How the University of Ghent simplified and automated expense management
The University of Ghent (UGent) was looking for a sustainable, user-friendly solution for its digital expense management. The university found the ideal answer in Concur, but there was one missing - and non-existent - link. Eventually, Flexso was able to add the last piece of the puzzle.
Geert Van de Gucht, Director of Finance at UGent, and his team used to spend countless hours on expense management. Every year, 6,800 employees would hand in 40,000 expense reports on paper, with all documentary evidence glued on. Seven out of ten files were either incomplete or submitted incorrectly, which led to multiple phone calls back and forth for extra clarification.
A missing link
The team started looking for a way to make that process more user-friendly and efficient. Soon, the convenient cloud solution of SAP Concur sparked their interest. The tool would simplify and automate expense management, and was compatible with the university’s ERP system. Unfortunately, there was one missing link.
“Concur didn’t have an answer for the specific context in which we justify all project expenses,” explains Van de Gucht. “After all, that rarely happens in a clearly defined team here. The university’s projects are (co-)financed by different government levels, each of which has its own conditions, regulations and cost definitions. And, despite that complexity, we also have to make sure that we reimburse everyone quickly.”
Say goodbye to manual expense reporting and lost receipts with SAP Concur:
- Mobile app: A single handy app to book travel and submit expenses.
- More Insights: Get a real-time overview of all costs and transactions.
- Automated: Automate manual work and unburden your employees.
- Integrated solution: An end-to-end solution that is completely integrated in your IT infrastructure.
Rocket speed ahead
As UGent’s SAP partner, Flexso was asked to provide the last piece of the puzzle: a connector between Concur and the school’s SAP module for project justification. “I like to call it a ‘rocket to the moon,’” says Van de Gucht. “Because it is the first solution of its kind for organisations that need to file expense reports with external financiers.”
Flexso had three months’ time to come up with a proof of concept, and ended up co-financing the rocket. “It was definitely intense,” says Roeland Vanbeselaere, Project Manager SuccessFactors & Concur at Flexso. “We had to build the connector from scratch, because it just didn’t exist anywhere else. But this is the kind of challenge we love: building a bridge between a specific customer question and an actual solution through innovation.”
Launched and landed
Ever since the rocket launched, handling expense reports has evolved into a fully digital, transparent and traceable process. Employees upload all required documents to the app, while reporting tool Cognos helps the finance team detect unusual spending patterns. The spacecraft has successfully landed on planet Concur.
“Concur is a wonderful tool,” concludes Van de Gucht. “But a wonderful tool is worth nothing if it isn’t exactly what an organisation is looking for. Everything depended on the connector, the rocket to the moon. And now it’s flying!”