American Express Streamlining Expense Management Solutions Globally

Saru Kaushal
Saru Kaushal, Vice President and General Manager,  Global Corporate Payments, American Express India

American Express, the global leader in expense management solutions, is offering customised solutions to over 600,000 corporates across the globe, and 70 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use its expense management solutions, says Saru Kaushal, Vice President and General Manager,  Global Corporate Payments, American Express India, in conversation with  Rashi Aditi Ghosh of Elets News Network (ENN).

How is the concept of ‘expense management solutions’ growing among Indian companies? What is its significance?

The Indian economy has been growing at a growth rate of seven per cent approximately. With the government’s intervention across the board, providing the right fillip to the ecosystem, the Indian industry is bullish on making the most of this opportunity. And while making profits, expanding the business, and increasing revenue remains the mainstay, India Inc. is also realising the growing impact of expenses (like business travel, marketing, procurement etc.) on its bottom-line.

For any organisation, managing expenses effectively is as important as growing revenue. Therefore, efficient expense management solutions are equally important for both, small and large businesses, to track their spending and control their expenses. Moreover, efficient management of expenses establishes transparency, control and increases savings while ensuring minimal expense errors in the finance structure. Therefore, it becomes critical for companies to identify expenditure trends and abnormal spending behaviour to drive compliance and frame finance policies, and better control expenses.

In India, American Express works with over 13,000 large corporates and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to streamline purchasing, simplify reporting and reconcile processes for a company’s work related expenses.

Kindly apprise us on the expense management solutions offered by American Express. How does it help in improving the compliance?

Being a global leader in expense management solutions, American Express is today offering customised solutions to over 600,000 corporates globally, and 70 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use our expense management solutions.

We understand the varying requirements of businesses, and their focus on managing expenses efficiently in this competitive business environment. Companies are realising that the key to increasing bottom and top line growth is efficient expense management along with revenue growth.

American Express offers an array of customised expense management solutions in India:

  • Corporate Purchasing Solution – This customisable and flexible web-based corporate account tool helps organisations to streamline their commodity spend on items such as telecom, stationary, utility bills, procurement etc. This helps companies drive savings for business, by improving purchasing procedure, and ensures greater compliance and control over expenses. American Express uses its proprietary closed loop model for data analytics to provide 24/7 access to MIS reports online. The data analysed can be sorted, and customised according to a corporate’s individual requirement.
  • Corporate Cards – With American Express’s Corporate Cards namely – The American Express® Platinum Corporate Card, The Jet Airways American Express® Corporate Card, The American Express® Corporate Meeting Card and The American Express® Corporate Card, organisations can efficiently manage their travel and entertainment expense, the second most controllable expense after employee salaries.  Moreover, companies also get the advantage to redeem fabulous reward points.
  • Business Travel Accounts – With the American Express Business Travel Accounts (BTA), corporates get the opportunity of consolidating and centralising all travel and entertainment billings helping them keep a tab on expenses. BTA also provides comprehensive travel data and monthly billing for extended payment terms. With single account number, companies enjoy improved expense visibility.
  • Buyer Initiated Payments is a push payment solution linked with American Express corporate card, to ensure complete control and timely payments to vendors. The solution provides companies with extended payment terms, ensuring timely negotiated payments to vendors. This online solution removes the hassle of paperwork, ensuring all the documents are submitted digitally.

Our efficient expense management solutions help companies ensure the improvement of compliance. Since we operate on a unique global closed loop network with both Cardmember and Merchants, transparency of expenses is ensured at every stage for both the parties. Also, with our expertise of Data Analytics, we provide regular MIS reports to companies based on real transactional data, helping companies understand expenditure trends, abnormal expenditure behaviour. This can further help in framing compliance policies to avoid over spend of expenses. Clearly, expense management solutions ensure that any out-of-policy-spends can be reported to the company.

In sync with the “Digital India” initiative, the Indian BFSI sector has witnessed several advancements but the risk of malware is also growing. How do you ensure safe transactions?

Recent developments in the payments sector have brought an amalgamation of digital payments, driving India’s move towards a ‘less cash economy’. With about 55 per cent rise in digital payment in 2016-2017, the government is working towards creating a more transparent, seamless and convenient financial ecosystem. While this transformation will see its own set of challenges, the country’s economy is headed on the right path of digital financial evolution.

American Express’ payment process is close looped network that ensures high data security at all levels of the payment process and therefore not leave any scope for a payment to be made off the record. We also take various other measures to monitor an account and offer world class customer services so that companies can reach us easily in case of any problem they face.

Some of the measures include:

Secure Website for Servicing Account

We use 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology for secured transmissions online. This means that when you are on our secure website, the sensitive data transferred between you and American Express is encrypted.

Automatic Time Outs

To ensure safety, the accounts automatically log out after 10 minutes of inactivity and are required to log in again to re-access the account.

Additionally, we also ensure payment protection by offering self-selected user ID and password, email confirmation of password recovery, pre-purchase verification, monitoring of the account for suspicious transactions and irregular account activity alert.

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