American Express is expanding its decade-long relationship with Microsoft to develop a suite of solutions based on Microsoft’s AI and Cloud technologies, focused on reducing travel obstacles for employees and businesses. Karma.
The first solution developed through this partnership will improve the cost management process by addressing some of the issues faced by business travelers and expense handlers.
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, this solution will enhance customers’ existing processes and tools by simplifying and automating manual expense approvals and reports. , improve audit efficiency and streamline reconciliation and reimbursement for accounting teams. Microsoft will be testing the solution with its employees, integrating it into the company’s internal expense system later this year. The solution will be made available to other American Express Corporate customers over time, with the ability to integrate with other expense management tools.
Here’s how the solution will work: When a business traveler uses an American Express Corporate card, they will be prompted to upload a photo of their receipt. An AI-powered decision engine then classifies the transaction and assigns a risk score based on the transaction details, the company’s travel and expense (T&E) policies, and purchase history. and the traveler’s payment on his American Express Corporate card. The risk score is coded in green (suggested for auto-approval), yellow (needs further review) or red (not recommended for approval) based on factors such as your cost policy. company, consistency with existing spending patterns, signs of fraud, and more. . The information is then fed to the expense management system, along with receipt details to automatically generate reports and help managers and auditors make decisions. Using machine learning, the solution gets smarter over time, adapting its algorithms based on patterns and gradually increasing its ability to maximize automatic spend approval with error rates and escalate lower.
“Expense reports are a necessity, but we all hate doing them. At the same time, every company has an increased need for control and compliance with expenses. Now imagine a future where the majority of your expenses are simply ‘auto-submitted’ and ‘auto-approved,’ requiring no manual intervention and adhering to your companies’ policies and spend limits. By combining our customer insights and data, purposeful technology innovation, and a collaboration with an industry leader like Microsoft, we are creating a solution that addresses these needs with a seamless experience for the employee,”
Gunther Bright, Executive Vice President, Global Commercial Services at American Express.
“Advanced technologies like Microsoft Azure AI and machine learning provide powerful, new opportunities to reimagine pervasive, time-consuming manual processes,”
“We look forward to collaborating with American Express to simplify expense management and deliver intelligent digital capabilities to improve the lives of business travelers and employees.”
Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft.
The psychology of spending management revealed in the new American Express Trends Survey:
According to a new survey by American Express Expense Management Trendex, which surveys business travelers and those who handle travel expenses, today’s expense management process is a big deal in need of an update.
Four in ten business travelers say they want a performance review (41%), weekly meetings on Mondays at 8 am (40%), their flight delayed by an hour (40%) or an all-day virtual meeting (40%) than filing their expense report. Additionally, 59% of travel expense handlers, who currently do not have a fully independent expense management system, said the biggest benefit of having a more automated expense management system would be savings. It saves time and 94% of people handling travel expenses agree that more innovation is needed, signaling the need for more automated solutions.
Other key Trendex findings include:
The majority (73%) of business travelers agree that business travel would be less stressful if cost management were less complicated.
More than half (52%) of business travelers and more than a third (35%) of people handling travel expenses reported having a negative reaction when describing their employer’s current expense management process. Business travelers said their most common problem (54%) with expense reporting was collecting and tracking receipts.
The most common problems for travel expense handlers are employees not meeting application deadlines (50%) and ensuring costs are in compliance with company travel policies (49%).
60% of business travelers agree that their least favorite part of a business trip is earning/contributing to their expenses.
Most business travelers (76%) spend at least 30 minutes on their monthly commuting expense reports, and on average, two-thirds (65%) of those who process commuting reports take less least one hour to review the monthly expense report, recognizing the need for an effective time management solution.
Of the travel expense processors that currently do not have a fully automated expense management system, most (95%) would like one.