Guide to Modern Expense Policies

More often than not, company expenses are handled in a reactive way.

Employees will make a business purchase using personal funds, submit the necessary information to get it approved by finance, and later get reimbursed via payroll. That’s a lot of administrative overhead (and delayed financials).

But you can make life a lot simpler by replacing this reactive approach to company spending with a faster, more proactive one.

With Float, finance teams can issue cards to employees worry-free with $0 card balances and custom limits, and automate company expense policies while gaining full visibility and control over spending.

But first…

What is an expense policy?

An expense policy is a set of guidelines made by a company that clearly identifies acceptable and unacceptable business expenses and the processes for getting them approved and reimbursed. This gives the finance department and administrators the ability to quickly determine the validity of an expense, and gives company spenders a clear understanding of what they can spend on.

Benefits of having expense policies

Expense policies offer a structured and logical way to control company-wide spending. That way, when an expense is rejected or questioned, your expense policy will serve as the final standard for making decisions on approving or rejecting the spend request.

It standardizes the rules for your expense management process, while also helping to prevent non-compliant expenses from being made. It also gives your finance team a gold standard to govern those incoming spend requests and quickly determine what’s acceptable and what’s not.

With everyone aligned on the company spending guidelines, senior management is better able to control costs more efficiently and calculate spending forecasts.

Types of expense policies

Depending on the size of your business and the industry you’re in, your expense policy will differ.

Some companies may have one broad expense policy and others may have multiple expense policies specifically related to travel, entertainment, or departmental expenses.

Typically an expense policy will include:

  • Expense Categories: Different types of expenses that employees can incur, like travel, meals, accommodation, or office supplies.
  • Spending Limits: Clear limits for each expense category, specifying the maximum amount employees can spend without additional approvals.
  • Approval Process: The steps employees must follow to obtain approval before incurring expenses, including any documentation required.
  • Documentation Requirements: The supporting documents, such as receipts or invoices, that employees need to submit along with their expense reports.
  • Reimbursement Procedures: How employees should submit expense reports, including the required forms or software systems.
  • Non-Reimbursable Expenses: Expenses that are not eligible for reimbursement, such as personal expenses, fines, or alcohol.
  • Travel and Accommodation Guidelines: Guidelines for booking flights, hotels, and rental cars, including preferred vendors and any travel-related policies.
  • Expense Audit and Compliance: The process of auditing expense reports and the consequences of non-compliance with the policy.

What’s the downside?

Having guidelines in place is essential to maintain control over employee spending. But more often than not, expense policies become corporate documents buried in a shared drive, which leads to:

  • Complicated and time consuming approval processes
  • Purchases being made that are not compliant with policy
  • Limited visibility into spending
  • High administrative overhead on reimbursements and reconciliations
  • Teams being limited in making purchases necessary to help grow the business

The good news is that Float allows you to implement your company’s spend guidelines directly on Float Cards themselves – ensuring that purchases made on Float Cards are automatically compliant with your company’s expense policies.

Automated expense policies in Float

Float allows you to set boundaries for corporate spending directly on Float Cards themselves, with automated rules for transactions that reflect your company’s expense guidelines.

So every time a company employee makes a purchase on a Float Card, our intelligent software will determine if the transaction complies and automatically prompt cardholders to upload receipts and expense information as soon as a transaction is made.

Contrary to traditional teams where only a limited few hold business credit cards (and share them), Float allows company’s to issue Float Cards to all team members, worry-free, with real-time visibility and control over company-wide spend.

Here’s how:

✅ Approve spend before it happens

Multi-level Approval policies based on your company’s organization structure lets employees easily request to make a purchase from managers (with an audit trail).

🤖 Automatically collect receipts and GL codes

Submission Policies let you define the information employees are required to submit with each transaction, like receipts and GL codes, and will pause cards without them.

🛡️ Protect your company from unauthorized spend

Individual card controls like Merchant Controls let you restrict spending at certain merchant categories and custom Recurring and Temporary limits ensure your company doesn’t get overcharged.

📉 Get insights into your cash flow

Float’s Reporting feature provides a real-time overview of company spending with insights into who is spending what.

Want to learn more about Canada’s smartest corporate cards and business spend software? Get our Spend Management Guide at the link below.

Login to Float to implement your company’s expense policies, or Book a demo today to experience simplified business spending.

How Klue Found Its Way to Better Spending

We sat down with Adrian Pape, Klue’s VP of Finance, to discuss the company’s experience with Float over the last year. Klue’s software combines the best of competitive intelligence and revenue enablement — giving their clients a leg up through advanced market and competitive insights. When it came to their finances, Klue needed a change, especially after facing regular issues of fraud, blocked credit cards, unauthorized purchases and more. Here’s what Adrian had to say.

Q1: How did you hear about Float?

I found Float after doing a bit of my own research. Eventually, I met with Shawn and watched some pre-recorded demos of the platform. In terms of customer care and service, the standard Shawn set was a cut above. As it turned out, Float (called Journal at the time) was exactly what we were looking for. Plus, the 1% cashback was definitely something that caught our eye.

Q2: Before Float, what did company spending and expense management look like?

We had roughly 13 corporate credit cards — seven American cards and six Canadian. During that time, our credit cards were constantly being blocked. Employees who didn’t have corporate credit cards were filling out reimbursement forms and uploading receipts. As you can imagine, correctly capturing tax information from those receipts was a headache. There was probably between $10,000 and $20,000 of accumulated GST from old expense reports that fell through the cracks.

