Using your data to manage your business expense effectively

Good expense data is hard to beat. It shows where you’ve been, what you’ve achieved and how much it cost. Most importantly, it allows you to adjust your plans for even greater success in the future.

Four applications for quality expense data

  • Negotiate better deals at your most frequently used hotels and suppliers
  • Compare your expense spend to regional industry peers
  • Reduce fraud risk via alert notifications
  • Monitor delinquent card members to reduce fees/penalties

Using your data to manage your business expense effectively

But that only works if your data is of a high enough quality, with numbers you can trust, that tell you something you didn’t already know. In order for expense data to be of any use, it must be aligned across employees, regions and departments, and then consolidated in a way that enlightens rather than overwhelms.

American Express is the only payment solutions company with a global presence in all parts of the payment chain to create a closed loop of data. We operate as a card issuer, network, processor and merchant acquirer, so we can see payment transactions from both the cardmember and the merchant perspective.

The 6 billion annual transactions on this closed loop produce high quality data from card members, merchants and businesses who use American Express payment solutions. This data includes not only the fact that a transaction was made, but also the amount of the transaction and the exact vendor, allowing you to better analyze trends and information on your spending.

Receiving quality data from your corporate payment solution provider is an important first step, but it’s up to you to apply that data to your business strategy. Here are four ways to leverage this data:

1. Negotiation Power
Quality data allows you to analyze company spend across industries, suppliers and your organization to potentially streamline travel and procurement policies. It will show which hotels you use the most, and when, or how supplier billing cycles match, or clash, with your own cash flow needs. Once you have a clear picture of these spending habits, you are empowered to go to vendors to negotiate for better bulk discounts, rewards or an adjusted billing cycle.

2. Peer Comparison
Compare your expense spend to regional industry peers. The right data set allows for valuable peer-set benchmarking. How much are you spending on T&E versus other companies in your industry and region? Compare your company’s efficiency to that of others.

3. Fraud Alerts
Transparency and well documented transactions allow you to better monitor transactions to detect unusual or potentially suspicious activity and file reports with regulators or law enforcement, conduct risk-based audits on a periodic basis and promptly correct any deficiencies. Detect potentially inappropriate spending and set alerts so that you can be notified of large transactions made by card members. Quick transaction reporting helps you spot, and prevent fraud before there is a substantial loss.

4. Monitor Delinquency
Timely card-by-card account data allows you to prevent, identify and address card member delinquency to reduce fees and penalties. Set default alerts that tell administrators when an account reaches 30 days overdue. Monitor program over-due balances for seasonalities. This also protects your program’s ROI and avoids point-of-sale disruptions.

@ Work Reporting allows decision makers such as financial managers, account payable/receivable managers, procurement officers, business analysts and administrators to pull data in a format that suits their needs (PDF, Excel, CSV) for greater insight into their company’s spend. This enables them to make informed decisions about suppliers, card members and employees where they want to reduce their outgoing costs, maximize cash flow and ensure internal policies are adhered to.

Using @ Work, an administrator has the power to control credit limits, cancellations and spend ability in real time in case of crisis or theft. Administrators can instantly suspend or cancel any card with a single click, putting quality data to work.

Please contact us for more information.