SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI) debuted new enhancements to its commercial card business management solution, Enterprise Spend Platform, today at the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) International Convention and Exposition in Los Angeles.
One of the key enhancements breaking new ground in the industry is the compliance monitor feature. Compliance monitor offers companies a unique set of tools to assist in actively managing compliance to company process guidelines and expense policies. Company management and program administrators can define automated alerts, escalation events and card account actions that encourage and enforce positive behavior based on the company's specific business rules for activities like preferred vendor use, timely submission of expense reports and managing outstanding transactions. Through compliance monitor, employees' spend behavior can be coached so that they are aware of the infraction, understand the penalty assessed and the requirements to remedy the infraction.
The availability of the advanced offerings coincides with the findings of a recent AberdeenGroup study co-sponsored by SunTrust which stated that travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses are the second largest controllable expense within a company. Moreover, the study found that 80 percent of the companies surveyed have seen their T&E expenses increase by an average of 14 percent in the last year. "With so many companies seeing substantial increases in their T&E expenses, it's extremely important that companies are able to see, control and effectively modify expense behaviors," said Greg Hammermaster, senior vice president, SunTrust Commercial Card Services. "The enhancements that we've made to Enterprise Spend Platform make it even easier for companies to implement greater controls over business travel expenses and to expect more accountability of employees through intelligent and automated means."
Some of the other enhancements to Enterprise Spend Platform include:
- Trip-by-Trip Dynamic Card Funding - Provides clients with the ability to implement a pre-trip approval process for travel expenses and then dynamically fund the card with the approved amount. This helps companies expand the distribution of their corporate card program to cover employees who travel less frequently, while maintaining greater control over company travel expenses.
- Declining Balance Requisitions for Project-Based Expenses - Allows companies to create custom requisitions linked to specific cards and non-card payments for projects such as meetings and events, helping companies comply with individual program budgets. Once a meeting or event has been planned, and the budget has been determined, the employee can requisition single or multiple cards - depending on how many employees will be using them - that upon linking the transactions will decrement the balance of the budget on the requisition.
- Declining Balance Cards for Budget Control - Allows companies to establish cards with a fixed dollar amount that upon use decrements the balance on the card. Specific amounts and merchant category controls can be set to ensure tight financial controls. And like any SunTrust card, the transactions on a declining balance card can be processed through Enterprise Spend Platform modules, such as Transaction Manager, Expense Manager, or Requisition Manager.
- Improved Expense Reporting Features - Includes an online receipt imaging function that can be linked to the respective expense report for review, approval and archiving purposes; and customizable reporting templates that give administrators the ability to create company-wide custom reports.
- Multi-National Capabilities - Gives global companies the ability to use Enterprise Spend Platform in offices around the world due to its multi-lingual feature (supporting 13 languages) and its multi-currency options (all ISO currencies).
Enterprise Spend Platform, launched in April, consists of five application modules (Statement Manager, Transaction Manager, Expense Manager, Payables Manager and Requisition Manager) hosted on a single, base platform that can be configured to fit company-specific needs. The modular approach creates a highly flexible and scalable product that can be implemented and developed on the client's terms. The enhancements unveiled at NBTA provide companies with even greater visibility and control for their corporate buying activities and allow them to move beyond simple card management and expand into dynamic travel expense management, procurement and strategic purchasing.
"Using a spend control platform as integrated and intuitive as Enterprise Spend Platform is especially important in today's economy characterized by higher travel expenses, increased telecommuting and greater need for accountability of expenses," added David Fuller, executive vice president and division manager, SunTrust Treasury & Payment Solutions. "With changing economies we find that companies' needs often change as well. Enhancing our tools for business clients is just one of the ways in which SunTrust addresses and recognizes these needs."