I’ll start with an apology to Concur and the readers of this blog for the long delay since my last discussion about my experience with Concur Breeze as a first-time user and new SMB-owner. They say you should never write a check that you can’t cash and while that is something I am loathe to do, the first few months as the owner of a small business and publisher of a large media site have served as a real eye-opener for all of the trade-offs that entrepreneurs must continually make to ensure the greatest return on their invested resources. Anyway, I’m back now to share my thoughts and experience as I create my first Expense Report (“ER”) in Concur Breeze.
In my last post, I had just registered for the 60-day free trial Breeze, set-up the system and account, and added three credit cards to the system in less than 25 minutes. Unfortunately, since my last post, the 60-day free trial period had ended. Fortunately, Concur established a new policy that allows the first two employees of any enterprise to use Breeze for free. At $8 a month per user, I do not consider Breeze to be a significant investment for my business and the fee was something I had planned to pay; but I won’t complain. I’m the only employee who needs this service now, so the free and “risk-free” nature of this ER exercise continues… and I keep a few more dollars in my pocket.
New Expense Report
I log back into Breeze and I’m ready to go. There appear to be several ways to create a new Expense Report – Since most of my business expenses are on one card, I decide to “View Charges” and focus first on the primary card that I use for the business (Delta-Amex). I’m able to review all of the card charges with the same level of detail that is provided on the Amex website, which is very useful. I immediately notice that one small provider has double charged me for services last month and I will need to request a refund. (Assuming I receive it, Breeze has just “paid” a nice dividend.) Once I have selected all of the expenses for this report, a new ER is created.
Next, I need to go back and scan the expenses on my other two cards just in case I had to use them for business expenses during the period – this results in adding three more expenses to the report.
With all of the expenses now added to my first ER, I can do a quick review. The draft expense report appears on a single screen which is split into three distinct sections. The size/view of each screen can be manually adjusted. This is a flexible and unique presentation of the expense report information may take some getting used to; but, I can manage.
Of the 26 expenses that were imported into this ER, 17 were assigned a specific expense type while 9 needed to be manually set. The last one I assigned as “miscellaneous,” but I make a note that I will need to go back and create a new expense type since this will be a recurring expense.
Since I don’t need to worry about allocations or receipts for this report, when all is said and done, I have completed my first expense report and written this accompanying blog post in 35 minutes.
What impressed me most about my first ER experience in Concur Breeze were the card detail upload and the auto-classification of a majority of my expenses. The fact that it is now a free service for an enterprise’s first two employees is also a nice benefit.
The screen that shows the expense report information and how expenses from secondary cards are added will take some getting used to, and I will also have to re-think my expense reporting structure so it aligns with all of my travel, office, and ongoing business expenses; Overall, I like what I see, the system was easy to use and I will be back in the system soon.
And there you have it, Ardent Partners’ first ER completed in Breeze.
Andrew Bartolini is the Managing Partner & Chief Research Officer of Ardent Partners and Publisher of CPO Rising, the first independent media site for Chief Procurement Officers and Supply Management Executives.