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More companies are transitioning towards automated expense management solutions to streamline processes and improve financial efficiency. SAP Concur is one option many businesses use to enforce their expense policy.
This blog will delve deep into SAP Concur, a widely-used platform, examining its pros, cons, and pricing structure.
We'll also explore more modern alternatives to SAP Concur, like Rho, helping you make an informed decision with a comprehensive understanding of your options.
Automate and enforce your expense policy with ease.
Eliminate late receipt submissions and streamline transaction reconciliation with Rho.
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What is SAP Concur?
SAP Concur is a cloud-based, integrated business travel, expense, and invoice management offered by SAP, a Germany-based enterprise software company.
The platform offers three modules with supporting features depending on your company size and needs:
Concur Expense: Helps businesses manage spending.
Concur Travel: Enables employees to book travel while maintaining compliance.
Concur Invoice: Automates the accounts payable process, including purchase order management, and increases visibility over spending.
Note: SAP Concur does not offer corporate cards, so it is common for businesses to work with legacy corporate card providers like American Express or Capital One and use SAP Concur to process expense reports of spend made using these cards.
Who is Concur for?
SAP Concur is typically used by enterprise-level and mid-market companies across industries like construction, healthcare, and retail, with detailed expense policies, tightly controlled processes, and strict compliance mandates.
However, as discussed later, these users often need help utilizing the platform. Also, for small businesses, SAP Concur can prove too complex to leverage fully and too costly in terms of their return on investment, making it a less preferred choice.
Concur Expense features automated invoice capture via email and other platforms and allows users the flexibility to tailor workflows and establish spending regulations.
The system's automation is designed to adhere to these pre-configured spend rules and approval workflows. You can easily export expense report data into Excel via CSV exports. Yet, some users have reported difficulties navigating its interface and customization offerings.
Concur Invoice is promoted as an automated solution for managing the accounts payable process, promising enhanced visibility of spending and efficient purchase order management.
However, some businesses have noted that this level of automation only sometimes results in a more straightforward or streamlined process.
Concur Travel provides corporate travel management capabilities for employees to book flights, trains, and car rentals with preferred providers while remaining compliant with company policies.
Concur offers specialist assistance for customer queries or booking-related issues. Nonetheless, businesses should be aware of user complaints about the platform's user interface and the quality of service received.
SAP Concur mobile app
SAP Concur offers a mobile application to augment the web-based platform functionality, extending its capabilities to a portable, on-the-go medium.
This mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, is designed to work with all SAP Concur applications, including Concur Expense.
With the app, users can capture and upload receipts using ExpenseIt, import credit card data, notifications for missing documentation and approval statuses, and submit and approve expense reports.
Despite these functionalities, users are advised to consider the criticisms around usability, performance, and customer support issues raised in app store reviews while choosing.
Other SAP Concur solutions
Apart from the primary functions, SAP Concur incorporates other supplementary features:
A feature now included with Concur Expense, ExpenseIt is designed to minimize the need for manual data entries by scanning, categorizing, and itemizing expenses from receipt images.
One benefit of ExpenseIt: Optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning (ML) that scans pictures of receipts and translates the data into expense entries automatically.
This eliminates the need to track physical receipts by providing digital ones directly from vendors. Users should be aware, however, that deploying this function can require agreement to certain conditions, which some may find restrictive.
These additional tools are intended to supplement Concur's primary offerings and enhance the user's experience. But as with the main features, potential users should be aware of the reports of usability and functionality challenges shared in G2 reviews and forums.
Dedicated email inbox
SAP Concur provides a specific feature for managing receipts via a dedicated, verified email inbox. Users can send receipt images to a dedicated email for storage under "Available Receipts."
Additionally, if your company uses ExpenseIt, receipts submitted will be analyzed and automatically transformed into an expense entry under "Available Expenses," simplifying the expense reporting process.
SAP Concur has built a reputation over the years, excelling mainly in these areas:
Robust feature set: As an integrated platform for corporate travel, expense, and invoice management, SAP Concur's comprehensive toolset covers various needs. It can cater to complex enterprise-level requirements and uphold strict compliance, making it a go-to choice for larger firms.
Global reach: Being a part of the SAP ecosystem, SAP Concur is deployed worldwide, thus meeting the needs of multinational organizations with diverse global operations.
Versatile Integrations: Concur integrates with various systems, providing seamless transaction syncing and expense tracking. However, this is contingent on the company adopting other SAP solutions.
