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More than half (55%) of small business owners across the country says that “realizing cost savings” through better management of employee expenses “would most benefit” their business. Additionally, 40% said that better managing employee spending on business-related purchases would “give me greater peace of mind.”

These are among the key findings of a Citizens Financial Group/MasterCard survey of more than 400 owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees.

In the study, small business owners were asked the following question:

Which ways and outcomes of better managing employee expenses would most benefit your business?

The results were as follows:
• Realizing cost savings – 55%
• Consolidating spending that can be used to negotiate a lower price with vendors, suppliers and service providers – 32%
• Establishing individualized spending parameters or budgets for each employee and getting monthly reports – 19%
• Receiving alerts when my employee spending exceeds budget or takes place in an unauthorized way -19%
• Mitigating risks and stress related to financial auditing – 10%

“Without question, small companies that manage expenses well will be better able to weather the current recessionary storms, but there must be an easy way for them to do it,” says D. Stephen Wooters, Head of Commercial Cards, Citizens Financial Group. “Unlike large corporations, where teams of professionals are focused on spend management, small companies don’t have the staff or the time to devote to managing expenses. Using technology to rethink expense management – through simple, efficient tools – gives the power of large businesses to the small business owner.”

The Citizens Financial Group/MasterCard study also asked small business owners:

What methods do you employ to enable your employees to pay for day-to-day business expenses?

Results were as follows:
• Cash reimbursement system – 36%
• A company credit or debit card – 32%
• Petty cash system – 29%
• My own personal card – 21%
• Individually-issued corporate card for employees -19%
• I don’t allow employees to pay for any expenses/I handle all expenses myself – 31%

“With 65% of small business owners using either a cash reimbursement system or a petty cash system to reimburse employees for company expenses—and another 31% handling all expenses themselves—the conclusion is obvious: This is not the most efficient way of running a business,” said Wooters. “So they should take advantage of easy-to-implement technology to provide the spend management solutions they need to succeed.”

“We know from our customers that there is a strong and growing demand for technologies that can help them conduct their banking business more easily and more efficiently,” said Wooters. “AccessCARD Command answers our customers’ requirements for high security, improved control and greater cost efficiency for their commercial card accounts.”

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