Blog Image // How TripActions is Changing Spot Purchasing
Dec 9, 2020

How TripActions is Changing Spot Purchasing

Thomas Long

Technology & InnovationReturn to blog

Employees are spending money in new and unique ways, and legacy tools for spot purchasing are lagging behind a new suite of solutions coming to market led by TripActions Liquid™.

Lack of control, complex approval flows, manual processes, outdated user interfaces, and more pain points plague the market. Read on for more about the pains associated with spot purchasing and how TripActions Liquid sets out to solve them.

The Traditional Approach to Spot Purchasing

Traditionally, spot purchasing (spend between around $1000 and $5000) has fallen into a unique area of spend management between smaller spend and large-scale procurement. One side of spend management includes typical expenses such as airfare, hotels, coffee, meals, and other often-travel-related expenses. On the other side, general procurement includes very large purchases like raw materials, production goods, or large scale software subscriptions.

Spot purchasing, though, has been traditionally bucketed in with the strict, slow world of general procurement because there hasn’t been much technology dedicated to it. This holds employees and companies back. It means purchasing some office supplies goes through the same process as purchasing large-scale software subscriptions like Amazon Web Services.

With the rising adoption of SaaS and workplace productivity tools, however, more employees are making spot purchasing decisions on behalf of the company. Employees are paying for events, software subscriptions, advertising, and more.

Changing the way that Employees Purchase

Today’s employees expect convenience, ease, and simplicity. And just like employees now expect a consumer-like experience out of corporate travel tools, many expect company finance solutions to have the same experience as consumer tools like Venmo, Chime or Robinhood.

By extension, many current corporate fintech tools simply aren’t meeting those consumer-like expectations. When surveyed about company fintech solutions both employees and finance teams regularly cite a host of pain points with their in-house solutions ranging from manual processes to lengthy reimbursement.

To balance corporate needs with consumer expectations, companies need seamless processes from budget to spend to accounting software without losing control and visibility.

How Spot Purchasing is Broken

Traditional spot purchasing processes include complex approval flows. Employees often are required to go through a large approval chain that can include finance, procurement, security, and sometimes legal teams. This can take days to weeks, leading to wasted time on the part of the employee and the approvers. These arduous approval processes can even bring about payment bottlenecks, meaning vendors have to wait longer for payment. By extension, payment data is not available in real time. Legacy tools aren’t intelligent enough to flex around this rigidity.

Next, traditional spot purchasing tools and processes strip employees of independence and slow the entire transaction down. The process rigidity reduces flexibility on vendor choice, even for the smallest purchases. Employees want to be able to make quick, smart decisions for the business, and feel stymied when unnecessarily rigid approval processes stop them.

Traditional tools also lead to lack of real-time visibility and the shadow IT problem that Cisco suggests is a pain point for finance and IT organizations. With traditional tools, ERP connection can be cumbersome, employees use corporate cards without knowledge of policy, and non-compliant spend is reviewed after the fact. This causes periodic visibility, duplicative purchases, and no way to identify potentially harmful payment issues in real-time.

It is clear that this process is lagging behind the technology that exists today. TripActions Liquid was built to rethink the way companies handle spend management.

How TripActions Liquid Approaches Spot Purchasing

TripActions Liquid provides two types of on-demand virtual purchase cards to pay for ad hoc corporate spend. Companies can issue subscription cards for recurring payments or single-use cards that close automatically based on defined parameters. TripActions Liquid is a breakthrough product, and it solves the typical pains associated with spot purchasing on top of its myriad strengths in travel, payments and expense.

TripActions Liquid automates complex approval flows and grants independence to employees. The solution allows admins to create a host of parameters that automate the approval process. Admins can control pre-approved budgets, expiration dates, renewal frequency for subscriptions, and more. All of this allows employees to make fast, flexible purchase decisions on behalf of the company while also ensuring control and visibility for the finance and accounting teams. Furthermore, this automation of the approval process means immediate payment to vendors, with data that instantly flows to the ERP.

Real-time visibility into business spend is critical to a healthy business. Accounting and finance teams, though, often scramble at the end of the month to review non-compliant spend. When employees use TripActions Liquid cards for spot purchasing, granular purchase data is available instantly and after-the-fact payments are vanquished. Since TripActions handles travel, payments, expense management, and spot purchasing, finance teams have full visibility of all business spend in one central dashboard.

To learn more about how TripActions is revolutionizing spend management, visit

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