This piece appears in PaymentsSource and summarizes a bevy of VC-backed corporate expense management firms. The main focus is a product from the 2017 Seattle-based startup Center, which has the distinction of being launched by the founder of Concur who most readers will know as a major expense management player (now part of SAP). The product is called CenterCard and helps manage employee purchases in real-time through the application of ML algorithms.
‘A key to Center’s service is leveraging real-time payment card data to compare the time, location and type of merchant with companies’ expense-management policies so corrections can be addressed immediately, versus waiting until an expense account is filed days or months later.’
Although we have not had a demo, a review of the website indicates that the solution eliminates expense reports through digital, transaction by transaction (and auditable) reconciliation capabilities.
This can be delivered through a mobile device as well and may or may not involve a physical plastic. It seems a key target is potential nuisance expenses involving employee personal card usage for online, business related purchases, which can fly under business controls radar.
‘One particular pain point Center aims to attack is the proliferation of expenses employees buy through e-commerce sites and apps, including software subscriptions and digital goods, according to Naveen Singh, Center’s CEO…“Employees at growing companies are often using their personal cards to buy software subscriptions and other corporate services, which creates a lot of hassles for back-office staffs and puts burdens on employees juggling credit balances,” Singh said……’
One of the nifty features associated with digital expense management capabilities is the ‘buy, take a picture and file a report’ workflow that eliminates the incredibly annoying multi-platform and form factor processes that remain relatively normal. Making employee travel and business buying easier is a worthy cause for investment. Your workers will like you more for it. Worth a look.
‘After testing the solution for several months with more than a dozen companies, Center is launching CenterCard, a Visa debit card attached to a mobile app that companies may distribute to all or some of their employees with the ability for managers to switch card availability on or off.’
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group