SAP Concur cons
Despite its sizable presence and feature-rich platform, recent Concur reviews reflect several growing criticisms:
Frustrating user experience: A common critique is the clunky and confusing interface of SAP Concur. Users often label it as 'outdated and tedious,' causing delays in expense report submissions. This poor user experience leads to disgruntlement and inevitably impacts productivity and process efficiency.
High costs: SAP Concur's pricing is often criticized as prohibitive, especially as it charges on a per-expense-report basis. Furthermore, the lack of transparency in their pricing model adds to customer dissatisfaction.
Extended implementation time: A major drawback often surfaces is the lengthy implementation timeframe. Unlike newer, agile platforms, SAP Concur’s setup can take months, reducing the appeal for businesses seeking quick solutions.
Another issue is that SAP Concur doesn’t offer corporate cards. Despite showcasing an array of features, SAP Concur falls short in its failure to provide integrated corporate cards.
This gap forces businesses to pair up with external card providers, a process that can induce unnecessary delays and complexity, especially during transaction reconciliation at the end of the month.
Compared to more streamlined solutions like Rho, which offers a live data feed for card transactions to sync with the general ledger, businesses using SAP Concur may experience inefficiencies and require manual reconciliation, adding to the workload and undermining overall efficiency.
SAP Concur features
A summary of the critical functions of SAP Concur includes:
Concur Expense: Assists businesses with managing and tracking expenditures.
Concur Travel: Enables booking of travel while maintaining compliance.
Concur Invoice: Streamlines the accounts payable process, including purchase order management, and increases visibility over spending.
Despite its comprehensive toolset, the complexity of SAP Concur often leads to confusion and dissatisfaction among users.
SAP Concur pricing and fees
Pricing remains a touchy topic with SAP Concur due to its lack of transparency. The cost varies based on a company's size and specific needs, but a sales meeting is required to get a quote.
What further compounds the issue is SAP Concur's per-expense-report billing model, which can lead to escalating and unpredictable costs over time.
Moreover, the complexity of implementing SAP Concur could necessitate employing a consulting firm to assist with the setup, adding another cost layer – potentially in the hundreds of thousands – many businesses may not foresee, making the overall pricing less competitive.
What are the best SAP Concur alternatives?
Here are just a few of the best alternatives to SAP Concur that businesses consider.
Rho is the most comprehensive finance platform thousands of American middle-market businesses use to automate their CFO suite: payables, expenses, treasury, banking services, accounting, and more.
With Rho, you can manage and automate employee expenses and vendor invoice payments in one platform that connects with your ERP.
In the Rho platform, you can configure Rho Cards with customizable spend rules that help enforce your expense policy, track expenses, monitor budget spending, and collect documentation like receipts.
When a Rho Card is used, employees receive notifications via SMS or the Rho mobile app to upload their receipts to the platform.
End-to-end finance: Rho offers expense management and other capabilities like AP, banking services, treasury, and corporate cards – all in one platform.
Holistic spend management: With T&E expenses and AP automation in one platform, organizations using Rho get a complete picture of spending.
Free service: The Rho platform has zero platform fees.
Robust multi-entity capabilities: Rho is designed for scale, from 10-person growth-stage startups and 200-plus employee, multi-entity businesses.
Live customer support available: 24H Mon-Fri, 10-7pm ET on weekend to assist with implementation and questions.
Straight cashback vs. points: Some companies prefer legacy corporate card solutions like Amex or Capital One for the point rewards they offer, even if that impacts process speed.
Note: Companies can choose to devalue points whenever they see fit, as was recently demonstrated with Brex’s points repricing.
Rho integrates with QuickBooks Online, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and Sage Intacct.
Rho also supports flat-file CSV exporting, so you can automatically tailor transaction categorization to your business needs. Read more about our accounting integrations here.
Pricing & Fees
The Rho platform is free, with no fees for users, payments, accounts, or the overall platform. Learn more on our pricing page.
Concur vs. Rho
Expensify offers a spend management tool for expense management, corporate cards, and bill payment. The company also offers payroll and travel management services.
Expensify Bill Pay allows users to upload invoices and other expense data. The information is scanned and coded into the platform, and users can set up automated approvals. Customers can choose several payment options, and Bill Pay can manage recurring payments.
Reimbursement process: Straightforward process with the ability to reimburse using direct deposit.
