Most of the credit card related articles on this site address plastic being held for personal use. However, we’ve got to acknowledge that a great many people also have access to business credit cards related to their work.
Obviously, the rules remains more or less the same, only with one major issue: While money you spend on a personal credit card is your own (temporarily loaned to you by the card operator until you pay it off), a company credit card is not and never will be your money. That means you’ve got to be particularly careful with how you use it.
The number one rule is no different to the number one rule for personal credit cards: Pay off your entire bill every month. Always start with a clean slate every month, whether it’s you responsible for paying off the debt or your employer. Adding interest payments to your credit card spend is not clever, and will result in awkward questions from your boss.
This leads to rule number two: Bugdet. Once again, not terribly different from using your own credit card, but never spend more than you or the company can afford to pay back. It’s easy to let your corporate spending get out of control “because the company’s going to pick it up”, but there may come a day when the chief says “no”.
Closely related is rule number three, and possibly the most important one: Never use your corporate card for personal spending. You WILL be found out. However, it’s the end of the month, you’ve got no money left in the bank and you need to buy something – what do you do? For some people, popping it onto the corporate card is a simple temptation and it can only lead to woe. Everything you spend is on the itemised bill, and eagle-eyed financial controllers are ten-a-penny. Don’t risk it.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Discuss its use with the boss, and they might allow you a certain flexibility, such as personal spending as a last resort, and relatively large spends without former approval. You need not get yourself tied in knots over your company card. Use it wisely, and it will be a valuable work tool.
Article by Jason Taylor – [email protected]