Guides and reports

Everything you need to know about expense management

Discover how a new way of issuing cards offers consistent experiences without a complex multi-party setup.

April 30, 2024
 ·  6 minutes

Businesses and their employees often see expense management as a burden, consisting of manual work and time spent on reporting expenses instead of driving value for the business.

Expense management and employee benefit solutions can streamline traditional expense processes, such as approvals, invoicing, and reporting. However, certain parts of these processes are still done manually, taking up a lot of time from the business and their employees.

If you’re offering an expense management or employee benefits solution, you’re probably always looking for new ways to make business expenses and benefits as easy as possible for your customers and their employees. 

By adding card issuing to your offering, you can provide your customers with physical or virtual cards that their employees can use for company-related expenses. This automates the expense management process and eliminates the need for manual work.

This guide explains how to set up a card program and how it benefits your business, customers, and their employees. You’ll also discover a new way of issuing that integrates all expense management processes into one solution without third parties, increasing speed to market, reducing the risk of errors, and ensuring a consistent card experience everywhere.

Benefits of card issuing

Adding card issuing to your offering will benefit everyone involved in the expense process, including employees, your customers, and ultimately your business. 

For employees

The expense process usually involves a lot of manual work. Employees need to spend their own money upfront, save receipts, submit expense reports, and wait days, if not weeks, to get reimbursed. When employees spend time on manual expense management, they have less time to do work that drives value for the business.

By issuing virtual or physical cards to employees for business expenses or other employee benefits, you can make the expense process as simple as any other payment experience. Your customers can pre-fund and set spending controls on the cards so their employees don’t need to spend their money upfront and worry about what they can and can’t buy. All the card data will automatically flow into your system, so employees don’t need to save the receipts and report their expenses later, saving them a lot of time and energy.

For your customers

Dealing with expenses is time-consuming for your customers. Even after spending hours creating guidelines to simplify the process, their employees may still need guidance on how to submit expenses, what they can expense, and how to upload receipts.

Once the employees submit the expense report, your customers must review, approve, and process the expenses. Managers need to review every expense report and resolve disputes when mistakes happen. Time is money, and since businesses spend significant time on manual expense management, it can be considered an expensive process. 

A card issuing program allows your customers to set spending controls based on location, time, and types of businesses. They can apply these preset rules at the management, department, or employee level. This automates expense approvals in real-time and removes the need to approve each expense report manually. There’s no need for reimbursements since the cards are linked to the company’s funds and the process is done as soon as the expense is made.

For your business

You know your customers better than anyone when it comes to expense management and employee benefits. By building on that knowledge and offering a custom card experience, you can truly cater to their needs. Offering a solution that streamlines expense reporting will give them more time to spend on driving value for their business, improving the experience for your customers and their employees. 

Card issuing is another way to grow your business besides new customer acquisition. Your business receives part of the interchange fee, opening up a new revenue stream.

Staying competitive is central to your success as an expense management or employee benefits company. Offering tailored experiences for your customers and creating a seamless process for expense management is key to driving value. But finding the right provider and card program that works for your business can be challenging, especially if you're operating in or scaling to other regions.

Setting up a card program

To get the most out of your card program, it needs to be done right. Choosing the wrong setup for your business can result in unexpected costs and risks. 

In the past, setting up a card program meant getting the right licenses, finding a processor, and working with card networks. Now there’s a new way of issuing cards that does all of this for you and allows you to get started quickly. Before we dive into that, let’s look at the most common setups.

Processor only

With the processor-only setup, the provider is only responsible for processing card payments. You manage your card issuing program and all the partnerships involved. This requires a lot of time and resources from your business as you need to find your bank partner, manage the approval of the card program with the bank and card networks, and ensure compliance. 

Dealing with multiple parties makes moving quickly and expanding to new markets difficult since each provider has different ways of integrating. If you're dealing with different providers for each region, offering the same experience everywhere can be challenging. Even when you successfully develop this complex multi-party setup, there may still be delays in cash flow and reporting.

Program managed

With this setup, the provider is responsible for your card program and the partnerships involved. This removes some of the complexity of managing a card program, helping you save time and resources. However, since multiple parties are involved, there’s still a risk of errors, slower speed to market, and difficulty in ensuring the same experience everywhere. This is because the more third parties you tie together in a solution, the more links you create to the chain of operation. If one link breaks, the whole chain could crash. Breaking down could happen for many reasons, like a technical error, one of the third parties going out of business, or downtime. So the provider in this setup has little control when fixing the situation.

Create ideal experiences with a new way of issuing

As an expense management or employee benefits business, your focus should be to provide the highest level of service to your customers instead of managing a range of different integrations and contracts to keep your card offering operational. 

With Adyen, there’s only one party involved. You only need one agreement and integration to launch a program and add cards to your offering. We manage every aspect of the card issuing solution for you in-house without any complex setups consisting of third parties and external contracts. This simplifies launching your card program, eliminates the need for manual work, and reduces the risk of errors. 

With a provider that manages every part of the card issuing process, you’ll have more time to focus on driving value for your business and customers. We asked Jim Warner, SVP and COO at Centrip, about their experience with this setup:

With Adyen, you can also launch a virtual-only card program so employees can pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay instead of a physical card. This is a fast and cost-efficient process and a great way to pilot a card program.

Scaling your card setup

Once you've launched or enhanced your card program to cater perfectly to your customers' needs, you might want to expand and maintain the same exceptional standards across all regions.

At Adyen, we offer a comprehensive solution for card issuing. Since we build everything in-house and don't rely on third parties, you can expand to other markets quickly and ensure the experience is the same everywhere. 

We can issue cards in all European Economic Area countries, the US, and the UK since we have full banking licenses in most of these markets. Employees can use their cards in any country where Visa or Mastercard is accepted. And we provide a wide range of currencies across regions and cover other currencies with Foreign Exchange services.

Adyen is the only financial technology provider that is a licensed issuer and acquirer offering a true end-to-end payment setup that is fully built in-house. This allows you to expand and accept online payments and go beyond issuing to provide other financial products, such as capital or accounts.

Are you ready to enhance your expense management offering with a new way of issuing? 

Learn more or contact sales to receive a demo.

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