Travel and expense management challenges are compounding with global business expansions and often result in cost and budget overruns. Automation through SAP Concur implementation ensures seamless end-to-end management of travel, expenses, and invoices.

Introduction

Globalization, technological advancements, mobility, and global business expansions have altered the requirements of businesses all over the world. Sustainability initiatives call for optimizing and measuring our carbon footprint and greener travel.

All this has added complications in the expense reporting and business travel booking processes, which has consequently led to travel and expense (T&E) management challenges for the whole business sector.

SAP Concur is the world’s leading brand for integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions, which doesn’t only seamlessly automate the entire expense reimbursement process, but also makes travel bookings simple and hassle-free, while automating invoice approvals.

This blog discusses some practical tips for ensuring a fast and successful SAP Concur implementation to help you avoid cost and budget overruns.

Travel and Expense Management Business Challenges

Managing T&E in an organization can be difficult and complex without the right system in place. So, this SAP Concur implementation guide is designed to address the following T&E management challenges faced by the employees, their approving managers as well as the finance team.

For the Employees:

  • Manual Processing of Expense Reports – The process of manually entering expenses in an expense report without following proper guidelines is time-consuming and prone to errors. In addition, it takes a long time for an expense report to manually move through the approval procedure from one level to the next. This often delays reimbursements.
  • Unclear Policies and Lack of Enforcement – It may be challenging for employees to fully understand the rules that have been established by their company, and policies are frequently not strictly upheld. This unawareness and lack of policy enforcement results in errors in expense reports. As a result, financial losses might happen if an error goes unnoticed, or if noticed, can lead to lost time and slow reimbursements.
  • Lost Receipts and Expense Reports – After completing a transaction, there is a chance that the employee may misplace the paper receipt. This results in exception approvals and long delays in getting reimbursed, and downstream, the Finance team also faces problems during check and audits.

For the Managers/Finance Team:

  • Lack of Business Data Visibility – It becomes difficult to monitor the costs incurred by the employees without enough visibility into the finances. Because of insufficient data visibility, misleading claims resulting from errors in expense reports, potential fraud, and even duplicate reports, may go unnoticed. This poses a risk and can lead to significant financial losses.
  • Inadequate Business Reporting – In order to make critical decisions about spending and budgets, it is essential for every organization to continuously analyze its financial accounts. The T&E expenditures should be accurately recorded and during audit, an efficient reporting tool can make life easy. It becomes an issue when a thing of such importance is missing, especially in the case of a manual expense reimbursement process. This lack of accessibility may even lead to incorrect financial decisions and poor business planning.
  • Outdated and Poorly Integrated Systems – Many businesses still rely on their outdated systems having technological inadequacy, which makes the reimbursements hectic and cumbersome. Furthermore, lack of integration causes the inability of business tools to interact with each other without human intervention. If businesses continue to manage T&E using conventional methods, they could lose out on a multitude of benefits.

Benefits of an SAP Concur Implementation

SAP Concur combines mobility, quick reactions, swift operations, and user-friendly technology making it convenient to use and deliver an exceptional user experience. It makes it simple to automatically create an expense claim, submit it for approval in a few clicks, and process a fast reimbursement with minimal scope for errors. Let's examine in detail what a SAP Concur implementation brings to the table and how it helps businesses manage their T&E better.

SAP Concur Benefits –Travel Management

One of the key SAP Concur benefits is that it makes arranging travel bookings simple and convenient for employees and travel managers. It assists in giving employees better booking rates and prevents delays that would eventually increase the travel costs due to dynamic pricing. Businesses benefit from preventing employee overspending on travel expenses due to better insights into travel costs.

SAP Concur Benefits – Expense Management

With the highly rated SAP Concur mobile app, every part of an employee’s travel is managed. Provided below are SAP Concur tips to manage expenses with the Concur mobile app:

  • After completing a transaction, the employee can take a picture of the receipt and the embedded OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology will recognize the necessary information.
  • You can also help the system to register an expense by emailing the e-receipts to a specified email address.
  • The expenses are automatically classified based upon the receipt data and assigned to the appropriate expense types that are already defined in the system.
  • By integrating SAP Concur with the credit card providers, transactions are routinely loaded from the supported bank to its system.
  • Employees may instantly convert the card transactions into expenses in a couple of seconds rather than having to enter the expenses again.
  • Enforcing the regulations and ensuring that workers claim what they are entitled to claim, makes SAP Concur even more special.
  • By linking SAP Concur with Google Maps and Apple Maps, one can track mileage costs and use GPS tracking to determine the distance travelled.
  • SAP Concur also aids in the detection and prevention of fraudulent and duplicate expenses, by flagging the expenses and alerting the employees/approvers/both within the expense report itself.
  • SAP Concur is also versatile, as it provides the convenience of making configuration adjustments when policies change.