Credit cards in our company were scattered everywhere and there was a slew of unidentifiable charges on these cards. Finding out who they were from or what they were for took days, if not weeks.”

There were also a few instances of external fraud. Because all the cards had been compromised at one point or another, 13 new cards had to be issued, with each and every connection having to be re-established using a new credit card number. We had no control over who was adding recurring charges to cards and there was no visibility or accountability. Essentially, no one knew who was spending what because the cards were used so often – it was a significant challenge. 🤯

Q3: What are the biggest pain points that Float solved for your business?

At the time, we didn’t have someone dedicated to looking after payroll – so I had  taken on the responsibility in the interim. On top of my primary responsibilities, I had to review and import expense reports and keep track of 150+ people who needed to be reimbursed. Since implementing Float, the burden is a lot smaller. At Klue, we have established a strong culture of trust and transparency, so it’s been a nice perk to be able to set up virtual cards for employees and give them the freedom to make business-related purchases. Another huge advantage for us is the SMS receipt capture feature. 🤳🏾 ​​It allows our employees to submit their receipts in real-time directly through Float using their smartphone. 

“It gives us greater control because we’re able to monitor company spending, easily approve purchase requests, and Float reminds employees to submit their receipts on time.”

Float also saves our employees time since the last thing they want to do at the end of the month or year is dig out and submit hundreds of receipts. Instead, it gets it done in the moment and is off their plate, which many of them appreciate.

Q4: What features were the most useful to you and your team?

“Float’s Quickbooks integration allows us to seamlessly connect to our chart of accounts and retrieve and update our tax codes – no problem!” 

With the QB feature, we no longer have to waste time producing expense reports. It’s as easy as reviewing the tax figures, allocating the expense, and clicking Export to Quickbooks – then Float takes care of the rest! 🤩I would also say that being able to give non-managers and non-finance employees access to an individual corporate credit card with a pre-approved limit has been great for our team. 💳  It’s eliminated a lot of the complication and mess we were previously experiencing with unauthorized purchases and poor spend visibility.

Q5: How did your finance and operations team respond to implementing Float?

The crew was ecstatic that it all worked out. 👏🏼 Buying software is always a little frightening but after a couple of demos, and working with the Float team, we were up and running pretty quick. We also have a Float x Klue Slack channel where Float employees can read our threads and listen to what’s going on. Every now and then, we will tag their team and share any key concerns and the team is incredibly responsive and helpful. 

Q6: What advice would you give to other companies considering Float?

Don’t hesitate and get started right away. 🙌🏽  It’s quick, saves a lot of time, and the onboarding process is straightforward and easy. And the best part is that the Float team is right there with you at every step. They’re always taking our ideas and needs into account and continually looking for ways to better support us. 

About Klue

Klue provides a lens into your competitor’s world, continuously updating and connecting the dots to help you win more business. It’s a new way to capture, manage, and communicate market insights from the web and across the company, in the platforms you already use.

Dynamic Duo: Submission and Approval Policies

Fact: Expense policies aren’t always the easiest for employees to understand or follow. From chasing people down for receipts to reconciling transactions for days on end, it’s no wonder the finance team limits corporate spending to a select few.

Plot twist. Float’s about to change the game.

Float allows you to set boundaries for corporate spending directly on Float Cards themselves, with automated rules for transactions that reflect your company’s expense guidelines.

Our new Submission Policies feature lets you create custom policies by expense type and select which transaction information employees are required to submit after a purchase is made, like receipts and accounting codes.

Paired with Float’s multi-level Approval Policies, that allow you to automatically route spend requests to dynamic manager roles and individuals, this unstoppable duo automates and digitizes your company’s expense policies.

Available to Professional users, Admins can create unlimited Submission and Approval Policies that reflect internal company guidelines around corporate spending – such as travel, work from home benefits and entertainment policies. Or, keep things simple with a single Default policy to apply company-wide.

How It Works

Employees request to make a purchase directly in Float, either as a Temporary limit increase for a purchase on an existing card or a new virtual card for a vendor or one-time purchase. Managers are then alerted via email or Slack to approve, edit, or deny the request. If approved, the Spender is notified immediately of their new card details.

When a cardholder makes a purchase on their Float Card, they will be instantly reminded via text, Slack, or email, to upload their receipt along with the information your company requires, like vendors, GL codes, or purchase descriptions. Event better? You can limit the information each cardholder sees when submitting their expense so it’s easy for them to code it themselves.

Float’s new Submission Policies paired with our Approval Policies’ multi-level approval flows make managing team spending a breeze by:

💳 Empowering employees to comply with spending policies

Float allows you to set boundaries for corporate spending with automated rules for transactions that reflect your company’s expense guidelines. You can also define what information is required under specific policies, including receipts and accounting codes. 

🙌🏻 Making month-end a breeze for your finance team 

Float lets you apply specific GL codes to transactions, while encouraging spenders to categorize their transactions so your finance team doesn’t have to. Finance teams no longer have to chase employees down or search for missing information for hundreds of expenses.

If you’re interested in learning more about Float’s complete business spend management solution, check out our Guide to Spend Management.

Excited to see how this new feature works? Login to create your Submission Policies or book a demo with us today!