Growth and Optimization

AI that Solves Business Problems, Retains a Human Focus

Naomi Hamlin |

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be transformative for businesses, and that’s why SAP Concur has been working with and infusing the technology in our solutions for nearly a decade.

In a time of global instability, economic uncertainty, a tight labour market, and other uncertainties, solutions embedded with AI promise to make your business ready for change. Many finance leaders recognise the possibilities, with 82% telling us they hope AI makes business operations more efficient.1

AI is part of our commitment to innovation and meeting the needs of businesses for efficiency, insights, and – in a competitive world – speed in operations and decisions. Our new whitepaper, Artificial Intelligence, Real Solutions for Business, explores how SAP Concur brings two distinct advantages – experience and a wealth of data – to filling those needs for businesses. And how throughout the effort, we will take an ethical approach.

Artificial Intelligence, Real Solutions

Learn about where SAP Concur has been with AI, where our technology is headed, and how we always focus on solving business problems.

Get the Whitepaper


Finance leaders see AI as a tool for resilience as well as improvement, with 62% calling it an essential tool for managing the unexpected.2 One statistic in our recent CFO Insights: Why Finance is Ready for a Breakout Transformation with Artificial Intelligence is unsettling but points to the extensive advances in efficiencies and insights companies could make: Just 11% of finance managers demonstrate digital competency.3

“Finance leaders have a responsibility to help their organisation and business understand how AI can be applied in ways that are truly impactful for employees, customers, and other stakeholders,” says John DiPlacido, CFO of SAP North America.

The SAP Concur team recognises the power – and responsibility – of AI. “Only two other innovations during our lifetimes have been as transformative as AI’s large language models,” says Fred Fredericks, SAP Concur SVP, Chief Product Officer, and Head of Engineering. “The first is Google’s web search. The second is the iPhone, which put computing devices in our pockets.”

Where AI and SAP Concur Are Heading

Building on AI-infused solutions such as ExpenseIt® for travel and Verify* for auditing expenses, we are developing ways to further incorporate AI into solutions. We draw on partnerships our parent SAP has developed with seven trusted large language models and work with other SAP units including Ariba and the SAP Business Technology Platform.

Atop the development list are solutions that would:

· Accurately estimate travel costs through a mix of AI, traveller data, company policy, and other sources.

· More effectively itemise receipts from hotels and others through a combination of AI and optical character recognitions (OCR).

· Make mobile expenses even easier by letting users, after photographing a receipt, tell the app to create an expense item and then tell it to make corrections as needed – without having to type and, with generative AI translating, in multiple languages.

Gains in efficiency and speed come by moving tasks and information further upstream in the business process. AI can provide faster implementation and development – allowing solutions to be deployed in multiple languages and locations, for example, because the technology translates.

AI excels by poring through massive amounts of data – something SAP Concur has gathered safely and securely through work with many customers over many years. The data now provides insights that inform customer policy and decision-making, and that ability will accelerate.

“With AI-infused solutions, the system will advise them of the problem and say, ‘We can fix it right now – just click this button.’ This is where customers will start realising the value of AI, and it will lead to a back office that practically manages itself,” says Tim Lebel, Vice President and Head of Spend Products at SAP Concur. We'll be able to provide customers insights before they even think about asking the question.”

What Businesses Should Consider

There’s much to learn about AI. Even developing a grasp of terms like machine learning, generative AI, large language models, neural networks, and more can take a while. While business leaders have many questions, they should ask this central one when considering AI and how their company could use it: Exactly what business problem are you trying to solve?

Finance leaders identify three core areas for transformation. One is to deliver personalisation while enhancing finance incomes, such as using AI to offer flights, lodging, and other travel options according to a traveller’s preferences. Second is to build a technology infrastructure that not only enables a company to weather disruption but allows employees to draw on AI’s predictive abilities to make better decisions. Third, a business should focus on opportunities that improve the employee experience, such as accelerating the financial close process and freeing employees for more engaging work.

In addition to financials, “Finance leaders must also consider the three underlying aspects of how a company runs: skill development, culture, and employee safety and well-being,” says Sinead Fitzmaurice, CEO of TransferMate Global Payments and CFO of

Guiding any conversation and strategy should be the realisation that the technology, though leaping ahead, is still developing. It’s fallible, giving false answers at times. It is better at some tasks than others, like language and not always math. Surprisingly, it’s good with line items from receipts – who knew? (we did).

Ethics and Customer Security

With transformation comes concerns about what AI could do, from bias to job losses to machines overtaking humanity. We take seriously the balance between eliminating mundane tasks – one of the great advantages of intelligent technology – and ensuring humans continue to exercise the judgments they excel at.

Customers place their proprietary information and trust in SAP Concur, and we are guided by an ethical, human-centered approach. Oversight and deliberation are focuses of the ethical principles developed by SAP, the first European company to do so. Since then, SAP has released a global policy and an AI Ethics Handbook.

“Automating processes that are repetitive and follow certain patterns and business rules is the easiest application of AI,” says Peter Habelitz, CFO of Cycas Hospitality. “The next step is using the technology to analyse data and make predictions such as profit-and-loss variations – which will always require a human touch to detect and address exceptions.”

Expand Your Knowledge

· Get the whitepaper, Artificial Intelligence, Real Solutions, to learn more about how SAP Concur is infusing businesses solutions with AI, leveraging experience and data to make businesses run better and be ready for change.

· Read CFO Insights: Why Finance Ready for a Breakout Transformative with AI to find out how finance leaders expect AI to enable greater efficiency, savings, and compliance at their businesses.


1, 2. CFO Insights Report: A New Role In Managing Uncertainty, SAP Concur, 2023, October

3. Gartner Says Lack of Digital Skills Among CFOs Key Obstacle to Autonomous Finance,” Gartner, March 29, 2023.

*Not available in all territories 

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