ExpenseMatters : The Source for Expense Management

Interview with ExpenseAnywhere

By on October 6, 2009 in Interviews with 0 Comments

Expense Interview Series by Cary Strange: Interview #4 – ExpenseAnywhere

Next up in our interview series is ExpenseAnywhere. Ashok Dhar, CEO of ExpenseAnywhere, has taken the time to answer our questions. Thank you for joining us. To get started, could you provide some basic information about your company?
Virtual Communications, Inc., as known as ExpenseAnywhere, is a fast growing innovator in corporate spend management solutions. We are a privately-held company, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with offices in U.K. and India.

For 12 years we have been designing and delivering comprehensive, flexible, web-based end-to-end solutions that help businesses manage and control their spend. Our flag ship product ExpenseAnywhere, for management of business reimbursable expenses, is available in three distinct flavors:
1. ExpenseAnywhere – Lite: For SME. Helps them manage their travel related spend, easily, effectively and efficiently.
2. ExpenseAnywhere – Enterprise: Provides an end-to-end spend management solution for large businesses to multi-national organizations.
3. ExpenseAnywhere – Gov – For Federal/ State & Local government organizations with built-in functionality that handles complex pre-travel and post-travel approval processes, per-diem rules and policies, including support for CONUS/OCONUS reimbursement policies.

As part of our ongoing effort in corporate spend management solutions, we have recently announced our other product, PcardSystem, for total management of P-card Spend with functionality to enhance strategic sourcing and contract compliance.

These products are available as licensed software as well as through our popular hosted service.

What do you recognize as your primary and secondary target markets, and why?
All businesses have expenses. Most of them use manual paper-based processes to manage their expenses. Managing them via such traditional paper forms is expensive. ExpenseAnywhere family of products is geared to meeting the needs of the clients across the board.

ExpenseAnywhere – Lite: For small to medium size enterprises (with <100M in revenue). Available through our hosted service, is a client- configurable system, and is suited for companies with very simple process that do not require any custom changes.

ExpenseAnywhere – Enterprise: For large companies to Multi-nationals. Available either as licensed software or as a hosted service, provides an end-to-end automation of their expense management process. Although the system is highly configurable, it can be customized to fit the exacting business needs of the clients.

ExpenseAnywhere – Gov: Specifically tailored to meet the needs of the government agencies, DOD contractors etc.

It appears that there are quite a few players offering expense technology solutions. What separates your company from other companies providing similar products & services?
1. We are a nimble organization striving to deliver complete tailored solutions for our clients. We are an innovative company that constantly seeks innovative ideas to provide advanced solutions to our clients. Our products provide greater depth of functionality that caters to global companies and generates a high ROI for our clients.
2. We believe one size should not fit all. We configure and customize our application to better meet our clients’ business requirements.
3. Licensed software as well as a client configured Hosted Service
4. 12 years of successful track record of satisfied clients.

What are some specific key product differentiators that provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors?
ExpenseAnywhere products are designed to meet three basic requirements:
1. Ease of Use
2. Flexible Design, so the functions and features can be turned on/off depending on client needs
3. Open System Architecture such that it can be easily integrated with legacy systems.

ExpenseAnywhere provides the most comprehensive expense management functions that are second to none. Some of the differentiators include:
1. Superb and the easiest to use system requiring minimal to no user training.
2. Supports diverse GL structures (e.g., of different subsidiaries) within one single database.
3. Most advanced receipt management capabilities
4. Multi-Org – Multi-Currency Deployable.
5. Incorporating compliance with VAT rules, and helps recover lost revenue through reclamation reports.
6. Offline & PDA interface
7. Soon to be released travel-booking interface.
8. Complete and flexible reporting.
9. Real-time integrations with other client applications including ERP, HR, Payroll, EFT systems

What are the most important questions that a company (looking for a solution) should ask before selecting an expense management provider?
Will my vendor treat me like yet another client and force their solution set on me rather than work with me to understand my specific needs?

One of the most frequent questions we receive involve how the products are licensed and installed. What are your thoughts regarding the traditional licensing model versus the software as a service model (SaaS)? Which does your company provide and recommend?
SaaS typically refers to a solution – that is one size fits all. Our hosted solution is client specific, with their own application and instance of database. We do not co-mingle the client data and each client can configure the software for their specific business needs.

ExpenseAnywhere is available both as licensed software as well as accessible through our hosted service and can be ROI dependent. Hosted solution is by far the most popular and sought after solution since it totally eliminates upfront sizeable investment on Hardware, Software and infrastructure on the part of the client.

Do you have any new customer or partner wins that you want to share with our audience? If so, why did they select your company or product?
We are just beginning to bring Papa John’s International live with our product. Papa John’s reviewed all the market’s leading products and selected ExpenseAnywhere hands down for ease of use, design flexibility, global functionality, customer delight and price performance.

This client was chosen since it is the latest to go-live. The system was implemented in 60 days and was chosen because of their global reach.

This industry has been in a high growth mode for a couple of year now. What do you see happening with the industry, and the need for these types of solutions, over the next 12-18 months?
The industry is growing and will continue to evolve at a rapid pace in the next few years as more and more companies will start to automate their processes. There will be more M&A and Corporate CFO’s will be seeking instant analytics on their global operations to pro-actively control their corporate spend as well as achieve transparency and accountability in their operations.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Is there anything that we have not talked about that you would like to discuss with our readers?
We are also seeing a trend away from a one size fits hosted applications to applications that are highly client configurable. It is also allowing clients to modify their own systems to more quickly react to business changes. This trend is causing many companies to reevaluate their current business processes and move the control of the application back in-house.

Ashok, thanks again for your take on the industry and congratulations on the Papa Johns win!

To all of our readers out there, if you have any additional questions or would like to speak with ExpenseAnywhere about your T&E needs, please send me an email or contact ExpenseAnywhere directly:

John Voytko
Director of Sales
(412) 858-1111
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