SAP Concur Benefits – Business Reporting

It presents the functionality of real-time business analytics used in understanding the trends of the expenditures, using AI technology. Because such a solution offers more visibility over spending, it supports a business not only in expanding, but also in making better financial decisions.

SAP Concur Implementation Tips

Identifying the business requirements and developing a system that satisfies those objectives accounts for a solution’s success. Businesses may have their unique necessities, such as needs, within their system. The following are a few SAP Concur tips that that will drive a successful SAP Concur implementation:

  1. Define Boundaries – It is essential to consult all stakeholders and define the scope of the project because a focused implementation is more likely to succeed within time and budget constraints. Sometimes the stakeholders are not aware of the terminology used in SAP Concur; make sure they understand and visualize the solution. User Training and live demo sessions are also effective tools.
  2. Phase the Rollouts – Businesses generally have operations in multiple countries, so grouping them according to the business needs and deploying them in phases, rather than all at once, is more advantageous from a project management perspective. It’s also possible that some countries might require similar configurations because of the same policies. In such cases, those countries can be grouped together to streamline the requirement gathering, documentation, and Implementation process.
  3. Ensure Compliance – Specific employees (like CEO, CFO, etc.)/group of employees in a company may be subject to certain regulations and SAP Concur allows the implementation of different policies for different employee groups. Fully comprehend the local regulations that each group is subject to and map the policies accordingly. The configuration may involve spending caps for a particular expense type, varying mileage rates based on a country’s rules, tax regulations, and per diems based on the travel location. Make sure that the rules are enforced in the system so that it can automatically flag the disputed expense entries, and in some cases, won't permit the submission of the expense report.
  4. Avoid Over-Customization – There may be situations where a customer wants a functionality that is unattainable, given the way SAP Concur is designed. In such scenarios, avoid over-customization and provide a workable solution to achieve it. It’s preferrable to take advantage of best practices and to prevent deviations. SAP Concur is built based on what works best, so try to harmonize the processes based on the tool instead of the other way around.
  5. Document Clearly – A Configuration Document Workbook (CDW) is provided to the customer wherein they are required to specify their requirements. Maintaining proper documentation to keep track of all the information and to ensure that there are no deviations is very crucial for any project. This is useful for future policy updates as well as for locating in the document exactly where the configuration change is needed. It also helps everyone involved to be aware of the configurations made in the SAP Concur system such as the expense types, audit rules, and car mileage rates, etc.
  6. Design Workflows – SAP Concur gives the flexibility to implement approval workflows in accordance with the organization’s needs. It provides a variety of approval rules pertaining to either approver level within an organization or approver’s signing authority of expense limit and many more. It is important to map the approval matrix and assign the right level of authorization to users at each level. Make sure that the appropriate approval workflow rules are configured in the system and the groups, policies, and workflows are properly linked.
  7. Leverage Intelligent Features – SAP Concur also offers more intelligent features such as automatic expense creation via receipts, map integration for tracking mileage costs, and many others. Become familiar with the features and make the solution future-proof by implementing such features into your solution.
  8. Test Robustly – To ensure that all configurations are made flawlessly, testing is vital. Create Test Users and perform testing of all the configurations by processing Test Expense Reports. Test to confirm that SAP Concur can synchronize and automatically communicate with other systems, so that the expense data import and export happen without manual intervention. Before deployment, the business must perform a thorough UAT to address any potential errors.
  9. Choose the Right Partner – Perhaps the most important tip. Choose the right SAP Concur implementation partner. They should help you build a robust business case for your SAP Concur implementation, help identify scope, define clear timelines and schedule, and provide certified consultants with prior experience who can design and deploy the system.

Jade Global offers SAP Concur implementation, advisory, and transformation services. The dedicated team of SAP consultants at Jade makes your transition to SAP Concur seamless by executing an expedited implementation approach, templates, and tools. Additionally, the team assists with rollouts and configuration changes, while managing and supporting ongoing operations. To learn more, check us out at the following link: Jade SAP Service.

End Note

Avoid getting overwhelmed with your T&E implementation by following these simple SAP Concur tips. Make sure you are working with Concur-certified implementation partners to assist you in your successful SAP Concur implementation journey!

Jade’s SAP Concur implementation solution captivates with advanced technology and possesses qualities that not only eliminate the manual, tedious T&E management process that has been in use for so long, but also supports businesses to operate at their best.

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About the Author

Jassimran Singh Julka

Jassimran Singh Julka

Senior Technical Analyst – SAP Concur, Jade Global

Jassimran manages several SAP projects in Jade and is a certified SAP Concur Implementation Partner (CIP – Expense), with over 5 years of experience in SAP Concur End-to-End Implementations, Country Rollouts, Configurations Changes and Customer Support. He has worked on various projects handling the implementation and providing support of SAP Concur for many large global clients and been proactively contributing to growing Jade’s SAP business practice.

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