On the road to financial excellence - an introduction to SAP Concur

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Looking to take control, gain visibility and proactively manage travel and expense spending within your business? SAP Concur is the ideal expense solution that manages overall spend with automated management features and direct, mobile access.

Back in 2014, SAP acquired Concur Technologies, taking over and merging the then 21 SaaS company. In a recent announcement, it’s been merged and rebranded into SAP Concur, providing further cross-integration with other SAP platforms and end-to-end business processes.

The platform is split into four major components, which we’ll run through and detail below.

Expense

Concur Expense connects the different parts of your expense system, integrating travel spend, ERP, accounting and card data into one single, cloud-based, mobile system. This system manages the entire expense process, stretching from spend requests to reconciliation.

For example, an expense can be immediately recorded and sent for approval by taking a picture of a receipt, or uploading an electronic version as well as credit card purchases.

With easy-to-use interfaces, richer reporting and more in-depth data, Concur Expense allows you to complete expense reports in a quick and accurate manner.

Another important and useful feature of Concur, is the ability to work with Microsoft Excel. As a result, information can easily be exported and pulled across from Concur into Excel. From there you can save data into other formats that are compatible with any other platforms and software you may use. And of course, this method provides reassurances relating to secondary and back up copies of data.

Travel

While there’s no GPS automation just yet, Concur does allow you to manually record the miles you clock up on the road. Similarly, both the app and the web version also allows you to flexibly book travel necessities, such as flights, trains, rental cars and hotel rooms.

In turn, these can then be acknowledged, approved and reimbursed by line managers in the same manner. On this side of things, Concur offer 25 ready to use report templates, allowing you to quickly, easily and professionally document your staff’s travel spend.

Another handy feature is Concur’s ability to manage and exchange expenses across multiple currencies. This ideal for users who are travelling abroad on a regular basis and using a currency different to their homeland.

Invoice

Concur Invoice is the perfect solution for purchase orders and requisition work flows. This helps you keep a close eye and tight grip on payments and compliance, while allowing comparisons to be drawn against deliverables. Likewise, the system also features automated vendor payments, such as ACH, cheques and credit cards.

In addition, Concur’s handy self-portal allows users to check invoices and payments without the need for constant and time-consuming phone calls and emails.

Concur Mobile

Concur offer a mobile app version for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones, bringing all the major features straight to your fingertips. From journey bookings to invoicing and expense reporting, the handy app is effectively a mobile version of all of the above features.

Perhaps the biggest benefits lie in on the go reporting and expense capturing. With the help of your phone’s in-built camera, you will easily be able to capture images of receipts and then directly upload them to the Receipt Store. This is Concur’s trademark mobile feature and one of their biggest selling points. In just a few clicks, the app will begin collecting and building all of your receipts and expenses in one place.

This feature also provides paperless processing, eliminating human error and paper procedures. No longer will you need to keep hold of receipts or fill your wallet full of paper until you’re next in the office. There’s also the increasingly important plus point of being environmentally friendly.

Considerations and Drawbacks

While SAP will continue to fully support those currently using SAP Cloud for Travel and Expense through their current contract term, Concur’s solution will be the offering of choice for customers moving forward.

In the long term, SAP Concur is set to provide a portfolio of solutions on one portal that will fully incorporate the strengths of both previous platforms.

Direct integration with other business programmes such as Outlook, is not currently provided. However, it’s not all bad news; as touched upon above you can link to other apps such as finance and GPS-tracking applications.

As with any migration or implementation, roll-out can prove a challenging time for both business and employees. In this case of SAP Concur, the setup period is likely to take between two and three weeks. This will then be followed by a natural period of transition, as users become accustomed and familiar to the new platform and ways of working.

While for small companies this transition will be more seamless, many may find the expense or capabilities of SAP Concur above their requirements and necessary capabilities. From independent and impartial reviews, it appears SAP Concur works best for companies with a large number of employees (200+) who are constantly on the move and at different locations across the globe.

This viewpoint is strengthened by a lack of flexible pricing, with costs often being expensive compared to usage. In general, the age old adage goes; only consider this platform if you know you’re going to get your money’s worth.

To find out more about SAP Concur and using SAP for your finance procedures, join the User Group as a member and become involved in our Financial Excellence Special Interest Group. We offer a range of events and webinars throughout they year, such as this month’s dedicated Financial Excellence event.

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