In a sentence: SAP Concur wanted a payments partner that could integrate with their platform and support their customers’ international payments process.
SAP Concur: By the Numbers
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About the SAP Concur and TransferMate Partnership
Integration is a very modern method of innovation. Combining the power of one great idea with another has the potential to deliver a whole plethora of new solutions to a marketplace.
SAP Concur is a great idea. It’s one of the world’s leading expense, travel, and vendor invoice solutions. It combines all spending into one system, providing a single way to manage spending from end-to-end, and simplify the process for everyone.
TransferMate’s great idea was to build a global payments infrastructure to outperform the traditional banking network, allowing payments to travel faster, more transparently, and more cost-effectively around the world.
In 2018, SAP Concur and TransferMate came together to embed TransferMate’s infrastructure into the Concur platform, making it easier for SAP clients to make international payments.
SAP Concur wanted to expand and improve their offering to customers, from SMEs to Enterprise-level organizations, particularly when it came to international payments.
There were three major improvements they wanted to make through a partnership with TransferMate: 1) Expand their global footprint when it comes to international payments, adding available currencies and territories for users, 2) Give users more choice in the method that they pay with, and 3) automate the accounts payable process within SAP Concur to reduce administration time for customers and make it easier for users to make payments.
Previously, the SAP Concur system was limited in the international payments space because its payments network was focused on the North American market. This meant their customers were extremely limited in being able to pay with any currency other than a US or Canadian dollar.
“Our clients were running into situations where they’ve got vendors that need to be paid in international countries, and they struggled with being able to either get decent rates through their existing treasury relationship’ said Dave Owen, Director of Global FSI Partnerships and Alliances at SAP Concur. ‘Or they’d have had to go down the route of opening up a new presence in that country because they feel that that’s the only way to get these vendors paid.”
Similarly, their network also limited their customers to using certain methods for payment, such as check. They would then have to process the payment outside of Concur and therefore it could take a long time to process, be non-transparent, and be costlier than it should be.
“For quite some time, we’ve only had the ability to issue check or ACH in the US for our vendor payments. It simply wasn’t enough in terms of choice for our customers. Then we found there was an opportunity to leverage ecosystems that existed out there to do things better. By working with partners like TransferMate, we’ve been able to provide extended payment modalities for these customers.”
Finally, the automation challenge was a complex but important one to resolve. Previously, SAP Concur users would have to download payments data from their SAP Concur system, upload it to their banking system, and then do rigorous cross-checking and reconciliation to ensure no errors or potential fraudulent activities (such as changing banking details between these data downloads and uploads).
Within a few months, the TransferMate and SAP Concur teams had produced a solution – PaymentsHub.
PaymentsHub sits within the SAP Concur app store. Users can embed PaymentsHub into their SAP Concur platform when they want to improve their international payments process. The implementation process is quick and easy – a business can be set-up within a day or two.
But how exactly does it solve those challenges SAP and their customers were facing?
When it comes to expanding their international payments footprint, partnering with TransferMate gave them an instant resolution. TransferMate has the largest non-bank licensing footprint in the world and, even including all major banks, TransferMate has the third largest. This allows SAP Concur customers to have the ability to pay easily in 140+ currencies and in 200+ countries.
What’s more, with the infrastructure TransferMate has built, these payments all happen within a single ecosystem (compared to correspondence banking where payments can travel within multiple banks before arriving at its destination) making them more cost-effective, more transparent, and faster.
“TransferMate brought something different to the table with the international payments. And it’s not simply just, “Let’s take the US dollar, impose the FX rates on top of that, and then simply claim that we’re able to do international payments.” No, you guys went through the effort of building a very real, and global, payments infrastructure.”
That long journey of building this global payment infrastructure through acquiring individual national licenses and connecting them via technology pays off in these exact instances. It’s that solid foundation, combined with a smooth platform, that makes PaymentsHub such an effective solution.
“It’s given the SAP Concur the ability to move beyond relying on an ACH to make international payments, which meant the payments essentially took place outside of our system. This makes payments more difficult to track, reconcile, and means more work has to be done to check for fraud. We’ve now got the functionality to be able to provide international payments all within Concur Invoice itself – that makes a big difference.”
No. of Transactions
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Payments Flow by Value
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The PaymentsHub integration also expanded the way users could pay. The Concur platform had offered users the ability to pay with card, check, ACH, wires etc., but only within the US and Canada. Any payment that went outside that region became subject to delays and additional costs. With PaymentsHub, SAP Concur could now offer all the same methods to pay in regions right across the world.
Automation and simplification of the AP process were the capstone of the project. By linking disparate systems through API integration, PaymentsHub users are now able to reduce their administration time, while also reducing errors and the risk for fraud.
“The work that TransferMate has done to make international payments as simple as possible is second-to-none. Our customers don’t have to go outside of the Concur platform to process payments for any step of the journey. We’ve been able to provide a more streamlined, simplified approach for our customers, while also giving them more options on how and where they can pay.”
That work of automating pain points and tying disparate systems together in an easy-to-use platform is continually ongoing.
‘TransferMate has done a great job in helping us in our own development work and some of the enhancements we’ve done with those APIs over the years. We’re getting really good at reconciliation back into ERP systems and the work we’ve done together, the input we’ve had – not only from TransferMate but from our joint customers – has helped us get to this point.”
The automation strategy was always underpinned by focus on solving customer pain points, not automation for the sake of it.
“Any time we talk about AP, our minds have always traditionally gone to AP automation, but that’s only an answer if you know what the question is. We really need to understand what it is our customers are trying to solve around their AP pains. Quite often it’s the payments process, and all that goes on behind that, that they need to solve for first, which can also be supported by an automation solution at the same time.”
Through solving these three key pain points – payment reach, payment options, and automation – the Concur Invoice platform now provides a much more seamless international payments functionality.
It has also allowed SAP Concur to target a greater range of customers, both in size and geography. They can now onboard an SME in Europe as easily as they were able to previously in the US, and that SME can grow exponentially without ever having to move off the platform.
“It doesn’t matter which industry that you’re playing in or what size of organization you are. At the end of the day, there are spend management requirements for every organization. That’s the opportunity there that’s been so great. We’ve got organizations that have vendors all over the world that need to be paid, hence the invaluable nature of what TransferMate brings by way of international payments. That doesn’t stop from the small through to the midsize organizations – it extends itself right into the largest of businesses as well.”
“And it’s not these advancements that we’ve made that gives me such confidence in TransferMate, it’s the way we’ve advanced together. You guys have gone above and beyond what we’d expect at every stage. The way the platform and the product offering continues to evolve year after year needs to be called out – and the value and benefits it’s brought are customers has been second to none.”
The Final Word
“Would I recommend TransferMate as a partner? Absolutely, although I don’t want to share you guys with anybody else! We always tell our customers to consider PaymentsHub by TransferMate where it’s identified that international payments are a priority, and we’ve had phenomenal growth and adoption since it was launched.”Dave Owen, Director of Global FSI Partnerships and Alliances, SAP Concur
If you are a SAP Concur customer looking to improve their international payment process, contact the team today.