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American Express and Concur Meet Cost Reduction Needs Of Australian And Asia Pacific Companies

To assist companies in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific reduce the time and cost of corporate travel and entertainment expense processing, American Express Corporate Services and Concur Technologies today announced the local launch of Concur’s automated expense management product, the Xpense Management Solution? (XMS). The joint offering will further enable American Express and Concur to meet the corporate market demand for automated business cost reductions in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific.

The way in which a company manages its business travel and entertainment expenses, for example whether it uses cash floats or corporate cards, and how it reconciles and processes its expenses, has a significant impact on the cost of business travel to an organisation. By automating corporate card expense submission, XMS has the capacity to save companies, and their executives, a significant amount of time and money.

Building on the alliance established earlier this year between American Express and Concur in the United States, the companies will work together on developing and marketing integrated product offerings to address travel and operational cost reduction needs of companies in the Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific markets.

Additionally, the alliance is celebrating its first Australia-based cooperative win, with the addition of Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP) as the newest joint customer to utilise XMS in Australia. American Express Corporate Travel Services and Corporate Card won the BHP travel and corporate card tender processes earlier this year. The XMS product was chosen by BHP because of its capacity to reduce the time and cost of processing expenses.

According to Mr Gregor Lochtie, Director, American Express Consulting Services, “The current business environment is putting pressure on companies to better manage their costs. Automating the processes involved in managing expenses, such as corporate card expense submissions, is a simple step that can deliver big savings, and corporate clients are keen to realise these opportunities. Concur’s XMS will enable us to meet this growing demand with technology that can deliver world’s best practice efficiency, and savings.”


Said Jon Matsuo, executive vice president of worldwide sales for Concur, “Our international experience has demonstrated the need for business process automation solutions such as procurement and travel expense automation, as the current cost of processing purchase requisitions and expenses manually is extremely high. Our work with American Express further enables us to bring these companies the expense automation solution needed to reduce operational costs, with products that have already been proven around the globe.”

About XMS
Concur’s Xpense Management Solution is the proven enterprise travel expense business application that dramatically reduces travel and entertainment costs by automating the entire travel expense management process. XMS is the first global travel expense automation software that can run via a corporate intranet, Windows, or both. With XMS, preparing expense reports is easier and travellers are reimbursed faster. XMS gives business travellers convenient access to electronic charge card data, including information on charges to their American Express Corporate Cards. Accounting is more productive because expense reports are delivered online and automatically link to financial systems, eliminating the need to re-key data. Corporate travel policies are imbedded to provide management and accounting with tools to quickly identify non-compliant expenses. With robust expense data easily accessible, management can analyse travel spending and negotiate better vendor rates.

Upcoming versions of XMS designed specifically for Asia Pacific will include additional enhancements for American Express Corporate Card customers. They will be fully integrated with American Express’ AXISM (American Express Interactive) corporate online travel reservation system, which is available in the United States and will be rolled out in Asia Pacific in 1999.

Controlling Corporate Travel Costs
International research conducted for American Express has found that each manual process costs the average company US$36 per expense report. Automating the process can cut that cost to US$8 or less and reduce the time employees spend per expense report from 55 minutes to 15 minutes or less.

Travel and entertainment (T&E) is the second-largest controllable cost for Australian companies, with the average company spending over $420,000 per year, on top of which the average company spends an additional 5% of its annual T&E budget just processing the paperwork related to expense reports.

By integrating XMS with the company’s full array of corporate services, American Express offers companies a comprehensive way to ensure that corporate travel guidelines and negotiated rates are applied consistently, whether reservations are initiated by PC or telephone. Companies can reduce the time and effort travellers spend filing expense reports. According to the 1997 American Express Travel and Entertainment Management Process Study, companies have the ability to reduce the cost of processing travel expenses by 89% with the implementation of an automated expense reporting solution.

About American Express Corporate Services
American Express Corporate Services, which includes the American Express Corporate Card, and Corporate Travel, assists companies in managing and controlling their business travel and entertainment expenses. It is a unit of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Express Company - a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travellers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

About Concur Technologies
Concur Technologies, formerly Portable Software Corporation, is a leading provider of employee-facing business applications. Concur’s integrated suite of products automates core business processes that impact all employees, such as travel expense management and procurement - dramatically improving employee productivity and business bottom-line success. Its flagship product, the Xpense Management Solution (XMS), is currently licensed for use on hundreds of thousands of desktops in over 165 companies worldwide.

CompanyStore?, the company’s intranet-based procurement offering, is a leading solution for non-production goods and services requisitions. Concur is headquartered in Redmond, Washington, with international offices in London, Sydney, and Toronto.