Microsoft American Express Expense Management

Yesterday, American Express announced partnership with Microsoft to simplify the expense management process for employees and businesses, using AI and Machine Learning.

As part of this partnership, American Express will develop a suite of solutions using Microsoft Cloud and AI technologies to reduce business travel friction for employees. The first solution is for expense management process. This new AI-based solution will simplify and automate manual expense reporting and approvals, enhancing audit efficacy, and streamlining reconciliation and reimbursements for accounting teams.

Microsoft is planning to pilot the solution with its own employees later this year. After testing, this solution will be expanded to other American Express Corporate clients over time.

This is how the solution will work:

  • When a business traveler swipes their American Express Corporate Card, they’ll be prompted to upload a picture of their receipt.
  • An AI-powered decision engine then categorizes the transaction and assigns a risk score based on transaction details, the company’s travel and expense (T&E) policy, and the traveler’s purchase and payment history on their American Express Corporate Card.
  • The risk score is coded as green (recommended for auto-approval), yellow (needs another look), or red (not recommended for approval) depending on factors like company expense policy, consistency with existing spend patterns, indications of fraud, and more.
  • The information is then passed to an expense management system, along with receipt details to auto-generate reports and help managers and auditors in their decision making.
  • Through machine learning the solution will get smarter over time, adapting its algorithms based on patterns and gradually increasing its ability to maximize expense auto-approval with lower error rates and escalations.

“Advanced technologies like Microsoft Azure AI and machine learning provide powerful, new opportunities to reimagine pervasive, time-consuming manual processes,” said Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft. “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.”