TripActions Head of Payments Robin Gandhi recently joined Payments on Fire, a podcast series from Glenbrook Partners, to talk about how TripActions Liquid is transforming travel and expense management with a multiplayer fintech approach. Their conversation touched on the major trends and factors impacting fintech innovation today and how TripActions Liquid is completely reinventing expense management.
“We want to empower these distributed workforces. Working remotely is the new normal, and we want to give employees the ability to make spend decisions while also allowing CFOs to maintain control,” Robin explained on the podcast. TripActions Liquid provides employees with a physical or virtual card controlled by their company, so they can make those decisions in policy—without putting the company at risk.
The podcast host George Peabody highlighted how the fintech tools we have today wouldn’t have been possible to build five years ago.
“This is the exciting part for me,” responded Robin. “I’ve been in payment for a long time, so to be able to combine what I think is the best in terms of next-generation technology and the infrastructure to create beautiful user experiences is what I’m most excited about.”
While the front-end experience for employees and finance leaders is seamless, what Robin and George are particularly impressed by is the integrations possible on the back end with partners like Visa, Stripe, Plaid, and Modern Treasury. TripActions Liquid is also built as a mobile-first product, where users can track their expenses without having to even touch their desktop.
With all great innovations, of course, there’s a period in which the market adapts to a new way of operating.
“Our biggest challenge is this change management process because, up until now, it’s always been a process of submitting a big expense, getting it fully approved, and then pushing it to the ERP system, where finance leaders got visibility. Now we’re saying, ‘We’re going to apply the policy in real time, based on what you want and, if the policy applies, it’s going to go through. Otherwise it’s going to get flagged and someone from the finance team is going to review it.’ It’s a big change, because you no longer need to have big expense reports that you are reimbursing on payroll every two weeks. The transactions are flowing through and you’re getting visibility,” explained Robin.
“We’re trying to bring a lot of context into spend management, and it’s weird that it hasn’t been done until now. We live in a crazy hyper-connected world. We know what everyone’s doing and we’re connected all the time. There’s all these data signals that are coming in. The crazy part is that if you think about how expense management has been done up until now, finance leaders have no context, except for maybe what someone writes quickly in the memo line. What we’re able to do now is, be able to bridge all of that data into a place where you can make informed decisions against it.”
“I’ve never been a great fan of expense reports and always hated filling them out,” concluded George. “I’m loving this intersection of sophisticated payments capability as applied to the whole broad problem of expense management.”