After the major travel restrictions related to the pandemic were lifted, we began to travel for business purposes again. Therefore, the processes related to bookings and accounting for business travel as well as other employee expenses have been revived.
Employees accustomed to automation can rely on IT systems. They allow them to save time and account for the entire trip online, for instance while waiting for baggage reclaim or during transfers. This undoubtedly increases the comfort of accounting for business trips. The next day after coming back from a business trip the employee can attend to their duties rather than spend time on the cumbersome activity of collecting and describing tickets and invoices related to the trip. More and more employers are focusing on improving the so-called ‘user experience’ in the process of accounting for business travel by means of automated IT systems.
A challenge that the MDDP Outsourcing team has faced recently was actually related to the implementation and integration of the SAP Concur system, which is a very good example of a modern and automatic business travel management solution.
The SAP Concur system includes three basic modules:
The process of integration with other systems it is often initiated by travel service providers. These are, for example, car rental companies, hotel chains, etc. A deep integration has been carried out between SAP Concur and the Uber for Business platform. It is possible to set travel-related corporate policies in the application so that the employee is only prompted with the options that they are allowed to use. This solution saves time and helps avoid unnecessary misunderstandings between the company and the employee.
Combining SAP Concur with the HR system makes it possible to automatically create an account for a new employee, assign the account according to the company’s hierarchy and set up expense approval paths. It is worth emphasising that in the case of accounting for expenses of higher-level employees, it is possible to configure the system in such a way that the administration of a given employee’s business expenses can be handled by an assistant, and an appropriately set approval path allows for efficient document processing.
In the SAP system, we also have the option to choose whether managers and employees will be able to add further approvers to the report approval path. With this option, after a report is approved or submitted, the manager or employee will see a button that allows them to select another approver. The selected approver will be added to the approval path after them, and then the report will follow the existing path.
The MDDP team, as an outsourcing partner in the field of accounting, HR and payroll, has participated in the integration of SAP Concur with the Enova system. It was necessary to establish a team consisting of experts in the fields of accounting, taxes, HR and payroll as well as SAP and Enova consultants.
INTEGRATION WITH FINANCIAL AND ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS
The most important area of integration from the perspective of accounting and taxes is the connection between SAP Concur and the ERP system or another financial and accounting system. Naturally, the integration path within the SAP family is simpler. What if other programmes need to be used?
In the case of simple integration, the SAP Concur QuickBooks financial integration guide, available on the SAP help website, will prove useful. Most often, however, professional support for system integration will be necessary.
The most difficult issue is adjusting the system settings to local tax and documentation requirements. The main areas that require attention are as follows:
The posting process includes the submission of expense reports and invoices ready for posting. Data are migrated by way of transmission from the SAP Concur system to the financial system with the use of the API interface from the SAP Concur platform.
In the case of integration with SAP systems, the relevant documents appear automatically in the system, ready to be posted. With other financial and accounting systems, a SAE (Standard Accounting Extract) file is used. This file contains all the information necessary to book the documents, including:
The accounting file can be generated automatically (e.g. every morning). Most frequently, the Excel format works well in integration processes. Such a file is imported into the financial and accounting system. This method of automation gives measurable time savings for the accounting team and makes it possible to avoid mistakes related to manual data entry.
When integrating systems, we place the greatest emphasis on the synchronisation of databases between them. These are mainly the applicable master data tables:
Furthermore, the process of adjusting calculations and postings to local regulations cannot be overstated. The following are the two greatest challenges in adapting SAP Concur’s operations to Polish accounting and tax regulations:
Having business knowledge and knowledge of the client’s processes, the MDDP team has prepared the integration of SAP Concur with the Raks system, which is the financial and accounting system currently used by the client. Intensive work is underway on integration with the SAP system, which is now being implemented.
Author: Katarzyna Opalko, Accounting Area Manager at MDDP Outsourcing.