“Your organisation has decided to implement SAP Concur across the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region. Now you must determine how to manage effectively the opportunities and complexities that accompany deploying across multiple countries, each with unique language, statutory, and tax requirements.”
-- Kim Shotton, Project Manager
Before your EMEA deployment, consider how the below tips and considerations relate to your organisation, and how they can help you manage complexities and ensure that the system is implemented in a structured and efficient way.Centralisation
Before defining your requirements for Concur, centralise T&E processes and policies as much as possible. Process and policy centralisation will reduce complexity and help lay the foundation for an effective and consistent global model. It can also cut down on the time required for the initial system configuration, and reduce the amount of system administration effort after you go live.
Involve HR and Finance teams in harmonising your organisation’s T&E policy, creating a single master policy with addendums for each country’s legal and tax requirements as required. Workers’ Councils
You must keep Workers’ Councils in any of the countries where Concur is being deployed informed about the project and changes it will bring for their members. Ensure the Councils’ concerns or suggestions are addressed as early as possible to avoid last-minute changes or delays to the Concur implementation.Credit cards
Credit card data feeds can be established to bring card transactions into Concur directly from the bank, allowing users to create expense claims easily based on the credit card data. Whether your organisation is introducing a new card or already has a corporate card programme in place, you should consider how your card programme will be setup within Concur.
Contracts for different card programmes (e.g., T&E or Purchasing Cards), or different payment types (e.g., Individual Bill Company Pay or Company Bill Company Pay) will affect the number of feeds required. Global or regional feeds are recommended, but additional feeds may be necessary if the organisation requires more control around releasing card transactions (e.g., a staged roll out), or requires different payment types due to local country requirements. Discuss the pros and cons of the various options with your implementation team.VAT
VAT can be one of the more complex components to configure in Concur, but it doesn’t have to be. Concur offers pre-built tax configuration for most major European countries via a Global Template. It is vital that VAT experts within each country review this Global Template and make changes where required.
It can be tempting to try to account for all possible scenarios to maximise VAT reclaim. Each condition, as it’s known in Concur, can add complexity to the configuration and potentially the end user experience. Simplify the conditions where possible and even consider taking the more conservative approach for VAT reclaim to streamline the VAT configuration.Travel Allowances
Travel allowances are government-mandated in some EMEA countries. Concur has collated the standard travel allowance rules for many European countries and added them to its Global Template. It is important to review the travel allowance rules and rates for each country and alert the implementation team if any changes are required against Concur’s predefined rates. If you are deploying to countries that are not included in Concur’s standard set of travel allowances, discuss how best to configure these countries with your implementation team.
If rates defined by your organisation are higher than government rates, benefit in kind tax reporting is an important consideration.Mileage Rates
Does your organisation follow the mileage rates defined by each country’s local government? These rates can be mandatory in some countries, but only advisory in others. Organisations that follow government rates will have a simpler process for mileage rate updates.
Configuring mileage rates custom-defined by your organisation is also possible, and if needed, multiple sets of rates within each country can be maintained.Translation
Concur’s out-of-the-box solution is offered in multiple languages, but the translation only covers core configuration. The client team for each required language will need to translate configured components, such as custom forms, fields, or audit rules.
Make sure resources are assigned early in the project to manage translations, and allow enough time in your project schedule to account for this effort. Also, consider that there may be different dialects when defining translated values. For example, there will be different interpretations of the German translation for an English word across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.Reporting
Understanding all the legal and tax reporting required by European authorities can be challenging. However, Concur’s robust reporting tool provides an effective and efficient way to generate reports that meet statutory reporting requirements, such as travel allowance amounts paid above government rates.Attendees
Most companies have standard attendee types for “employee” and “business guest,” but depending on your policy and your industry, other types may need to be considered. For example:
- “Spouse” if your policy allows spouses to travel in certain circumstances
- “Health Care Professional (HCP)” or “Government Officials” if you need to track costs for these groups
An added complexity for entertainment expenses in EMEA is the need to calculate tax deductibility. Defining different attendee types can facilitate the separation of taxable and non-taxable expenses for corporate tax calculations.Compliance
Concur enables systematic enforcement of your organisation’s T&E policy using audit rules. Audit rules can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks including displaying reminders to users, restricting expense types, applying fiscal limits, or triggering additional workflow steps. Certain discretionary items, however, cannot be validated by audit rules, such as whether the correct expense type has been selected, or whether a valid tax receipt has been attached, allowing tax reclaim.
Consider whether all expense claims require compliance checks, or only a percentage based on specific criteria. When implementing across multiple countries, also evaluate whether compliance checks should be done by local teams in each country, or if an outsourcing model would work better, with training provided on country policies and tax rules.