Two of the most frequently confused Company Store features are Account Balance and Budgets. While they may sound similar, they actually serve two completely different purposes: an Account Balance is a payment method whereas a Budget is a tool used to control and manage spending.
Often times we will hear a distributor state that their client wants to give their employees a budget to spend in the store. This is great, but there’s one problem, budgets can’t be used as a payment method in a Company Store. What these distributors are actually looking for is Account Balances.
This advanced payment method allows store admins to load a shopper’s account with money or points to use to purchase items in the store. Upon login, the shopper can go into their dashboard, check their Account Balance and then add whatever items they want to their shopping cart and check out. Account Balances can be used on their own or in combination with another payment method.
Budgets on the other hand act as a spending control for a user or group of users. Think of it in the same way you would when creating your personal budget. You set your monthly spend and then track where it goes and how much is remaining to make sure that you stay within your allotted amount. The same is true for Budgets, they allow your client to control their bottom line.
Clients with multiple locations or large departments that are looking to control spending within a group of users are ideal for Budgets. This feature is commonly used by distributors working with:
- – Fortune 500 Companies
- – Hospitals
- – Universities
Account Balances can be used by any client, no matter their size, industry, or location. They are commonly used by:
- – Construction Companies
- – Athletic Groups
- – Elementary/High Schools
Real World Examples
Let’s take a look at some examples:
- – Scenario A: Your client wants to provide their employees with $100 to spend on anything in the store.
- – Best Solution: Account Balances
- – Why: Employees need money they can actually spend in the store. If the employees want to spend more, they can always use a second payment method to cover any remaining balance.
- – Scenario B: Your client wants to restrict their marketing department’s spending to $10,000 every month. Team members can browse the Company Store, pick the items they need, and then pay with a Purchase Order.
- – Best Solution: Budgets
- – Why: They are looking for a way to track and control spending within a single department. Budgets can be assigned to multiple groups or users to make sure that the Marketing Team doesn’t go over $10,000.
- Scenario C: Your client has 30 sales districts and each district has a monthly budget that changes based on the departments spending the previous month. This allows corporate to keep track of what is being spent and adjust budgets in each district accordingly. Faster growing districts will have a larger budget to help compensate for the growing number of team members and clients.
- – Best Solution: Budgets
- – Why: Once again, they are looking for a way to track and control spending. Each budget can be adjusted each month to reflect any changes in spending.
Credit Cards & Budgets
One thing to keep in mind when considering Budgets is that they cannot be used in conjunction with credit cards. This is because Budgets are commonly used to control employee spending, meaning that the purchases being made within the store are for business purposes. From our experience, most employees do not have easy access to a company credit card and instead use Purchase Orders or Cost Center Codes.
If you have a client that you think might be ideal for Budgets or Account Balances go ahead and give us a call. Our team can make sure that you’re using the right features to optimize your store and walk you through the process of getting each feature set up.