I've worked with countless entrepreneurs over the years to look for ways to improve efficiency and profitability in their companies. One thing I've learned is that every company is unique, and faces its own challenges and opportunities. But there's one thing every company and entrepreneur has in common: Everybody has bills to pay, and everybody dreads the process.
Sometimes business owners open up a bunch of business cards to pay those bills. But do that without having a coherent plan, and before you know it you're deluged by statements and requests for payment. There may not be much we can count on in life, but a fresh crop of bills every month is absolutely a sure thing.
But here's the good news: Paying bills doesn't have to be a tedious chore. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can find ways to make your business expenses work for your company.
It's possible to streamline your bills and reap rewards from your business cards. A few steps can make your accounts payable simpler and much more rewarding.
1. Choose the right rewards program.
Your first step is to choose business cards with rewards programs that matters to you and your company. This process isn't terribly difficult, but it is vital, and it does require a little thought and reflection.
In my case, travel-related rewards are like gold. I travel a lot, and rewards like access to lounges, airline miles and free hotel stays make my business travel more comfortable and more cost effective.
Travel rewards work for me, but travel isn't part of every company's regular expenses. Do a little research and survey the range of rewards benefits you can accrue, and find a card that works for you.
Keeping your business expenses on one business card helps make it easier to track expenses and identify spending trends and aberrations.
2. Use business charge and credit cards for more than administrative expenses.
One of the reasons paying bills can be such drudgery is the sheer number of different bills you have to pay. You have to write out all those checks. You have to stock envelopes and stamps. You have to worry about misfiling or misplacing bills, which then results in unhappy vendors or late fees.
My solution: I pay everything I can with my business card (which carries my carefully selected rewards). Not only do I pay for my business purchases with my card, but I also pay as many vendors as I can. I pay my phone expenses. I pay the electric company.
I recommend owners consider using their business cards in the same way. Not only am I able to handle most of my bill payments online, but I also rack up rewards points for ordinary expenses.
3. Track your spending.
By using my rewards card for the majority of my business expenses, the bill-paying process is much easier and quicker, and I also gain valuable rewards that actually reduce critical travel-related expenses. But there's another benefit as well: All your expenses are trackable.
Consolidated expenses equal greater insight and oversight. Keeping your business expenses on one business card helps make it easier to track expenses and identify spending trends and aberrations.
Tools that make expense management easier are an added value for business owners. If you're monitoring your spending with just a single rewards card, it can be easier to spot fraudulent transactions or categories of expenses that are trending upwards.
While paying bills may never be your favorite aspect of owning a business, when you have a solid strategy, it can be far less painful. Paying bills with a single business card can also generate valuable rewards. Anytime I can save both time and money, I call that a win.
Read more articles on accounts receivable and payable.
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