Can academia staff and educators benefit from corporate cards?

Apr 05, 2024

Just like employees of any other business, academia staff and educators from a college or university might also need to make purchases on behalf of their organization. There can be a variety of reasons behind why they might need to make such purchases.

There might be staff lunches, student trips, visiting faculty meals, traveling lecturers, purchase of academic equipment such as books and stationery and so much more.

Traditionally, academic staff and educators would have to pay for such expenses with their own money and then get the amount reimbursed from their university, school, or college.

However, we live in the era of corporate cards. There are several benefits of corporate cards for academia staff and educators. Not only normal business employees but academia staff and educators can also enjoy the benefits of corporate cards.

What are corporate cards?

Generally speaking, corporate cards are cards issued by companies to their employees to make purchases on behalf of the business.

These cards are issued by companies to employees to prevent them from spending money out of their own pockets while making business purchases.

Traditionally, employees would have to use their own money to make purchases on behalf of their company and then follow a long and tedious reimbursement process to get their money back.

The introduction of corporate cards as a payment tool has eliminated the need for employees to go through the long and arduous process of reimbursement settlement.

These cards can be used like any other card at POS machines, online marketplaces, and more. Using corporate cards makes it much easier for both employees and business owners to manage their expenses.

These cards typically come linked with expense management software that comes equipped with a host of features that make expense management simple and easy.

Pitfalls of manual expense management for universities

Managing paper invoices

Universities, just like any other business, also have to deal with their vendors and suppliers. This means they also have to deal with invoices and invoice payments.

Now, if a university is using a manual expense management system these invoices will typically be paper-based invoices. Paper invoices are far from being the most efficient form of invoices.

They are susceptible to errors, misplacement, and even damage. Moreover, processing paper invoices can be a nightmare for finance teams. Manual processing of paper invoices takes up a lot of time as well as money.

Manual data entry

If a university is still using the traditional, manual form of expense management then there is likely to be a lot of manual data entry required.

This means that at various parts of the expense management process information will have to be physically entered into the system by employees and finance teams.

Manual data entry is not the most accurate form of recording information, regardless of which system it is being used in. This is because manual data entry is highly susceptible to human errors.

Wrongly recorded information may lead to duplicate payments, incorrect payment amounts and so much more. Additionally, not only is manual data entry prone to errors but it is also extremely time-consuming.

Tedious expense reporting process

Another pitfall of the manual expense management system is the expense reporting process. If the university in question is using a manual expense management system it means that expense reports have to be created manually.

Finance teams have to painstakingly go through each expense made by university employees and manually create an itemized and categorized list of expenses that were made on behalf of the university.

Not only is this process extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming but it can also be prone to errors due to the high level of human involvement required.

Expense data reconciliation

Reconciling expense data with a manual expense management system can take up a lot of your finance teams’ time as well as resources.

The process of expense data reconciliation involves making sure that all the business expenses made by an organization, in reality, match those that were recorded in its internal accounts.

The organization here would be a university and the ones in charge of reconciling expenses would be the university’s finance team.

Doing this manually would mean that your finance teams have to undergo a laborious process of verifying and matching each expense made by university employees.

Imagine doing this for a whole organization, it would take a significant amount of time as well as effort.

Delays in reimbursement

The fact that a manual expense management system is highly time-consuming is well established. The turnaround time from submitting a claim to settling the reimbursement is much longer than it should be.

This is because manually going through all the steps of an expense management process is laborious and requires finance teams to jump through a lot of hoops.

Delays caused by manual practices become even worse when there are errors or mistakes, it prolongs the delays further making the reimbursement process slow and inefficient.

Get corporate cards to manage your business expense with ease

How corporate cards can simplify expense reporting for academic staff?

1. Eliminates paper receipts

With a traditional, manual expense management system universities would have to deal with huge amounts of paper receipts, bills, and invoices.

These are not always the most ideal forms of payment proofs because they are susceptible to loss, damage, and errors. One of the major benefits of corporate cards is that they help eliminate the need for such physical forms of purchase proofs.

Academic staff can simply make purchases using their corporate card and the expense details will be recorded automatically.

They can even attach digital copies or photos of the receipts, bills, or invoices to the expense management system linked to these cards.

2. Limits overspending

Another one of the most prominent benefits of corporate cards is that these cards work as excellent tools for limiting overspending.

With earlier forms of expense reporting academic staff would have to spend out of their pocket and there was no way of ensuring that their expenses won’t go over a certain limit.

With corporate cards, however, you can set limits on how much can be spent using each card. This ensures that not a single penny is spent over the employee’s allocated budget.

3. Manage and track all the expenses in one place

Using corporate cards to make purchases on behalf of a university makes it much easier to manage and track all expenses.

This is primarily because corporate cards typically come linked with expense management software that gives real-time updates on university spending behavior.

As soon as an expense is made using a university corporate card that expense gets logged into the system automatically. Supervisors, managers, or other superiors can use this software to easily track and manage how company money is being spent.

4. Easy reconciliation

Corporate cards also make it much easier for finance teams to reconcile expenses.

With a manual expense management system, they would have to painstakingly match expense report records with internal accounts records to ensure the recorded expenses were made.

With corporate cards, however, this process can be pretty much fully automated. Expenses are automatically recorded and reconciled by the expense management software linked with corporate cards.

5. Real-time visibility

With traditional forms of expense management you would typically have to wait for the end of a month to get the full picture of how money is being spent by your academic staff.

However, this problem gets solved as soon as you shift to corporate cards. This is because corporate card expenses are logged and recorded in real-time.

The software that comes linked with these cards gets updated as soon as an expense is made, in real-time.

This means you get immediate updates and data on how university money is being spent. You no longer have to wait till the end of the month for this information.

6. Simplified expense reporting

Given that expenses made using corporate cards get logged and recorded automatically, in real-time, the process of creating expense reports also becomes much easier.

Many software that corporate cards come equipped with is designed to automatically create expense reports for you.

This software automatically pulls recorded expense data and draws up thorough and accurate expense reports. All you need to do is click a few buttons.

Switch to Volopay cards for a simplified expense management process

Need a corporate card to manage and streamline your university’s spending activity?

Look no further. Volopay is a comprehensive expense management solution that comes with highly advanced and easy-to-use corporate cards for your university. 

Using Volopay you can automate your expense management processes from start to finish. You can issue Volopay corporate cards in both physical as well as virtual forms.

The best part is that you can issue an unlimited number of virtual corporate cards with Volopay completely free of cost. You can use these cards to manage subscriptions, as gift or burner cards, and so much more.

Volopay cards also come equipped with highly customizable internal controls and approval systems that help you manage how money is being spent.

Additionally, expenses made with Volopay cards get logged into the Volopay software. With this software, you can easily manage and monitor expenses, create expense reports, reconcile expenses, and sync your transaction details with accounting software!

Empower your team with smarter corporate cards from Volopay