Company cars touch many areas of businesses today. Once seen as a commodity that only needed financial consideration, now they often involve the time and attention of managers across multiple teams and departments. This can quickly lead to friction, as individuals juggle different priorities. But it also presents an opportunity for integration, says Marshall Leasing.
Recent analysis of over 200 businesses by Marshall Leasing revealed a considerable mix of departments taking responsibility for company cars. Finance was most prominent, with 27% of businesses handing primary responsibility to a finance team member. However, 19% gave responsibility to a dedicated fleet manager, while a main board director took the lead within 18% of the businesses, and an HR representative was the primary contact in 16% of cases. General administration and procurement also featured in the analysis.
“There are multiple reasons for this spread of responsibility,” says Jonathan Ross of Marshall Leasing. “We’ve seen a great swing in recent years in terms of influence over policy from Finance to Personnel. This was originally driven during the boom by recruitment considerations, where the choice of vehicle could make a difference to staff retention and recruitment. Subsequently, a focus on Health & Safety and Benefit in Kind implications also made for a far greater level of HR involvement.
“In current times as belts have been tightened, procurement has naturally been brought in. Their job has been to investigate how economies might be achieved through the tendering process. Now, with further changes to writing down allowances and on- off balance sheet considerations it becomes the turn again of the financial influencers to consider policy. These multiple considerations make the job of providing workable solutions challenging.”
It is a challenge that is worth overcoming, however, according to Marshall Leasing, and it often involves an education process.
“Every business is different, of course,” says Jonathan. “Turning conflict into something constructive takes an open mind and creative approach. But if departments can use the company car as an opportunity to work together, then the results can be rewarding. We’ve seen businesses that have been transformed by taking this approach.”