At long last, the Concur app centre is now available for customers on the Concur EU data centre – activated on 12th August! The app centre has been available for customers on Concur’s US data centre for a while now, and now customers on the European data centre can take advantage of the fantastic integrations that the app centre offers.
This is good news. However, you may find that your users now have access to apps and can use them without you being prepared for the result such as. new receipt formats from e-receipts (although e-receipts will only be working a little bit later, but other apps are already on.)
Soem users may also be surprised by what they see, if there hasn’t been earlier communication and flood you with questions, once the first traveler bothers to click the app centre link in the browser or on mobile and spreads the news.
So, if you are Concur Admin and your organisation is on the EU datacentre, there are a few steps you should take (short version):
1) Check, whether the App centre is available for your users already
2) Understand what it does (see below)
3) Decide, which apps you want users to use
4) Configure the app centre accordingly and communicate with your travelers
5) Monitor the app centre and roll out more app integrations over time, as this has the potential to create a lot of value
and here is the long version:
What is the Concur App Centre?
The app centre is a selection of integration points between partner apps and services, and Concur for your employees and business. Apps are available for either individual users, or for the company.
Apps for your business will be enterprise solutions across connectors to your ERP systems, VAT reclaim services, SSO options, mileage recording and expense, client rebilling of expenses – numerous different services and options.
The apps for individuals are apps where users can connect their own accounts to Concur including activating e-receipts so that a receipt for a purchase with the app partner flows directly to the user’s Concur account to create the expense for the user.
E-receipts are not yet available for the EU data centre, but will hopefully be coming soon.
How Does It Help?
Activating any of the available app connectors will benefit your employees by making their Travel and Expense processing quicker, easier, and more efficient, and could offer real savings for your company. By connecting with the individual apps, it make the process of incurring and claiming an expense effortless; such as with e-receipt integration for Uber; when you use the Uber service, the receipt for the journey is sent directly to your Concur account for you to expense. Or the ExpenseIt app that users OCR technology to create the expense entry for you; both real time savers and improve the quality of the expense data. Integration also increases accuracy as it eliminates typos or provides better data (e.g. GPS tracker apps for car mileage give you a more accurate number than the usual estimate or even google maps integration).
Using the partner app options for your business can enable a wide range of service specific to your organisation that can help with anything from services that support VAT reclaim; the service connects to your Concur expense data and images, evaluate these and provide reclaimable VAT data, to services that process rebilling of client expenses, ensuring that an expense is never missed from being billed to the appropriate party in a timely fashion, maximising your bottom line.
For some inspiration have a read this blog about a “connected journey” .
How do I Connect Concur to the Apps?
Different apps connect in different ways. For some you may need business side existing contracts in place, for others users need a personal account with the respective app provider. The simplest integrations are the apps for individuals that connect directly to an account that the user has with the app partner. Users can quickly connect either via the desktop login for Concur or the Concur mobile app.
For my TripLog account, I can just find the app in the app centre and click on the ‘Connect’ button
Concur will then ask for my TripLog account information and once submitted, will confirm that my accounts are now connected
In the Concur mobile app, apps can be quickly activated by finding the app centre under the ‘Connect to Apps’ option in the men
The user will then see a list of all the apps available (which have not been disabled or hidden for your company)
Then just select the app and chose the connect button
Other apps, often the apps for my business, have a different integration process and will require contracts or agreements in place between your company and the partner to integrate. In the app centre, rather than the connect button there is a ‘Enquire’ form that you can submit to the app partner. The formal agreement and contract are then agreed, and the app integration is activated by a Concur administration with some set up steps from the partner.
Turn Off Unwanted Apps
As you can see above, it is easy enough for your travellers to use the app centre to make their Travel and Expenses easier, but what happens if they want to a connect to an vendor app that is not the corporately agreed one? You could have a company contract with Addison Lee, and want your travellers to use Addison Lee over Uber. You can easily deactivate and hide unwanted apps, see this blog here for more information. Of course this may not stop the employee from using Uber in the first place and use the normal receipt, but it will help to guide your employees and shape their expense behaviour if the unwanted apps integrations are not readily available.
But Is it Compliant?
One important point to note is that just because a app is available, that does not mean it is necessarily compliant for your country and your corporate policies. e.g.: the Starbucks app integration is available for European customers on the US data centre, but when we tested, the e-receipts were not HMRC compliant for the UK: the e-receipt has no VAT information on the purchase, and also gives no detail of what the transaction was for. So this is not an appropriate receipt for HMRC and many other auditors, as there is no way to tell whether the receipt really was for the round of coffees for a meeting or the purchase of coffee grounds for home use.
If there is a new app that looks to be applicable for your travellers, then have your Concur administrator test it out before encouraging your employees to activate the connection. If it not compliant, then the best option is to disable the app from employee use and they will have to claim the expense through the normal expense process. This is to be updated with country specific version of the app centre where your Concur users will only see apps that have been vetted and confirmed as compliant for your country.
New apps are added to the App centre all the time, and so don’t forget to check back regularly to see any new apps added by Concur that will help your employees (or any that might need hiding!)
Note: currently there are a few apps shown that don’t weem to integrate yet in Europe or have temporary problems. In that case, it probably needs a few days waiting.