August 30, 2023

The top 4 controls that modern finance teams are using to control spend

Spending made smarter
Easy-to-use cards, spend limits, approval flows, vendor payments —plus an average savings of 3.5%.
4.8 Rating 4.8 rating
Error Message
No personal credit checks or founder guarantee.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Webinar: Intro to Ramp Plus
Sept. 28th, 1 PM ET/ 10 AM PT

Employee overspending and fraudulent practices are costing businesses valuable time and money. Expense reimbursement fraud makes up 11% of all fraud cases, with a median loss of $40k. 29% of all fraud cases are due to a lack of internal controls. 

A focus on modernizing tech stacks via finance automation to gain greater operational efficiency and control over employee spend can not only prevent fraud, but help teams drive growth and achieve greater profitability. In fact, our data study shows that businesses have seen a positive ROI from distributing corporate credit cards with spend controls to employees versus relying on traditional corporate cards (56% vs 40%). They are 10% less likely to say they find it difficult to manage and enforce employee expense policy compliance.

We took a deep-dive into the top controls used by our mid-market customers over the past year, defined as 100-1000 FTE, to see exactly how growing companies are utilizing technology to encourage better spend controls, decrease busy work, and meet their potential. 

How mid-market modern teams are controlling spend in real time 

Mid-market finance teams are harnessing the power of advanced card controls to support more spend oversight. Examples of these controls include customizable approval trails, point of sale restrictions, and employee auto-notifications for out-of-policy spend. 

At Ramp, our customers are relying on the following capabilities to reduce wasted spend: 

1. Spend controls

When issuing a Ramp virtual or physical card, admins can select both a limit amount and frequency, e.g., non-recurring limits for one-time spend such as a home office stipend, or recurring (daily, monthly or yearly) limits for items like SaaS spend. They can also decide which spend categories are allowed or blocked across 40+ categories. 

The total declined amount due to spend controls over the past year came out to over $770M. 

And with blocked transactions, admins can set a maximum amount per transaction; charges over that amount will be declined. 

2. Alerts

Admins can establish spend guidelines to determine what’s allowed to be purchased with a card. Alerts can be sent to specific employees to increase visibility, e.g., an alert sent whenever a home office purchase exceeds $500. Flags can also be sent for out-of-policy transactions, e.g., an email sent to both the cardholder and their manager when the cardholder 

On average per business, Ramp auto-flagged or alerted 178 transactions over the past year.

3. Auto-lock

With auto-lock, finance teams can automatically lock cards if employees don’t submit the required receipt or materials after a set period of time. Admins can select a future date when a card will stop accepting transactions, which can be helpful in use cases like monthly software trials or week-long business trips.   

Ramp locked an average of 21 cards per business. Cards locked due to missing items over the past year came out to 57. Overall, approximately 15% of cards were locked at least once during the year. 

4. Employee repayments

Ramp repayments facilitate employee payback of out-of-policy transactions on their corporate card. Admins/managers can easily request repayment and employees can securely add their bank account information to make payment.

This amounted to a total of $1,579,394 in reimbursements overall. 

Top controls used by mid-market Ramp customers 

While all businesses on Ramp have memo and receipt requirements, 85% also enforce spend limit amounts to cap individual employee spend. 

Over a third of mid-market businesses (36%) auto-lock cards due to missing items and 31% have vendor restrictions. Almost a quarter of these finance teams (24%) rely on transaction amount limits to put a ceiling on purchases, 23% use transaction flags, and 22% use card auto-lock dates. Lastly, 20% of mid-market finance teams control travel spend via flight budgets. 

How Ramp helped Barry's increase spend compliance

Barry’s legacy finance and accounting systems were impeding the finance team’s ability to focus on strategic initiatives. Their finance team decided to onboard Ramp to automate its expense management.

Ramp cards allowed managers to set their own card rules, create vendor-specific virtual cards, and automatically enforce spend limits. Barry’s saved employees 400 hours  spent on expense reports per month. Ramp and Barry’s together enabled employees to engage in more meaningful work, freed up more bandwidth on the accounting team, and increased spend compliance. 

See how Ramp can help you proactively control spend 

With advanced card functionality, successful mid-market finance teams can proactively rein in out-of-policy spend, save valuable time, and achieve greater operational efficiency. Sign up for Ramp today to see how advanced controls can help your business. 

Sr. Content Marketing Manager, Ramp

Stefanie Gordon is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Ramp. Prior to Ramp, she worked as a content strategist at two digital marketing agencies, iQuanti and Aurora Marketing, and as a finance reporter at Institutional Investor, where she covered everything from options to pension funds. Stefanie graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in English and a concentration in journalism and later earned an MA in education from NYU. When she isn't immersed in content and thought leadership, Stefanie loves to play any and all racquet sports.

Ramp is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes make informed decisions. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines to ensure that our content meets and maintains our high standards.


How First Tee transformed its bookkeeping and saved time with PwC and Ramp

"The efficiency of using PwC Bookkeeping Connect, coupled with the Ramp platform, has probably been about 75% time savings. Instead of every hour I would have had to spend on bookkeeping, I’m probably having to spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes.”
Dan Burke, CEO, First Tee San Francisco

How Mix Talent cut costs, gained transparency, and improved efficiency with Ramp

"I use Ramp’s functionality to examine the contracts and understand whether we’re getting the best terms, as opposed to just trying to get the bill paid. Ramp has allowed us to project cash flow so much better."
Paul Streitenberger, Accounting & Finance Lead, Mix Talent

How The Joffrey Ballet cut their month-end close time with Ramp

“One of the things I was looking for, and which Ramp has done for me beautifully, is to consolidate credit cards, ACH payments, check payments, and reimbursements into one place and give us a full picture for insights."
Gee Hoon Lim, Director of Finance, The Joffrey Ballet

How Beyond sped up reconciliation time 8x faster with Ramp

“With Ramp we close in 5-6 days, which is pretty quick for a company with four different subsidiaries."
Jake Steele, Senior Staff Accountant, Beyond

How Ramp helped Barry’s save 400 hours/month on expense report headaches

“As we scale we need tools that are built to scale with us - we need to see expenses real time, we need to see duplicate spend. These types of insights are important to the health of our business.”
Steve Padis, SVP Finance & Strategy, Barry’s

How Seed optimized card management, increased compliance, and prepared for scale with Ramp

“Ramp is helping us build a closed loop of financial feedback if you will, we’ve gained visibility, accuracy, and control.”
Sarah Bird, Controller, Seed

How Ramp enabled Glossier to save 5 hours/week and easily integrate with NetSuite

“We were in disbelief. We were not prepared for the speed of execution.”
Roxane Cosnard des Closets, Senior Manager of Financial Systems at Glossier