Credit cards · Project management

Who can use the company's credit card?

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

April 7th, 2016

Our chief developer needs a complete access to certain paid services like Amazon Web Services, Paypal, etc., but that also gives him full access to the company's credit cards specified for these services.
Our CEO claims that he cannot (legally) give access to the credit cards to an employee - only "company owners" can use them, he claims, so the developer cannot work (and the CEO knows nothing about computers), and we're stuck.
How do other companies solve this problem?
Is it true that an employee can't use a company credit card? Would a debit card be a solution, even if partial?
FYI, the developer is a full time employee (not a freelancer or an outsource, but not a co-founder either), and the company is an LLC.

Ken Anderson Director, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Development, Delaware Economic Development Office

April 8th, 2016

This is clearly not about the availability of Corporate cards to employees....this is only about trust. If trust is not there and there is little prospect of it forthcoming, it will affect everything else that is going on in your firm and it will ultimately affect you.

Have a "come to Jesus" moment with the CEO and if that doesn't go well, move on.

Tim Kilroy Analytics - LTV - Boosting Profits - Digital Marketing

April 7th, 2016

Your CEO is wrong. You can get employee credit cards or depending on the card you have, even just purchasing cards (AMEX) for specific purposes.

Hung Bui Head of Technology @ Quay Creative

April 7th, 2016

Often these Amazon or Paypal do offer Sandbox account for developers to play around with. I'd recommend you to get developers to do a video screencast on sandbox account and explain what does the CEO need to do and follow it through with his real cards. 
Should he trust his CTO at least? 

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

April 7th, 2016

@Joanan Hernandez,

I agree with the "storm in a teapot" definition. The developer knows the monthly expenses up to the cent, and we're actually talking about pittance, maybe less than $10 per month, growing maybe to $50 in the near future, and every new potential expense will be approved by the CEO in advance, so I don't see any problem here either. Hopefully this forum's unanimous support will help me change his mind.

Mike Masello

April 7th, 2016

if it's a battle not worth pursuing there's always companies like Pex

Michael Barnathan Adaptable, efficient, and motivated

April 7th, 2016

Employees can have access to corporate cards. Big companies do it all the time. Regardless, if the CEO is paranoid, have him watch the dev do the signup to ensure that no untoward charges are agreed to.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

April 7th, 2016

Hello Dimitry,

At first glance, with the little information we have, I dare to speculate an storm in a teapot.

For what it seems this is an small company, aside for the proper solutions already laid on here, what I see is a simple problem of communication.

What's wrong with the CEO asking the developer: How much do you think it will cost?

The developer should have some idea (doesn't have to be precise). If he/she doesn't then the CEO is completely right in not trusting him/her (then you have a bigger problem at hand, and it's not technical). By the same token, the CEO should be able to handle the estimate the developer gives. BTW, a developer shouldn't have free reign, he/she must be able to laid out what are their needs and what it should cost. If not, then again there's a bigger problem here. If the developer doesn't how much will it cost, then the CEO must find a way to know this, at the very least the developer must have an idea of needs for this task.

Given this small company, the CEO can simply put the company credit card and monitor what is being spent. If he/she can't do that, then he/she can't run the company. We are not talking about a Fortune 500 here, this is an start-up, right? So these kind of costs and actions are part of the growing process. Later in the game, maybe the company might think about having an independent credit card for certain employees.


Dennis Augustine Founder, Sr. Sitecore Solution Architect/BA

April 7th, 2016

Why do you think you CEO claimed his objection was based on law? He presumably shouldn't have gotten such misinformation from the contracts or council. I hate to jump to conclusions about someone's intentions without knowing them or based on hearsay but this sounds like an appeal to authority as a way to end a discussion to me. That's usually not a good thing.  

Parag Mehta Enterpreneur, Management professional, IT & Technical Support

April 8th, 2016

there are many ways to solve this crisis with the CEO..

Credit Cards:
Just like few of them who have previously mentioned, virtual card has be a technology that i have been using with Citibank for more than 8 years that i can think of. my real card number is never exposed to any online bill pays, purchasing etc.

Since we are talking AWS:
again just as others have suggested, get the developer and the CEO in a conference room, get the developer to present his screen and have the CEO use his laptop. Developer should show the CEO how to configure IAM in AWS.. as CEO follows this steps and gives him full ADMIN rights on the instances but not on billing the problem will be solved and both will be happy.

Anthony Begando CEO Tenon Consulting | MCS

April 7th, 2016

Per many of the posts above, there is no reason whatsoever why your company cannot facilitate a purchasing process like you mentioned.  As noted above, we don't understand all of the details but I'm assuming a lack of policy and controls is probably what the CEO is concerned about.  He/she is also probably assuming they have to give up "their" card to make the purchases.

In one of my firms, we required frequent (multiple time / day) purchases to be made by customer service reps in verifying credentials (e.g., licenses, education, insurance) for clinicians.  We worked with our bank to establish a very effective, low-cost purchasing program using Visa.  We made employees sign an agreement before being issued a charge # ensuring they knew that they were personally responsible for any fraudulent or abusive charges.  We also established a series of policies and controls between our operations manager and controller that both audited and reconciled transactions regularly. 

Bottom line:  This is a normal business process and, in working with your bank and establishing some basic controls, your firm should be able to establish a simple and effective solution.