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Monday, 18 October 2021
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Petty cash alternatives for charity spending

OUR way of living may have been transformed in recent months, but spare a thought for those charity financial controllers among us. 

  • More staff are working remotely and fewer shops are accepting cash
  • Staff often need to respond to urgent spending needs like purchasing PPE and other necessities
  • It’s hard distributing money to volunteers with cash or credit cards

That’s on top of the usual admin of the charity financial team: making sure donations go to the right places, and that there’s enough petty cash in circulation. And if charity giving was on a downward spiral before COVID-19 hit, the uncertainty of this time is greatly impacting philanthropy.

COVID-19, cash and the corporate credit card

The old ways of working just won’t cut it anymore.

Traditionally challenges such as the emergency need for extra PPE would be solved by handing out petty cash or using a corporate credit card. The first is compromised by the fact staff aren’t physically in an office to put their hand in the tin, and by stores not accepting cash right now. The second could be a solution, but those cards need to be in someone’s name – and sharing card details by email is a cybersecurity nightmare. 

However, virtual cards are emerging as a compelling answer to these financial challenges.

Virtual cards are electronic wallets that can be set with built-in budgets and spending constraints. Controlled from a central dashboard, the virtual card can ease the process of delivering cash or authorising spending, ensuring staff are not out of pocket in their time of need.

One virtual card could be marked as petty cash, with an automatic top-up when funds drop below a certain limit. Another card could be reserved exclusively for a specific store or departmental budget, or for online purchases or subscriptions. 

Controlling spend from a central point

Sandra Curran from charity Making Space moved from a corporate credit card to a Soldo virtual payments system, and found the efficiency of financial operations improved – almost as much as the drop in the amount of time she spent trawling through paperwork every month.

Sandra said:

“We had petty cash at each service, so they would have to send us a return as their floats were going down, and we’d send them out a cheque. Someone at the store would then have to go to the bank – if the cheque didn’t get lost in the post.

“Petty cash and reconciling credit cards took a total of six days a month; now it takes me half a day.”

Soldo offers charities and not-for-profit organisations a 30% discount to help streamline spending and get better control over what’s going where. Discover how Soldo can help you to be more effective, safe and secure with your charity’s financial operations. 

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