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If your organization has more than one employee, and those employees travel or make purchases for the company on their personal credit cards, you need a credit card reimbursement policy. Credit card reimbursement policies allow you to determine what expenses will be repaid, set a cap on expenditures and inform employees of how the reimbursement process works.
Determine Whether Pre-approval Is Needed
Reimbursing employee credit card expenditures can be a budget nightmare if human resources and accounting have no idea what kind of charges to expect. Requiring pre-approval for some or all credit card expenditures can eliminate sticker shock during reconciliation of credit card reimbursement charges. Travel or expense authorization forms and purchase orders can help managers stop unauthorized spending, while helping human resources and accounting get a ballpark idea of the costs that will be reimbursed.
Set Expenditure Limits
Capping credit card reimbursements by setting limits for expenditures is another way that credit card reimbursement policies can help prevent budget woes. Setting spending limits for meals, hotels and entertainment will keep travel reimbursements in check, while reimbursements for services or materials should be controlled through purchase orders or pre-authorization. Standard allowances for meals, for example, can eliminate the need for employees to turn in receipts, and are helpful for organizations that process a great deal of reimbursements.
Define What Expenses Will Be Reimbursed
Any credit card reimbursement policy should clearly define what expenses will be reimbursed. While food, travel and lodging costs are standard costs for reimbursement, company culture may dictate other costs that are subject to reimbursement, such as costs to entertain clients, including or excluding alcoholic beverages and laundry service for extended business trips. Your policy should define what costs can be reimbursed, and when, to avoid employee abuse of expense accounts.
Determine What Is Needed to Substantiate Reimbursement
Reimbursement of employee credit card charges can quickly become problematic for accounting and human resources if the reimbursement policy does not determine what documentation is required. While some companies rely on individual receipts, others use emailed receipts or annotated copies of credit card statements, or set standard allowances for most reimbursable expenses to avoid excess paperwork altogether. The volume of reimbursements your organization deals with should dictate your policy.
A writer and information professional, J.E. Cornett has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master of Science in library and information science from the University of Kentucky. A former newspaper reporter with two Kentucky Press Association awards to her credit, she has over 10 years experience writing professionally.