Do You Know Who’s Using Your Company Card?

Apr 11, 2009

A recent story that should be of interest to fleet managers and small business owners in general showed up in the news earlier last week, where a former employee was arrested for accumulating thousands of dollars in personal charges on a company card.

Tami Nation Trull, who used to work at the Sunshine House school in Greenwood, South Carolina, was brought into custody by authorities after running up personal charges on an American Express Business Card and a Wright Express fleet fuel card.

Trull had worked for the company for 10 years and had access to the company card as a part of her job where she made travel arrangements for other employees, but over time had used these cards to pay for items for herself and family members that included airfare, hotel rooms, rental cards, tickets to a variety of events, meals and much more. Trull’s charges quickly added up to more then $20,000 in unauthorized expenses.

Unfortunately for you and your business, hearing stories like these are not that uncommon.  The challenge is being able to trust employees–especially if they’ve worked with you for as many years as Trull had for her company–but also creating a system of accountability so that there is more than one person looking at what is being spent on your cards.

For fleet managers in particular, entrusting a number of drivers with gas cards can prove to be a challenge. However, many fleet fuel cards allow you to monitor spending and put controls on what can and cannot be purchased on your company’s card. If you’re not already set up and working with these controls, be sure to contact your fleet card provider as soon as possible to ask about how to set them up.

The Sunshine House would also have benfitted from a corporate lodging card. Similar to a fleet card, a corporate lodging card will set restrictions on the types of hotels your employees can stay at (since they may want to stay at the W, but the travel budget is more Best Western) as well as electronically audit your hotel bill before your card is charged.

You’ll sleep better at night knowing there’s one more layer of protection over your company’s expenses.