Money Management

What did we do before fuel cards?

No, seriously what did we do before fuel cards for businesses? I’ve run a maintenance and repair company for over 10 years now and wake up with cold sweats thinking of my life before Texaco cards from

Before I selected a business account fuel card from ‘choose a fuel card’ I had to:

Sift through hundreds of receipts on a monthly basis; I have over 100 operatives each with their own personal vehicle. As you can imagine, come paperwork time at the end of each week, retrieving valid and accurate receipts from every member of staff was a nightmare, more than a nightmare. Weekly memos went out at the beginning of every week to remind staff they must retain a valid VAT receipt for tax purposes, and yet every week receipts were failed to be collected and returned to the office, meaning my company was losing out in thousands of pounds in company tax returns. With my new fuel card ‘online accounts management’ system I’m now able to track every single transaction carried out by my operatives and claim the VAT back easily with ‘HMRC approved weekly invoices’.

Worry about company credit card bills, constantly. Before the fuel card system was put in place my operatives used company credit cards to pay for their fuel. Not only did this mean I had interest accruing on the monthly bills but often (more than likely over the weekends) staff abused the company credit cards for personal use. Warning after warning, this misuse and misconduct led to all sorts of disciplinary action, which is not what I wanted or needed amongst my generally hard working staff. With the fuel cards in place I receive interest free monthly bills all collected via direct debit. This eliminates any abuse of the system, reduces my outgoings as I’m not paying interest and frees up my time sifting through paperwork by taking the payment via direct debit.

Estimate how much I was spending each month on fuel, by gathering the receipts received from staff and overview of the credit card spending, this (as stated above) never matched up, leaving my monthly forecasts often falling short. This misjudgement in spending could often leave the monthly cash flow short, and the company struggling to pay suppliers, clueless to what the company was actually spending on fuel. With the fuel card account all transactions are recorded online, and not only can you track how much you are spending monthly, you are able to review a breakdown in costs; how much fuel each vehicle consumes.

Deal with national price fluctuations in fuel costs. This was becoming a major concern for me as a business I work nationwide and customers in particular parts of the UK were beginning to wonder why their maintenance costs were much higher than others, and the simple fact is because in some areas the cost to run the business is higher. In the South of England for example, I was paying much more in fuel costs than most other places, this cost had to be absorbed somewhere. With the fuel card in place the regional price fluctuations are eliminated by fixing the monthly prices. This allows me to charge my customers fairly and saves my hundreds of pounds a month.

Deal with general lack of control over the fuel management process; this was by far the worst problem with the fuel management process. I felt like I had no control over my fuel outgoings and cash flow, I had management systems inline for my accounts, for my sales calls and ordering processes but no strict protocol for the fuel bills, this left me feeling out of control and a victim of unpredictability. The fuel cards have managed to give me back that feeling of control over my finances and prevent any unpredictable and unwanted cash flow dramas. I can see an online overview of my spending, review past spending; match vehicle to vehicle spends and produce monthly invoices for tax approved receipts.

Seriously, what did we do before fuel cards? Lose many nights sleep worry over receipts and credit card bills, that’s what.

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