Mobile app: Using the app is intuitive and easy to navigate.
Reports tool: Reports can be created and easily shared with other people.
Receipt processing: Users experience challenges with receipt scanning on mobile and desktop. OCR does not always work well, and incorrect details are often picked up from receipts.
Product promotions: Several reviewers received too many inquiries promoting additional products. Too many pop-ups and notifications.
Billing practices: Several reviewers noted that the billing process could be clearer. Some believed that they were charged incorrectly after canceling Expensify.
Customer support: Many reviewers pointed out a lack of support and that issues were left unresolved for weeks or months
Expensify integrates with QuickBooks, NetSuite, Xero, Sage, and other accounting platforms.
Expensify offers three pricing plans for businesses. If less than 50% of company spend is on the Expensify card, businesses pay a fee based on the amount of card use.
Expensify requires you to book a sales call to get a specific quote based on your expected card use.
Expensify vs. Rho
Capturing receipt data can be difficult using Expensify. Rho’s expense management process lets you capture real-time receipts without glitches.
Several Expensify reviewers noted a need for more follow-up on customer support issues, and Rho customer support is available: 24H Mon-Fri, 10-7pm ET on weekends. Expensify has a confusing price structure that some believe is too expensive. Rho does not charge platform fees.
What should you look for in expense management software?
Choosing an appropriate expense management software is a crucial decision that directly influences your financial processes. Here are indispensable criteria to guide your selection.
The software should provide clear expense reporting and implement stringent spending controls. Additionally, it should include an intuitive system for automated receipt capture.
Real-time synchronization of transaction data ensures a smooth and accurate month-end close process, delivering enhanced transparency and improved decision-making options.
Criteria 2: Robust Integrations
The capability of the expense management software to integrate efficiently with your existing ERP system and other enterprise software is vital. Such robust integration aids consistent data flow, streamlines workflows, and minimizes manual entry errors.
This characteristic can significantly simplify your financial processes, contributing to a more cohesive operational structure.
Criteria 3: User Experience and Customizability
Essential to an effective expense software solution is ensuring both the finance team and end-users find the system intuitive, user-friendly, and straightforward.
From a finance perspective, the software should provide easy controls for cost management, complex budget handling, and efficient reporting mechanisms.
On the other hand, for end-users, submitting expenses, capturing receipts, and following up on approvals should be seamless - a factor where SAP Concur often needs to catch up, resulting in delays in expense submissions.
The delay is compounded by the knock-on effect of slowing down the month-end close process and reimbursements.
The software must be customizable to adapt to your unique organizational processes, ensuring its efficiencies aren't hampered by forced fit. The solution should encourage prompt cost tracking and user auditing while delivering a smooth, uncomplicated experience.
Choosing software that successfully balances these user experiences will ensure that expense management isn't a point of stress within your organization, and it can streamline operations and increase overall productivity.
FAQs: SAP Concur
Is SAP Concur good?
This is subjective, but while SAP Concur offers robust services to enterprise and middle-market businesses, customers frequently complain about the platform’s lack of user-friendly design.
Users most commonly cite the UX as causing delays in employees submitting their expenses, high fees for the software, and lengthy implementations.
What is the difference between SAP Concur and SAP Ariba?
Whereas SAP Concur is for expense and travel management, Ariba provides invoice management software, which SAP acquired in 2012.
Ariba integrates with other SAP finance and operational solutions, allows users to set up rules and workflows, and provides automated invoice processing to simplify the accounts payable process.
How does Concur pay out expenses?
All reimbursements through SAP Concur are paid via ACH direct deposit to an employee or contractor’s linked bank account. The process usually takes 3-5 business days after final approvals are secured.
How much does Concur cost per expense report?
G2 customer reviews report each expense report costing $9 on average. This is in addition to the ongoing monthly fees that SAP Concur charges.
Conclusion: Is SAP Concur right for you?
If you are looking for an expense management solution to help streamline the process for your business, you may be considering SAP Concur. In summary, many mid-market and enterprise businesses use SAP Concur due to brand familiarity and capabilities.
However, users often express frustration with how expensive the software is. SMBs likely can’t use the platform’s capabilities fully, and the solution isn’t as user-friendly as many would like - pushing more businesses to switch to modern expense solutions like Rho.
If you’re interested in scheduling a demo to see how Rho streamlines expenses in seconds, sign up today.
Competitive data was collected as of January 30, 2024, and is subject to change or update.