The evolution of expense management solutions

Today, mobile and web-based apps can automate and accelerate expense management from start to finish.

According to Andy Watson, Senior Vice President and General Manager (Asia-Pacific, Japan and Greater China) of SAP Concur, such systems provide a seamless flow of data to give Chief Financial Officers and finance managers a new level of control and visibility into business expenses.

“This means that manual, paper-driven processes are no longer necessary, and thus making organisations become more productive and compliant.

What’s more, employees also stand to benefit from such solutions.

“SAP Concur’s mobile apps and machine learning powered tools, for instance, enables employees to spend 49% less time on travel planning, and 70% less time on expense reports,” said Watson in a statement.

“Such solutions can also help to organise and manage business travel. They can automatically populate expense claims using electronic receipts from airline, hotel, restaurant and ground transportation companies,” he added.

“They also allow employees to do virtual submission of receipts by taking pictures of those receipts with their mobile phones and uploading them from anywhere.”

For business travelers, Watson further said, this means no more compiling expenses at the end of a trip, and no more retention of paper receipts.

“Most importantly, every traveller would save hours of time per month that could be channeled into productive work for the company.”

Quoting an example, Watson said that NEC tapped SAP Concur as part of their digital transformation exercise, and reduced time spent on travel and expense management by 40%.

“This translated to substantial savings of about US$1.8 million per year,” said Watson.

“So for firms wanting to transform their business and conserve the environment at the same time, there’s no better way than smart digitization and some technology-enabled assistance to give employees a leg-up,” he added.

Concur was founded in 1993 as Concur Technologies Inc. and was acquired by SAP in 2014.

Together with Ariba and Fieldglass, these trio of companies serve as the foundation of SAP’s “Network and Spend Management Intelligent Suite” for organisations to automate their day-to-day processes through applications that have intelligence embedded within them.

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