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A spending solution for care homes: Pleo

Managing finances for care homes is complicated.

The receipts build up day after day, covering a huge range of purchases, all to help residents feel at home and ensure staff can keep doing great work.

Food and drink. Electronics. Flowers. Seasonal decorations. You name it, someone's had to pay for it – often in a hurry and for the best price possible.

This year, the usual focus on health and safety became even more crucial and presented a whole new range of purchasing issues.

A lot of homes still rely on petty cash – a system that is often messy and causes headaches for the employee, the finance team and senior management.

Pleo offers a solution to those problems and a chance for care homes to focus their energy where it really counts – not on trying to make sense of every tiny transaction.

How Pleo works for care homes

We issue smart credit cards to companies, with financial admins deciding who gets a card and what the spending limit on it should be.

Every time the card is used, whether that’s making a major online order or just nipping to the shops, managers can instantly see who spent what.

The person making the purchases is prompted to snap the receipt – meaning the era of chasing down paperwork is over.

We integrate seamlessly with the accounting software used by finance teams, who also have the power to freeze cards if anything doesn’t look right.

Replace petty cash with real-time overview

We’ve heard repeatedly from people in the care industry that petty cash really feels out-of-place with the needs of modern homes.

It’s time-consuming to introduce temporary staff to the processes around it. It’s frustrating (and costly) when the total in the cash tin just doesn’t match the records.

And it’s tricky for finance teams who are struggling to get on-site as lockdown restrictions continue to evolve.

Pleo gives real-time updates when a card is used and for a fuller picture, admins can log in at any time to track spend across the entire company.

With Pleo, things always add up the way they should.

"Before Covid hit, a number of care home operators in the UK had already signed up to use Pleo," says Chloe Rose, one of our UK Account Executives.

"Based on conversations with them, we knew our spending solution was a good fit for the industry and the people working so hard in it.

"The problems of petty cash are obvious to most care home teams we speak to, but the pandemic has only increased the reasons to find a new way to buy things.

"Whether it's more remote management or pressure to move away from petty cash, our cards and our team make life that little bit easier."

A new level of visibility and control

That visibility extends to the insights and analytics we offer to customers.

It’s easy to spot spending patterns and ensure that sufficient funds are in place to match the needs of the business.

If you know a home is going to be spending less on travel and more on technology, it’s easy to manage those changing priorities.

If a member of staff leaves, you can disable their card at the tap of a button.

That kind of overview means that no matter how quickly the public health landscape shifts, you’re in the best position possible to make informed financial decisions.

Track those small purchases

Care homes need the big things – furniture, vehicles, computer kit. But so many purchases are those low-value items that are utterly essential too, whether that’s batteries, birthday cards or bread.

We know from experience that this is often where the most stress around expenses can arise. Because the cost isn’t high, people may neglect to record it properly, thinking it’s not worth the time.

Lots of businesses face the opposite problem too – there have got to be more important things for people to do than spend hours checking that every purchase of a carton of milk was recorded correctly.

Empower a team member with a Pleo card and you find a new way to manage those small purchases that add up.

The cardholder can snap the receipt before they even leave the shop – no waste of time, no waste of energy, but all that vital information still recorded in one place.

Spending that’s safer in every way

Not everyone instantly embraces technology, we know that. But 2020 has seen a big acceleration in the move away from notes and coins.

Cash use was halving every decade – a steady decline. In the first few weeks of the pandemic, things sped up widely and cash use fell by as much as 60% year-on-year.

The hygiene and social distancing issues around cash have probably left a lasting impact – Pleo cards can help everyone to feel assured that they’re playing it safe.

And our cards minimise your company’s financial risk too.

Fraud becomes a lot less likely with individual cards and a centralised wallet being used, instead of cash or cards that are shared amongst a team.

Making the change is easier than you might think

Of course, there’s a reason that people still use petty cash. It’s what they’re used to and the idea of switching from it can feel like a big ask.

It’s something backed up by the most recent Quality of Care report, which shows that digital innovation in the care sector has accelerated in 2020 – but that it’s vital to manage it properly.

Helping people to manage those challenges is why we take a really active approach to customer onboarding at Pleo.

We’ve helped thousands of UK businesses adjust their spending culture and processes to our cards and apps – including care providers.

We’ll listen to your questions throughout the process. We’ll introduce you to the features that we think could make a difference. We’ll be there when you need us.

We strive to offer the best customer service possible, something we’re proud to say our reviews show.

We know timing is a huge factor for care homes right now – ensuring that teams aren’t being overloaded when their jobs are tough enough. So we’ll work with you to get that right too.

These are tough times for care homes and the brilliant people who work in them.

Some changes have been forced upon them, but Pleo is one change that offers a better way of working.

A chance to get control and oversight of finances in a way that also means staff can feel empowered to match the next challenge that comes their way.

Neil Brennan, Pleo

Neil Brennan

Content lead

Journalist with the BBC, LBC and others for a decade or so. Now doing words for Pleo. Spot a typo? I'm all eras.

neil@pleo.io