Center has raised $30 million to develop new features for its expense management software.
The Series C funding round, announced Tuesday (Dec. 5), will help the software company develop capabilities that deal with customer pain points around expense management and travel and expense solutions.
“Amidst a backdrop of inflation and a rise in business travel, streamlining and controlling corporate spend remains a top priority for businesses,” the company said in a news release.
“Center’s card-first approach delivers complete visibility and control of employee spend, eliminating patchwork expense systems and enabling better management of decentralized purchasing.”
According to the release, the funding will help create an open platform aimed at vertical software developers and financial institutions, and offer client libraries and APIs that let third-parties embed card and expense management features into their workflows.
The release says this sort of “intelligent integration” helps organizations lower payment processing costs and gain visibility by consolidating payment types.
“The use of purchasing cards (p-cards) and corporate cards provide more control over small spend amounts if data is captured within integrated environments,” Center said.
Center’s comments about the rise in business travel are borne out by “Generation Instant: Business Expense Reimbursements,” a recent PYMNTS Intelligence survey of more than 2,600 consumers.
The survey found there has been an increase in business travel since the apex of the COVID pandemic, as professionals have returned to attending industry conferences and meeting with clients.
That means the percentage of consumers receiving business expense reimbursements has climbed from 3.5% in 2021 to 5.5% in the last year. The surge in reimbursements reflects the growing expenses incurred by employees on behalf of their companies.
“Traditionally, these reimbursements were often made via check, separate from payroll. However, the rise of digital payments has led to a shift in expectations,” PYMNTS wrote recently. “Employees now prefer their reimbursements to be delivered sooner and without the hassle of waiting for a physical check.”
With this happening, instant payments for business expense reimbursements have seen a marked increase, with 43% of consumers who get business expense reimbursements now doing so via instant payments, up 15% from the prior year.
In addition, among all consumers receiving reimbursements, close to 60% used instant payment methods at least once in the last year, though 71% of consumers still received reimbursements via other methods such as cash or non-instant digital wallets.