Maria Parpou, Barclaycard Director of Product and Commercial Strategy, discusses how corporate card programmes can help business to thrive in today's ever-changing economy.
Corporate credit cards have been helping businesses make payments and keep track of employee expenses for decades, and in that time the global workforce has evolved considerably. Peters & May, our client of 23 years, perfectly captures the need of today's modern corporates to have access to hassle-free and flexible payments in fast-changing environments.
Peters & May provides transport logistics, moving everything from pallets and cars to helicopters, boats and superyachts. Established in 1973, the company has grown from a UK-based freight forwarder, to a team of more than 100, with offices across the world and a turnover of £50 million. The company's expansion has been rapid, with headcount increasing by 35 per cent since January 2016, so we sat down with Paul Tate, Group Finance Director at Peters & May, to discuss the impact this growth has had on the company's payment and expense needs.
Going from a local to global company
According to Paul, corporate cards have played an important role in Peters & May's rapid expansion. With a growing team and global traction, purchasing and expense management needs have increased significantly, and corporate cards have been a vital part of managing that transition.
In an industry that requires travelling the world and adapting to constantly changing timetables and conditions, flexibility is crucial. On a single day, for example, one member of the team might need to entertain a client in Genoa, while another employee needs to purchase additional supplies for a boat show in Cannes, and yet a third needs to buy materials to help load a yacht in Singapore. These are just some of the diverse requirements Paul and his team might encounter on a daily basis, and in each of these circumstances a corporate card is essential in helping employees to carry out their job with minimum stress and hassle.
Having such a flexible means of payment at the ready has enabled Peters & May's workforce to be much more productive and efficient, responding to developments or scaling as needed. This flexibility is one of the reasons why the business has managed to achieve 60 per cent revenue growth over the last four years.
Having a corporate card programme has also made expense management – both for travel and other ad-hoc business costs – much simpler for both Peters & May employees and its finance team. Without it, Paul says that the business would be inundated with expense claim requests. Instead, Paul and his team simply download transactional information directly from the Barclaycard system to populate individual expense claim forms, freeing up vital resource to be deployed on more valuable tasks.
The past 50 years have witnessed huge behavioural and technological change, and as the needs of individual business have continued to evolve across different sectors, it has never been more important for us to offer services that will tailor to different needs. From the UK's first corporate credit card to the latest in virtual card payments, Barclaycard will continue to push the boundaries by developing payment solutions that take advantage of the latest trends, helping our customers become more successful.