Company Credit Cards and Accounting Policies

Businessman typing credit card number for online shopping
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The company credit card section of an accounting policy is a section where you define who has company credit cards and responsibility for the charges incurred. Below is a sample of this section of the procedures, which can be tailored to your situation.

Account Policy and Purpose

Employees can be given access to a company credit card where the nature of their job requires such use. Company credit cards may only be used for business expenses and may not be used for expenses of a personal nature. Examples of business expenses and deductions may include home office costs, auto expenses, education and more.

The general purpose of a statement of policy and procedure is to ensure that company credit cards are used for appropriate purposes and that adequate controls are established for day-to-day use. A company credit card policy applies to all employees who maintain a credit card for company use and their managers.

Company Credit Card Responsibility

Responsibility under a company credit card policy varies depending on person's role. For example, individuals have a different responsibility than operating managers and supervisors.

  • Individuals holding company credit cards are responsible for:
  • Operating managers/supervisors are responsible for:
    • Limiting the use of company credit cards to those employees who require a card for company business
    • Reviewing and authorizing credit card invoices used by their employees on a timely basis to avoid late payment charges
    • Identifying and requesting any credit or transaction-level limits required for individual cards
  • An accounting department is responsible for:
    • Ensuring that all credit card transactions are properly authorized
    • Processing payments for credit card invoices on a timely basis to avoid late payment charges
    • Arranging credit or transaction-level limits for individual cards

Vocabulary Found in Credit Card Policies

There may be some general terms included in a company credit card policy for you to be aware of. Here are four common terms and phrases:

  • General credit card: A credit card that can be used at multiple establishments, such as VISA, American Express, or MasterCard.
  • Supplier specific credit card: A credit card that can be used only with a specific supplier, such as a gas company or an office supply company.
  • Credit limit: The total amount that may be charged to the credit card before transactions are refused by the credit card company.
  • Transaction-level limit: The total value of any individual transaction that may be charged to the card or the type of transaction that may be charged to the card. For example, some gas companies will allow for “gas only” cards, which deny credit for other miscellaneous purchases at the gas station.

Credit Cards and Expense Reports

Employees using credit cards for business expenses must follow the procedure provided by the company. Typically, the following rules are set in a company policy:

  • Credit cards are to be used for company requirements only. Where the supplier has the capability, cards or transactions will be coded to individual employees for a greater facility at the time of invoicing.
  • Employees must retain and initial receipts and note the purpose of the expense on the back of each receipt.
  • Use of company credit cards for expenses of a personal nature of any kind may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. It may result in the expenses being deducted from the employee’s next pay check.

Credit Card Invoicing, Authorization and Payment

Along with following company credit card procedure, employees must also follow a set of rules in regards to invoices, authorizations, and payments. While every company provides their own unique policy, the following is an example of what you can generally expect:

  • The employee shall submit the corresponding receipts along with an expense report (often called a credit card expense report) to the appropriate authorizing supervisor or manager within a week of incurring the expense. Facsimile or scanned documents are acceptable if the employee is on travel and will not return to the office in order to meet the one-week deadline, provided that original receipts are presented upon return from travel.
  • Charges for items where the receipt has been misplaced must be explained to the authorizing individual who must initial the specific charge and indicate “receipt missing” beside it.
  • The authorizing supervisor or manager will confirm that the charges are justified and appropriate before authorizing the invoice for payment by noting “Okay to Pay” and signing the body of the invoice.
  • The approved invoice shall be forwarded to the appropriate accounting department for payment.
  • The ​accounting department shall verify the authorization and schedule the invoice for payment according to the terms of the credit card contract, and so as to avoid unnecessary late payment charges.

    Statement of Policy Agreement

    When accepting a company credit card, employees typically sign and date a statement of policy and procedure agreement after reviewing it. Typically, the agreement contains the information provided above and may request your card number and expiration date at the time of signature. The following is an example of what you will find at the end of the form:

    I have read and understood the [company name] Statement of Policy and Procedure for having a Corporate General Credit Card. By this form, I give permission for [company name] to withhold (deduct) from my pay check personal items, unauthorized expenses and unreported expenses incurred by me using my General Credit Card.