B2B Payments

Amex Business Cards, CFO Frustrations And T&E Fraud

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It was a quarterly earnings bonanza this week, but there’s more to the B2B data than Q1 figures. The market saw its first tech IPO, an SME cybersecurity company, and we have the details on how much it raised. Plus, the latest analysis on alternative lending demand, expense management fraud and the gap between what CFOs have for their companies and what they need.

Of course, we have the quarterly numbers, too, including insight into how American Express’ commercial card business is holding up. It’s all below in our weekly B2B Data Digest. 

 

$98.5 billion worth of purchases went through Amex commercial cards in 2016’s Q1, American Express said in its latest quarterly earnings report. That value represents a 3 percent increase compared to the same period a year prior. According to analysts, adjustments in Amex’s Global Commercial Services (GCS) strategy — including new small business services, FX tools and other corporate finance products — helped bump up the numbers. Net income for the GCS unit declined 6 percent. Still, American Express’ earnings overall beat out analysts’ expectations.

$51.3 billion is at risk for SMEs facing a Brexit, according to World First Research. The analysis, released for World First’s Global Trade Barometer, focused on the potential for SMEs to be forced into long-term currency contracts, with billions of dollars now exposed to FX risk. The research was based on exchange rate fluctuations and their impact on U.K. companies, reports said. World First found a 75 percent increase in the volatility of the pound should the nation leave the European Union. SMEs, however, have only extended their FX risk protections by 35 percent, researchers said.

A $4.6 billion valuation for the U.K. alternative lending sector signals a massive increase in demand among SMEs, according to Amicus Finance. The company found the valuation is up from the estimated $2.5 billion worth of the industry in 2014. The majority of SMEs surveyed by the company said they have either used or considered using alternative finance for their companies, including invoice finance, crowdfunding and asset-based finance. More than 50 percent agreed that demand for alternative lending is likely to continue to increase over the next two years.

$112 million was raised by SecureWorks, a small and medium-sized business cybersecurity firm, in the year’s first technology IPO. While the figure was less than what the company had hoped, reports said the public offering will hopefully pave the way for more tech debuts this year. SecureWorks, owned by Dell, priced 8 million shares at $14 at its IPO last week. A few other security companies are slated for their own floats, reports said, including Blue Coat Systems and Optiv Security.

78% of CFOs agree post-sales services are critical but are finding their current processes too expensive and inefficient. The data, released from CFO Research and OnProcess, suggests CFOs understand post-sales customer services are crucial for business growth yet are struggling with how to improve that area of their operations. Half agreed that better communication and coordination is needed within their businesses, while 41 percent suggested better data analytics capabilities could help.

12.8% of business travel expenses are potentially fraudulent, according to a study from Captio, which analyzed 1.3 million expenses across more than 6,000 business travelers and 130 companies in Spain. SMEs were most vulnerable, accounting for the majority of these potentially fake or manipulated expenses. According to Captio, filing old expenses as new ones is the most common form of expense report fraud in the country, accounting for one-third of fraudulent filings. That’s followed by expenses that were incurred on a weekend, despite businesses operating Monday through Friday.

5 hours passed for Advance Funds Network to match a business with a loan, the company said last week, marking a record in marketplace lending speed. According to the company, which provides SME business loans and lines of credit, the $200,000 loan was linked to an industrial brazing company.

A 4% drop in turnover hit financial services tech supplier Computacenter, a sign that financial services companies are reducing their spend on technology this year. The figure, reported in Computacenter’s Q1 2016 earnings filing, is not deterring the company from optimism, however, noting that sales are still strong considering the threat of the Brexit, plummeting oil costs and other political uncertainties across Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

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Facebook is a giant in the ad game, with 2.3 billion active monthly users and $16.6 billion in quarterly advertising revenue. However, its omnipresence makes it a honeypot for fraudsters. In this month’s Digital Fraud Report, PYMNTS talks with Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management, on how the site deploys automated systems and thorough advertiser vetting to close the lid on fraudster attempts.

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