, discusses the latest developments in this space.

    Today, cards are no longer ‘just a piece of plastic’ – they are a strategic tool for improving a company’s cash flow, as well as managing payments and expenses more cost effectively and efficiently. And at a time when finance departments are being measured against ever tighter performance criteria, the right card payment solution can deliver significant benefits, and even competitive advantages.


    But as more companies embrace cards for procurement and travel spend, and legacy card programmes start to show their age, corporates are rightly demanding increasingly sophisticated solutions. Not only do companies now require corporate card programmes with higher global acceptance levels, they are also looking for solutions that can deliver even greater depth of management information (MI) for enhanced insight and control – and provide further efficiencies around automation of finance processes.


    Compliance with expense policies and control over employee spend are also front of mind. These require a complete picture of the company’s spend, and therefore, a system that can provide real-time, detailed access to employee transactions, allowing the rapid identification of spend outside of company policy. By ensuring goods and services are only purchased from approved suppliers, corporates can secure significant discounts. Moreover, this holistic approach also helps functional areas to work together to meet finance and sourcing objectives.


    At Lloyds Bank, we have combined all of these requirements into an innovative, easy-to-use solution for our customers. Taking efficiencies to the next level, Corporate MultiPay combines the functionality of a T&E and procurement card into a single, integrated solution – with one payment card for all expenditure and one platform to access consolidated MI. This gives customers a clear, unified overview of their company spend, providing full transparency and enabling control of expenditure to be achieved.


    In addition, the solution can help deliver significant efficiencies in areas such as VAT and expense administration as both can be automated. This means that resources in functional areas can be redeployed to more value-added activities and error rates can be significantly reduced.  In turn, this leads to improved management of the company’s overall payments process, which can translate to significant cost and process efficiencies.


    The potential cash flow benefits of the Corporate MultiPay solution can also contribute to improved corporate performance. Looking at procurement for example, the supplier typically receives funds from the Bank as quickly as three days after purchase, and the business has up to 45 days’ interest free credit on that purchase.


    Elsewhere, the Corporate MultiPay account is being further enhanced through innovation in virtual payments. With no need to issue plastic cards and no credit limit allocated to individual employees, this solution offers guaranteed payment for a single transaction.


    In summary, any company seeking to make further improvements in its purchase-to-pay cycle may wish to take another look at card payments. The potential benefits extend beyond increased efficiency, control, compliance and visibility through to enhanced supplier relationships and improved cash flow. Ultimately, these benefits can contribute very positively to the company’s overall performance.

12/3/2020 7:13:03 AM