Amex, IBM Develop Online Expense Tool

Meeting market demands for cost-effective solutions to manage business expenses American Express and IBM Corp., today announced a joint initiative to develop a Web-based expense reporting and reconciliation tool.

The solution will be marketed by Amex as part of its American Express @ Work suite of online expense management tools and will be hosted by IBM.

Designed to help companies boost productivity and increase control over everyday expenses, the American Express @ Work Reconciliation Management Tool, as it is known, aims to eliminate the need for traditional business expense practices such as manually obtaining signature approvals and reviewing corporate policies.

Amex says the tool will also provide relief for Accounts Payable personnel that are often burdened with verifying and assigning accounting codes to the thousands of travel and purchasing expenses companies incur every month.

“Companies need to manage the bottom line now more than ever, and our aim is to bring automated expense reporting and reconciliation to a wider audience through our relationships with the tens of thousands of companies using our cards,” says Yvonne Schneider, Vice President, Global Product Development, American Express Corporate Services.

“Together IBM and American Express are filling a gap for expense reporting and reconciliation tools backed by blue chip security standards, customer service and implementation support,” she adds.

Amex says it will be offering two modules of the solution, one for reporting travel and miscellaneous business expenses, the other for reconciling corporate purchases.

Both modules have been adapted from an IBM Java application that was developed for its internal use.

The tool can be accessed by business travelers, corporate purchasers and accounting departments through the Amex Web site and can be configured so that employees meet individual company policies and tax requirements.

“We invented the expense reporting solution to help reduce the hassle of reporting expenses for our own employees and avoid the costs associated with processing them,” says Ralph Senst, vice president, e-business collaboration solutions for IBM.

“Now companies of all sizes can access a hosted version of one of the key productivity tools that has helped IBM become a premier e-business.”

Amex says the service will be available to American Express Corporate Card and Corporate Purchasing Card clients in the second quarter of 2002. Pilot tests are now underway.

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