In the previous article of our work-from-home series, we focused on business expenses, reimbursements, and individual success. In this article, we focus on specific card program management and procurement challenges that can arise when working from home — and how they can be overcome.
In work as in life, everyone can become very accustomed to their routines, including program administrators and procurement professionals. From that first cup of coffee in the morning to cardholder training sessions that take place every Wednesday afternoon, behavior patterns become a part of one’s life at the office.
A common daily routine for procurement teams or administration is card program management. Often, card managers and administrators have developed habits and strategies that help them succeed in their work settings. However, as many organizations have implemented working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, the strategies and tips management relied on in the past are no longer applicable.
Other departments, not just procurement, are working in a new environment with different obstacles and distractions, and they, too, can’t rely on their typical strategies. As a result, working from home might be challenging at first for any employee. However, with every new challenge, card managers and administrators in particular must explore and apply the best possible solutions, as quickly as possible, to avoid any loss in productivity.
The biggest challenges facing management while working from home
Here are the biggest challenges that card administrators or anyone handling program management could face while getting acclimated to the new normal of working from home.
- Digitizing the paper process: With most organizations now working remotely and staff members not physically able to review paper receipts, transitioning to a digital option will become necessary. It could also be burdensome, especially if your company previously worked only with paper receipts.
- Updating policy: New policies that consider and reflect remote working situations will need to be drafted and implemented.
- Remotely training cardholders: With employees now working from home, training cardholders can no longer take place in person. An online option will have to be developed and then delivered.
- Communication: Communication is the backbone of card management — and even more so during a time when changes in the workplace are happening so rapidly. As such, card managers need to communicate any changes that occur within the program’s policies and procedures in a timely fashion, in order for card programs to remain successful.
- Managing risk: Even though your workplace moved, the risk to your card program isn’t going anywhere. Reviews for risks such as fraud and abuse are as necessary as ever, especially given any changes in policies and procedures. However, if reviews were handled — either partially or as a whole — via manual means in the past, they will now require a completely digital solution.
- Handling reimbursements and reducing spend: Working remotely doesn’t just mean a new work environment. It also means the very real possibility of new and atypical types of expenditures. It’s important to anticipate what those expenses might be during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. A plan then needs to be developed to deal with any additional costs and, if possible, reduce costs. Furthermore, card managers will need to change how they report and communicate that spend to other departments. To learn more about this, check out our article on the subject: Handling Business Expenses and Reimbursements While Employees Work from Home.
How to overcome these challenges
Once your organization identifies its work-from-home challenges, consider the following strategies to create and implement the best solutions.
One of the most important ways to ensure the success of teams during this time is to keep communication flowing as freely as possible between employees. This could include daily team calls or online meetings, so that all employees are informed of any necessary information and to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s also great way to check in with co-workers to see how they are doing and to find out exactly what support they might need at this time.
Brainstorming and other similar sessions that allow employees to think outside of the box are very useful for many businesses. While working from home, it might seem that these sessions would be impossible. However, technology exists that employees can utilize to reach out to their co-workers as needed and create such opportunities — albeit in a more virtual way. For example, individuals can use Microsoft Teams while working on a task or project to allow for quick communication until the tasks are completed. Then, employees can use phone calls or meetings for discussions that require more time.
With employees now working from home, the need for processes to be “virtual” takes priority. The business buzz word of COVID-19 has become “pivot”: Organizations need to turn things around and transform our business world, as quickly and easily as possible, into a work-from-home environment. However, digitizing systems that were once based extensively on paper is not a quick-and-easy task.
Typically, procurement and finance departments already work with banks that offer at least some basic digital solutions. But digitizing card management while in a work-from-home environment needs to go much further than those services. Consider taking the following actions, which might go beyond what your banks offer:
- Capture physical receipts digitally, via scanning or camera snapshots. Validation and management of those receipts can then be handled by Card Integrity’s Receipt-Wise and Data-Wise services.
- Place your policies and procedures on an intranet site as an online reference for your cardholders.
- Hold one-on-one or small group training via online meeting rooms, such as Zoom. For larger groups, refresher training, or to supplement one-on-one training — or to simply get training off your plate — consider Card Integrity’s online training solution, Training-Wise.
- Set up a digital review process to reconcile transactions, look for proper documentation, or handle unauthorized purchases. But don’t climb the uphill battle of spreading a complex, in-office system across multiple employee homes. Instead, consider a central hub for handling your reviews such as going with Card Integrity. It’s within the review process of managing a card program where Card Integrity shines.
How Card Integrity can help support program management
There’s no doubt about it — we are living in times unprecedented to most of us. Remote work challenges are real, they are large, and they can overwhelm a business.
But it’s exactly these types of challenges that our services were developed to solve. In fact, you could rightly say that Card Integrity was made for this kind of change.
Our Data-Wise solution is designed to take on the digital nature of this new work-from-home reality. It provides you with everything you need to make your card management successful, even while your organization is remote.
To help with the transition from paper to digital receipts, consider our Receipt-Wise solution. Card Integrity can help you move to a digital system that might mean a positive difference in your future card management as well as your present situation. We then validate and track those digital receipts in a way that translates into better security, less fraud, more compliance, and more savings for your card program, both now and later down the line.
As for cardholder training, Card Integrity’s Training-Wise program is built specifically to educate employees and communicate your card policies and procedures via online methods. You will know — remotely — who trained, when they trained, and if they trained successfully.
With the help of our services, Card Integrity can be an integral part of your organization’s success while your employees work from home.
Visit our website to learn more about each service solution:
- Learn more about Data-Wise, our primary service to monitor expense data.
- Take a look at Receipt-Wise for validating digital receipts.
- Need to take all your training online? Read more about our Training-Wise service.
- Contact Card Integrity about any of our solutions, designed to help your organization work better at home, or give us a call today at 630-501-1507 and speak to a representative about improvements for your card program.