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December 17, 2020

The Difference Between No Expenses and No Expense Reports

TripActions Liquid™ reinvented payments and spend management when it launched earlier this year, and since its groundbreaking launch, the fintech space has remained red hot. Now, as 2021 and the new fiscal year approach, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the technology behind the No Expenses launch and illustrating how that concept is different from other solutions that simply offer to add some automation features to expense reports.

At first blush, one might think that the differences between No Expenses and No Expense Reports might be little more than a turn of the phrase. In reality, however the concepts are completely different.

TripActions Liquid is a technology stack that works towards a future of No Expenses. It opens a brand new door into a world where expenses go straight from card swipe to accounting software.

Put another way, TripActions Liquid solves the policy and payment technology equations so that when a card is swiped or any other payment is filed the expense is automatically recognized, reconciled and, if necessary, reimbursed as a function of the policy constraints set by the platform. The entire process of expense management, in this case, is connected, resolved and -- in many cases -- eradicated.

Where TripActions Liquid is unique is in its ability to tie virtual and physical cards directly to policy to prevent improper spend. So if an employee has a $100 per diem for a business trip to Boston and that person swipes to pay for a $300 steak, TripActions Liquid catches that and declines or flags the transaction at the point of sale with in-auth policy controls. If the traveler decides to put an egregious $400 room service bill on a TripActions Liquid card, that’s picked up too and the transaction will be declined.

That same formula dynamically holds in Omaha, Nebraska where the $300 steak may be a $100 prime rib and the $400 room service bill may be $200 -- all based on localized policy constraints.

This full stack solution not only automates all areas of expense management, but provides real-time visibility and granular policy controls that enterprise teams need to create robust T&E programs, effectively eliminating expenses in the process.

Eliminating expense reports, by contrast, or using software to identify transactions based on a fixed budget, is a simpler subset of the wider stack. While it’s true that the process of filing an expense report can be streamlined and automated by some new technologies on the market, tying everything to travel policy, actively monitoring transactions as a function of trip and automatically recognizing and reconciling expenses is the real solution that finance teams need to truly save time and money. The only way to eliminate expenses completely is with real-time, dynamic controls where there are contextual clues coming in from the travel platform.

Questions to Ask when Considering an integrated Travel & Expense Solution As more companies make the decision to move towards a unified travel, expense and payments solution, it’s worth keeping the fundamental benefits in mind as the selection process narrows. These questions can help drive the journey:

  • Does the solution automatically reconcile all T&E spend? A critical component to modern T&E solutions is the ability to not only recognize and auto-approve spend tied to travel or other business purchase but also automatically reconcile the payment. Only a full stack solution with context into travel, policy, employee and payment vehicle can do this.

  • Does the solution take the employee’s journey into mind when building and enforcing policy? By adding travel policy constraints, a full solution can recognize appropriate spend as a function of destination or other metric set by the program manager.

  • Does the solution allow you to create policies for new expense categories with changing market conditions? Setting up clear business expense categories help finance teams understand where cash has been deployed and create budgets, allocate resources and make cuts in times of crises. If expenses aren’t accurately categorized, it makes it harder for finance teams to investigate what’s being spent and why.

  • Does the solution give finance teams policy control and visibility at the point of purchase? TripActions Liquid allows for card swipes (physical or virtual) to be spot checked against policy at the time of the transaction, reducing the occurrence of improper spend and helping finance teams better manage budgets.

  • Can cards be turned on and off automatically based on when an employee is on a trip? To better manage spend, virtual and physical cards in the TripActions Liquid ecosystem can also be turned on and off as a function of trip, helping to increase security and reduce improper spend.

  • Does the T&E solution allow for ancillary spend such as office spot purchases or light procurement? While most expenses in a company tend to come from travel, to get the full utility out of a payment solution it should have the capability to handle routine, office purchases and light procurement. Your employees may not travel frequently, or even at all, but chances are that they’ll need to occasionally buy things on behalf of the company.

  • Does the solution allow managers to control the review spectrum of transactions? Properly eliminating expense management allows finance teams to effectively leave the approval process to policy already built into the platform. When that policy is broken, however, modern T&E solutions allow for tight review of outlying spend, streamlining the process of approval. That approval spectrum can also be widened to have the manager review the full report, if company policy dictates.

Modern finance teams are turning to smart, flexible expense policies to proactively drive compliance, efficiency, and cost control. To learn more, visit TripActions Liquid.

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