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Multi-National T&E Card Programs – Achieving Global Scale and Local Flexibility

Recently, a Peeriosity member company launched a poll question within the Corporate Card research area targeted to the Corporate Card Managers from global organizations. The question turned into some great collaboration on best practices to attain the objectives of global scale for cost benefits, as well as to preserve the flexibility to maintain or enhance service levels within each country.

What became clear was that many organizations are working toward achieving the dual goals of global standards and increased scale coupled with service flexibility to meet cultural and statutory country standards. Unfortunately, the challenges associated with such an endeavor can be significant.

The starting point for most companies was to look to their  Shared Services (or Global Business Services) organization to lead the effort. Working with the corporate Treasury function, the initial objective was to find a common global card provider. In most instances, they were successful in that regard. Beyond that, the objective of standardization varied as the poll below suggests:

poll results on importance of standardization beyond a common card provider T&E card programs

One representative comment from a member:

“Shared Services leads this initiative. We have one global travel policy supplemented by local addendums to provide consistency and fairness across functions and regions. We have a very global business and there needs to be a base level of guidelines that are followed.”

A great deal of discussion (and some frustration) at not only the lack of uniformity across the globe in meeting country requirements but a general lack of reference information that a global card manager can access in implementing a multi-country program and platform. Overwhelmingly, company card managers relied on internal resources for appropriate information beyond the basic card usage terms.

results poll on the best source of info regarding the country's regulatory and cultural issues

The role of administering a multi-country card program is challenging in that there are multiple touchpoints to coordinate in implementing a global program as this member from a Shared Services organization that coordinates their program from regional Shared Services centers, pointed out:

“Utilization of your company experts in tax, accounting, legal, and treasury functions is critical, especially from the local country. The card providers are not uniformly global and even with a global program, support comes from multiple sources.”

The online collaboration continued with a discussion of how organizations were changing their liability policies with the transition to a single card solution. The use of a single card for both travel and procurement (also known as a “One Card”) continues to gain in popularity and is sometimes included as part of the global card program. Some new trends are emerging in the pay/liability policies of companies as well as tools used to track employee card use and identify fraud.

Within the Peeriosity Corporate Card research area, what started as a simple question about global card programs escalated into a full collaboration among some of the leading experts globally in card management.  It all took place within hours giving members great insights directly from their peers on the status of their global card initiatives and trends in corporate card management.

How is your Shared Services organization maximizing your card programs globally while insuring local flexibility?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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