Managing expenses can be fairly EDF Energy wanted to simplify how it embedded within the tool,’ said Robert straightforward in a business’s early days, but, as you grow, things can get infinitely more complex.
Take EDF Energy, one of the largest gas and electricity suppliers in the UK. Its 15,000 employees spend around £15 million on business travel every year, but until recently its ability to have a true picture of, and control over, its travel budget created significant challenges.
Why? It was based on a disparate number of payment solutions and platforms, which only worked with certain commodities. This resulted in difficulty examining travel spend across the whole company, with travel policies being applied inconsistently, and with an increased chance of unauthorised spend.
Low-cost airlines, used extensively for employee travel, also proved difficult to book and pay for centrally. Therefore, employees tended to avoid using the company’s approved self-booking tool and often paid offline directly with their own personal card, resulting in more time and effort getting their expenses reconciled, reported and paid.
EDF Energy wanted to simplify how it managed expenses, without having to issue 15,000 individual corporate cards. The company’s objective for a payments solution was clear. It needed to work consistently for all employees and travel commodities, for both online and offline bookings.
The solution needed to consolidate and streamline payments into one centrally settled solution, with all data flowing seamlessly into EDF Energy’s expense reporting system. Additionally, the solution had to provide line managers with a greatly improved overview of spend at the individual level.
Finding your answer
EDF Energy worked with American Express® to develop and integrate vPayment Traveller, a bespoke solution that helps companies automatically reconcile their travel spend directly into their booking processes. All travellers have their own virtual account, synchronising their travel with the travel management company’s online booking system.
‘We wanted the experience to be as seamless as possible for our employees, so we wanted to have a payment method that was embedded within the tool,’ said Robert Gilhooly, EDF Energy’s financial shared services director. ‘With vPayment Traveller, we are now able to deliver a vast amount of account numbers unique to individual employees to our online booking tool in a very painless and efficient manner.’
Each account’s budget is controlled separately with per-transaction, monthly and overall limits, and the account number is passed very securely between systems, so the traveller doesn’t have to provide it to the supplier. vPayment Traveller works for scheduled and low-cost airlines, as well as hotels and other commodities.
The solution gave EDF Energy greater control and visibility over its travel budget and reduced unauthorised spend. It also helped cut down the complexity of, and time spent on, expense claims, allowing employees to concentrate on other business priorities.
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American Express Services Europe Limited. Registered Office: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. Registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139. American Express Services.
Europe Limited is authorised in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (reference number 415532) for the provision of payment services.