Members who participate in the C-card contract have not only realized greater financial and administrative efficiencies—they are generating revenues from rebates calculated on aggregated sector spend.
In 2014, when Langara College issued an RFP on behalf of the sector for a card-based payment solution, Scotiabank’s Commercial Card (C-card) program emerged as the clear winner.
Langara formally reassigned the contract to BCNET in late 2016. Since then, BCNET members’ spend has increased from $25M a year to $116M with 14 institutions participating in the program. The total number of transactions have risen accordingly, from 87,000 to 368,000, while the number of active cards have increased from 1,800 to 6,000. And, since the inception of the program, members have realized a significant increase in rebates year over year.
“The C-card program is a strategic tool that improves supplier relationships, optimizes procurement processes, reduces the burden on accounts payable departments and generates revenue to post-secondary institutions in the form of rebates.
Vice President & Director, Commercial Card Sales | Scotiabank
Here, three BCNET members talk about their experiences and the benefits they’ve reaped from the Scotiabank C-card program.
Big Benefits for a Smaller Institution
Before Okanagan College rolled out the Scotiabank C-card program in 2016, they had been reconciling and uploading statements manually. For small transactions, staff would use petty cash and fill in requisition forms.
“We wanted access to a program that gave us visibility into daily transactions, and offered online approvals,” explains Curtis Morcom, Vice President, Employee and Corporate Services at Okanagan College. “We had had conversations with other banks, but they couldn’t offer the systems and workflows we needed.”
Curtis says Scotiabank was supportive throughout the onboarding process, which included training, supplier outreach and enrolment, and account set-up.
“[Scotiabank] understands transaction workflows and brought their knowledge to us. It took us only four months to roll out the program from start to finish.”
Vice President, Employee and Corporate Services | Okanagan College
Opportunities to Expand a Successful C-card Program
When the University of Victoria signed on to the Scotiabank C-card contract in 2017, its overarching goal was to optimize resources and improve procurement processes to support the university’s strategic mandates. As Xavier Serrano, Director, Purchasing Services, explains, “We have a strategic framework that identifies priorities at UVic, that include advancing research, cultivating an extraordinary academic environment and fostering financial stability, among other goals. The C-card program helps us do just that."
UVic has benefitted from being part of a larger purchasing group in the form of higher rebate levels. The program also reduces the burden on accounts payables by allowing faculty and staff to make smaller purchases of under $5,000 while doing away with POs, approvals and invoices.
As UVic explores opportunities to use the C-card for travel and Visa Payables Automation, Xavier and his team are looking to the BCNET community for support and advice. “Through BCNET, we can connect with others across the sector to share ideas and identify opportunities. For example, as we build a network of travel program managers across the sector, we are learning how different institutions apply the C-card program.”
“The C-card program is a success not just in terms of reducing transaction costs and increased efficiencies, but also in being able to build relationships and a community of practice for future opportunities.”
Director, Purchasing Services | University of Victoria
Supporting and Benefitting the Entire Sector
When BCNET negotiated the Scotiabank C-card contract, UBC already had a longstanding relationship with the bank and program. In order to benefit the entire sector, UBC ensured they included a clause in their contract so that their tens of millions of dollars in spending would be aggregated with that of the institutions participating in the BCNET contract resulting in significantly larger rebates to the sector.
“We’re pleased that the hard work and dedication of our Financial Operations team, in negotiating UBC’s contract with Scotiabank, has benefited our colleague institutions across the sector. When Scotiabank determines the year-end rebate structure for post-secondary institutions participating in the BCNET contract, they use the aggregate spend, including UBC’s.”
Vice President, Finance and Operations | University of British Columbia