Concur: The Bologna Sandwich of Expense Management Software

By The Center Team on November 4, 2020

What do bologna sandwiches and expense reports have in common? Both have fallen out of popularity due to changing needs and better options.

Not many Americans today would say their favorite lunch is a bologna sandwich.

It hasn’t always been this way. Thirty or forty years ago, bologna sandwiches were well regarded. Back then, my great uncle even tried to order a fried bologna sandwich at the finest French restaurant in West Virginia.

But tastes change. The Deli Report, the leader in lunchmeat analysis, states that bologna sales now rank below all other major cold cuts at $181M per year, with 1%-2% declines each year for the past several decades. Turkey has 10 times the sales of bologna. Bologna hasn’t gotten any better over the years either. It’s only getting worse and using cheaper cuts of meat and it hardly resembles its fancier predecessor, mortadella.

So what does this have to do with expense management?

Concur is the bologna sandwich of spend and expense management software

Hear me out on this.

Concur was a favorite in its heyday a decade or two ago. But since then, there has been almost no innovation in the product. The user interface looks exactly like it did 20 years ago. Increasingly, critical features have been sliced out of the product and packaged into upsells.

Bologna and Concur both solved for an important need back in their day. For bologna, parents needed foods that stayed fresh when sitting in kids’ lunchboxes. Now, needs have changed; parents are looking for healthier options that aren’t ultra-processed mystery meat.

Concur is similar—it was built to solve the problems of a bygone era. Two decades ago, expense management was about making it as difficult as possible for employees to spend company money in order to keep costs down. For example, limit plane ticket options to fit in arbitrary, three-hour windows. Require lengthy expense reports with documentation and receipts after the fact. Mandate that every manager must review every expense up and down the chain. Concur still does this very well.

But organizations’ needs have changed, and this has only been accelerated by COVID-19. Work is now decentralized, with every organization embracing some form of remote work. In this new model, employees need more independence (and trust). The top-down, command-and-control approach no longer works.

Consider changes in corporate purchasing. The rise of online retailing, SaaS software, and online booking tools have radically changed how organizations acquire goods and services. Most of these purchases are made individually and put on a company credit card, not run through a rigorous corporate procurement process. Finance teams need an easier way to get visibility into this spending and account for it correctly.

Part of the problem is that Concur lacks a truly integrated corporate credit card. Sure, you can connect your card feed to Concur. First, however, transactions must settle, then there is a 24-hour lag before appearing in your system. This could mean your view is a week or more behind. A disconnected corporate card cascades into other problems for the finance team, including improper coding of transactions, accounting for accruals, and reconciling expenses with the corporate card statement.

The expense report itself is another relic of yesteryear, based on the old paper report, with receipts taped to the back. While that may have made sense at one time, who still thinks it makes sense to wait until the end of the month to review employee expenses? And then there is cost. While bologna is cheap, Concur certainly isn’t. Many organizations are reviewing their Concur contracts and wondering if they’re getting value for their money.

Just like there are better options than bologna today, there are better options than legacy expense management software like Concur

Center is the no-cost expense management solution that offers real-time visibility and streamlined accounting done your way, all with excellent support.

Real-time data is critical

Forrester found that making real-time decisions based on real-time data is the number-one factor driving the effectiveness of business planning and execution, cited by 90% of finance and business leaders.

A modern expense management solution should allow you to see employee transactions immediately, and this real-time visibility should flow into reporting and audit features as well.

Streamline expense accounting

Many organizations routinely delay their month-end close due to delayed expense reports, incorrect expense coding, and reconciliation issues.

Not anymore. Organizations love using Center to eliminate the busywork of manual coding, statement reconciliation, and accruals. They book their expenses to their GL in just a few clicks.

Enterprise software requires enterprise support

Filing tickets with overseas call centers used to be the norm. But organizations shouldn’t settle for abysmal customer service.

Center comes with dedicated, US-based support. There are no deployment fees or training fees; it’s all included. Teams are typically up and running a few weeks after selecting Center.

Skip the bologna and taste what’s fresh

Center is the only solution built to solve the problems that modern enterprises face. Compare the real-time difference with this Center vs Concu one-pager. Want to learn more and see Center in action? See Center for yourself with a customized demo.