Certify Adds Global Payments Feature via Western Union

certify expense report logo

Certify Expense Reports

Certify announced this week that Certify Payments service “can directly remit employee expense reimbursements and vendor invoice payments directly to designated bank accounts in a range of currencies for both domestic and international transactions.” This service is available in 45 currencies to help more companies further automate their mid and back office T&E processes. Certify first launched an invoice payments solution three years ago and currently has customer’s in over 90 countries.

Last month it was reported that Western Union was in talks with Ripple (aka XBR) to add blockchain capabilities to their payment systems. Western Union sees Ripple, and blockchain technology, as a way to future proof their global payments platform. Technology investments like Ripple could bring additional capabilities to the Certify platform. Blockchain technology could become an integral part of B2B payments, global supply chains and expense reports.

Here is a video that explains the Western Union’s Mass Payments API services

Western Union Mass Payments API from New ELM on Vimeo.


Concur adds voice with Amazon Alexa

The Concur Labs blog has more information on the new integration with Amazon Alexa, a hands-free voice enabled service. Amazon customers can interact with Alexa through various devices like Amazon Echo. Users can “ask Alexa about upcoming business trips, flights, hotel bookings and transportation.” 

The Amazon with Concur solution was highlighted at TechEd Live in 2015 as part of SAP Cloud for Customer so it is exciting to see the newest features of this technology.

The Amazon Alexa service is available for beta testers who link their Concur account profile with their Amazon profile. Then simply say, “Alexa, ask Concur ____.” Example questions are illustrated like, “what is my flight number” or “do I have a car booked.” The Concur Labs team is planning to expand the service and at this point they are considering new features with TripIt and Hipmunk.

TripIt could expand the Alexa service beyond just business travel questions as many travelers use TripIt for leisure trips. This could increase the adoption of the Concur/Alexa service for business travel.

Concur is growing up, now SAP Concur

Concur announced a re-branding of their name to SAP Concur and a new company logo to match. SAP agreed to acquire Concur in September 2014 and the deal was finished by December for $8.4 billion. This timeline is very similar to that of SAP Ariba. SAP acquired Ariba in May 2012 and then changed the name to SAP Ariba in January 2016. SAP followed a similar path with SuccessFactors (Dec 2011 to Jan 2016).

SAP Concur Re-Branding


The continued growth and success of SAP’s other lines of business show that the road ahead for SAP Concur looks very promising. The slightly more accelerated path with Concur (compared to Ariba and SuccessFactors) may well indicate that SAP’s M&A group has become ever more efficient…. or maybe they saved that much time by using Concur T&E instead of their legacy ERP based solution? Could be a whitepaper in the making here.

As part of the announcement, Concur err SAP Concur is focusing on the branding as a way to increase scale, provide more powerful solutions and leverage a more connected experience. In 2017 this has been very visible for SAP Concur customers using native integration to SAP financials. My hope is that 2018 will do the same for HR data from SAP SuccessFactors.

What else in in store for 2018? Expect the ‘powerful solutions’ and ‘greater scale’ to materialize as an increased focus on Concur’s invoicing capabilities and perhaps our first tastes of Concur transitioning it’s spend data solutions to SAP HANA analytics. With SAP’s drive to HANA and a name change to SAP Concur, the shift away from the IBM Cognos BI tool is fast approaching.

SAP Concur with HANA

FCPA Professor’s 2017 Bribery Review Video

Bribery is a significant risk for all businesses, especially those trying to expand operations into developing markets. While the bulk of the money being used to bribe will pass through an invoice, most bribery schemes included business trips, meals and other spend that ALSO went into an expense report.

Below is a recap of bribery news from 2017 so you can be better prepared for the risks ahead.


Free 90 Minute 2017 FCPA Year In Review Video

Travel managers can get corporate data from Lyft

The ride sharing platform Lyft has signed a partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) that allows CWT to offer Lyft ground transportation services to its US based clients.

“Giving our clients the best end-to-end traveler experience is our unwavering commitment,” said Jim Hartnett, vice president of global supplier management for Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “We are excited about our new Lyft partnership and are focused on delivering best-in-class services for our travelers to reach their destinations in a safe and convenient way.”

Lyft Business Profiles first launched in April 2016 which allowed users (riders) to create a business profile and mark individual rides for business to make their expense report process easier. During last year’s focus on business travel Lyft also created scheduled rides, integrations with Concur and a Concierge service for travel arrangers.

According to spend data from Certify, Lyft has gone to 11% of the business travel market share and Uber dominating with 54%. Lyft can service 95% of the US population and entering more formally into the corporate travel industry with partnerships like CWT could accelerate their overall growth.