How do I handle costs without cash advances?

Nine to Five: Special to The Globe and Mail. Published Monday, January 7, 2013

THE QUESTION

My employer is a large Norwegian company that covers the globe with its services. In the past, I was provided with a cash advance to cover business travel and expenses, which at times could be several thousands of dollars.

Recently, they advised me that they would no longer provide that cash and that I am now to cover business expenses on my personal credit card and then claim them weekly. I also have to use my car for business and local travel. With my children at university, I do not have this extra personal credit room.

THE ANSWER

Colleen Clarke, Corporate trainer and career specialist, Toronto says…

Chances are your company has made this policy change so it can better balance its cash flow. With expenses coming in weekly, they can pay out exactly what is required rather than what is estimated by each employee. Paying out of pocket and being reimbursed is the most common form of expense repayment; you would be hard-pressed to find many companies that pay expenses up front. It is not an easy change, but it is doable.

The threat to let you go if you can’t manage a hefty expense load might be a red flag, however, and one you shouldn’t ignore.

You need to get a commitment from your employer that they will reimburse you within a week or two of the expense submission. Tell them the due date of your credit card. Any late charges incurred because of late payment is the company’s responsibility. This new arrangement should not put you out of pocket personally.

Submit your weekly expenses on time. Get a business-only credit card, separate from your personal card. Choose the one with the best points program so you benefit from the points accumulation.

Change is always a transition, so ask your accountant to help set up a workable plan if you are still stumped.

Colleen Clarke
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer

Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It
http:///www.colleenclarke.com