This blog first appeared on the Corcentric blog.
Instituting a P-Card program doesn’t eliminate paper…unless you integrate it with an AP automation solution.
P-Cards have proven tremendously popular with companies when it comes to their indirect spend…so popular that many companies are now using P-Cards for larger purchases, in order to get larger rebates. But when it comes to the financial back-office, there’s still the recurring issue of getting the actual receipts and backup documentation on a timely basis from those who made the purchases. Yes, the bank will issue an overall monthly statement listing all purchases on the P-card account, but someone within the company is still going to be responsible for collecting those receipts and statements for audit purposes.
Unless, that is, your company has implemented a highly configurable AP automation solution; one that can automate the P-Card process of sending out electronic statements and collecting required receipts. In this situation, mapping of the electronic P-Card statements occurs up front between the issuing P-Card bank and the AP solution provider. Once that’s completed, an EDI file feed of the monthly statement goes from the bank directly into the automated AP system. Then, using its own pre-determined parameters, the system breaks up the statement by individual user to show the line item purchases. Users can then upload their scanned receipts to the electronic P-Card statement within the automation solution. Gone is the receiving of paper receipts with the ink wearing away so the transaction information is illegible. Gone is the need to track down or replace lost receipts. It’s difficult to chase employees who make these purchases after the fact, just to get them to send in their receipts. However, if everything is self-contained and visible within an automation system, if there is connectivity between the system and the bank, then those employees’ requirements to submit receipts on a timely basis are streamlined.
The benefits of this go well beyond convenience. By integrating your P-Card program into your AP automation solution, you put controls in place. And that means that when it comes to audits, all of those receipts required for audits are easily at hand and accessible in the system. It’s important to make sure the AP automation solution you’re either seeking to implement, or the one you’re currently, using has the ability to easily integrate your P-Card processing; that the function is easy to use; and that it actually allows for attaching images of receipts to the individual purchaser charges. Your financial back office will thank you.