Visa U.S.A. has introduced a desktop software reporting system aimed at enhancing the administration of its purchasing card programs.
The San Francisco-based association's software links card data to an on- line reporting function that offers analysis, streamlining, and control for purchasing and accounting functions.
Now being tested in several pilots, the new system is scheduled for general release in July, Visa said.
"We've engineered more than a reporting system per se," said Robert Levaro, senior vice president for Visa's commercial card products. "We've designed this in a way so that it's an action tool."
The Windows-based package devises management information reports through five modules. Purchasing managers receive breakdowns of purchasing activity by supplier, program administration, exception reporting, tax accounting, and cost allocation.
The exception reporting function contrasts employee card use with company policies
Tax accounting benefits of the software include a 1099 report summarizing transaction activity with independent contractors, along with "estimation tools" that can be adjusted to fit a company's tax strategy. Managers are given the information they need to choose the best cost- allocation program for their company.
"When purchasing managers must focus on how, when and where their companies are spending purchasing dollars, this reporting system provides them with the opportunity to look more closely at expenditures," said Mr. Levaro.
U.S. corporations spend about $300 billion annually on small-dollar purchases, according to Visa. While representing less than 10% of corporations' purchase dollars, these small-dollar purchases account for 80% to 90% of administrative purchasing costs.
Visa says it has 335,000 purchasing cards in circulation in the United States, with more than $2 billion a year charged to them.
Last month, MasterCard introduced Smart Data for Windows, a software package designed to trim or eliminate many transaction costs, while giving businesses quick access to information about where their money is going.