A Quick Guide to Leveling Up Your Corporate Expense Policy in 2022
If your company hasn't made any changes to its corporate card expense policy in the last couple of years, there's no better time than the start of a new year.
In addition to sweeping internal developments caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the continuing shifts in global workforce trends mean that the guidelines that worked for your company several years ago may not align with its needs today. Updating your policy will also reduce confusion for your employees during an already-tumultuous time, free up bandwidth for your finance and management teams, and keep costs down for your organization.
So, if you're ready to revamp your corporate expense policy for 2022, here are 5 considerations to keep in mind. We also offer an extensive expense policy guide to help you think through the process in greater detail.
Five tips for updating your corporate expense policy
1. Take stock of relevant internal and external changes
Before you start, note any changes within your organization that may affect employee purchases and expense reporting. For instance, if your company recently transitioned to remote or hybrid work, consider how that affects your approval workflow and employee needs. Other things to keep in mind include recent changes to federal, state, and local legislation and tax guidelines.
2. Ask for feedback from your organization
Convoluted or overly-detailed policies make it difficult for employees and managers to follow them. So as you refresh your expense guidelines, now's an ideal time to address any issues or bottlenecks your original policy had.
Ask your employees, managers, company leaders, and finance team members for input on where the policy can be improved. Make it a point to request feedback on your updated policy so you can understand its feasibility in real life. Some questions to ask your colleagues include:
- What works well? What do you have trouble with?
- Are any guidelines or processes overly complicated or time-consuming?
- Are there any areas where the language could be made simpler?
3. Redefine your spending guidelines
Chances are, your employee expenses today look very different from what they looked like a few years ago. You'll want to reassess each expense category and clarify which purchases are allowable, which are okay only under certain circumstances, and which ones are out-of-policy.
Take into account the costs that remote and hybrid employees incur as a result of working from home. This includes items like internet service, landlines, cell phones, laptops, monitors, desks, chairs, office supplies, cables, software subscriptions, and meal stipends. Decide which expenses, if any, your company will cover—and be specific on who this applies for, which card to use, and how long these guidelines will last.
4. Adjust approvals and spend controls
Now that you've laid the foundation for your company's expense protocols, you'll want to revise your spend policies accordingly. Update your approval workflows and employee spend controls based on the information you've gathered in the previous steps. Brex virtual cards come with custom limits and lock-dates for each user, while our software easily allows you to enforce your expense rules and manage employee expense limits.
5. Consider incorporating expense management software into your finance ecosystem
Compared to paper processes, software programs like Brex which feature automated workflows simplify expense management for distributed finance teams. Not only does automation reduce the chances of costly human errors, but it also takes a load off of your employees so they can focus on high-value tasks instead. The Brex mobile app also allows your employees to report and track expenses from wherever they are—not just the office.
Next steps for your new and improved expense policy
Once you complete your expense policy, communicate the changes to your company and offer a way for employees to get in touch with any questions they have. If you're not sure what information to include in this message, you can use the example email in our corporate card expense policy template and tweak it for your needs.
Our in-depth guide also offers additional suggestions for those who want to make the most out of their expense policy, as well as guided questions to ensure you don't miss any crucial details. All in all, it's a useful resource for business owners who need to draw up a policy for the first time, seasoned finance decision-makers, and everyone in between.
Now that you've gone through the process of leveling up your policy for the year ahead, make sure to conduct regular reviews to stay updated with local laws and internal changes. Because the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way your company operates, it's important that your spend guidelines reflect this new state of work too.