Before Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) set about resolving its employee expenses processes, claims were all over the place. The global company managed expenses on a highly localised basis, using an intricate, confusing and opaque array of Excel spreadsheets.
“There was a big risk involved with our expense accounting at the time,” recalls financial controller Fergal O’Connor. “There was a lot of scope for manual error, and we had very little visibility into our expenses globally.”
“That meant we couldn’t get the best deals out of hotel companies and airlines, for example,” O’Connor explains. “Plus, in terms of fraud detection, there were a lot of loopholes.”
The company therefore deployed an online expense management system from Concur. “We were very taken with the online aspect of Concur,” recalls O’Connor. “It was very user-friendly, and gave us considerable visibility into the expense approval process.”
“The fact that Concur hosts all the data was a boon for us once we’d got some written guarantees about availability and disaster recovery plans,” he adds. “Plus, the fact that Concur could work with our credit card providers and integrate with SAP was attractive.”
But O’Connor admits that there was never a point when AMO considered an on-premise solution. “We have a presence in so many countries, that it was going to be difficult to get a system that could incorporate all the different tax laws,” he explains.
“Doing that in-house wasn’t really a runner – the cost would have been prohibitive,” he says.