American Express and Microsoft Develop AI-Powered Business Travel Expense Reporting

Amex, Microsoft Develop Travel Expense Reporting

American Express and Microsoft are working to simplify business travel expense reporting.

The companies have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)- and machine learning (ML)-powered solution that simplifies and automates expense reporting and approvals, according to a Thursday (Feb. 9) press release.

Microsoft will pilot it later this year with its own employees before the solution is made available to other American Express Corporate clients over time, the release stated.

While expense reports are necessary, no one likes doing them, American Express Executive Vice President of Global Commercial Services Gunther Bright said in the release.

“Now imagine a future where the majority of your expenses are simply ‘auto-submitted’ and ‘auto-approved,’ requiring no manual intervention and adhering to your companies’ policies and spend limits,” Bright said. “By combining our customer insights and data, purposeful technology innovation, and a collaboration with an industry leader like Microsoft, we are creating a solution that addresses these needs with a seamless experience for the employee.”

This announcement comes at a time when business travel is continuing to recover from the pandemic.

The amount of money spent on business travel by small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has rebounded to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, and that by global and multinational firms has climbed back to 61%.

With the solution developed by American Express and Microsoft, business travelers will be prompted to upload a photo of the receipt each time they use their American Express Corporate Card, according to the press release.

An AI-powered decision engine will use that photo to categorize the transaction, assign a risk score ranging from “recommended for auto-approval” to “not recommended for approval” and send that information to an expense management system, the release said.

This is the first in what is to be a suite of AI-powered solutions the companies are developing to remove friction from business travel, the release said.

“Advanced technologies like Microsoft Azure AI and machine learning provide powerful, new opportunities to reimagine pervasive, time-consuming manual processes,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Financial Services Bill Borden said in the release. “We look forward to collaborating with American Express to simplify expense management and deliver intelligent digital capabilities to improve the lives of business travelers and employees.”

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