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What does a business credit card mean to your company? That yourun a legitimate business, of course. It's a crazy paradox: Putcash on the table to pay for a business lunch and you've laiddown real money, but the classier move is to deftly toss a goldcard on top of the bill.

But good impressions aren't all business credit cardsdeliver. CPAs insist putting business charges on plastic helps youlater, when you need to sort out tax-deductible expenses. Then,too, it's whispered that the IRS much prefers seeing this sortof orderly accounting whenever it does an audit. Another plus: Abusiness credit card gives you a "float" between the timeof purchase and the day when you've got to ante up thecash--usually there's at least a three-week gap, but sometimesyou'll enjoy six or more weeks of interest-free use of somebodyelse's money. And in a cash-flow pinch, of course, you can payoff your balances over time--meaning credit lets you buy thatcomputer today, when you need it, even if the company till iscurrently empty.

Spend too much, too fast, however, and you'll be hit withhuge interest charges--which can jeopardize both your business andyour personal creditworthiness. The bottom line: Business creditcards are terrific tools--if you use them shrewdly.