American Express to use Microsoft Cloud and AI to automate payment processing

American Express to use Microsoft Cloud and AI to automate payment processing

American Express

New solution aims to improve expense management for business travellers with receipt prompting

Alice Chambers |

American Express is working with Microsoft to develop a suite of solutions built on Microsoft Cloud and artificial intelligence technologies to assist with expense management for business travellers and automate the payment approval process for their employers.  

Microsoft’s first solution as part of the collaboration will use AI and machine learning capabilities to prompt travellers to upload photos of their receipts, which will then be automatically processed for  approval based on company expense policy, existing spend patterns, indications of fraud and more.

The autogenerated reports will reduce the time taken by business travellers to submit expenses and help finance managers and auditors with decision-making.

“Expense reports are a necessity, but we all hate doing them,” said Gunther Bright, executive vice president of global commercial services at American Express. “At the same time, every company has an increased need for control and compliance with expenses. Now imagine a future where the majority of your expenses are simply ‘auto-submitted’ and ‘auto-approved,’ requiring no manual intervention and adhering to your companies’ policies and spend limits.

“By combining our customer insights and data, purposeful technology innovation and a collaboration with an industry leader like Microsoft, we are creating a solution that addresses these needs with a seamless experience for the employee.”

Microsoft’s ML functions will enable the solution to get smarter over time by adapting to algorithms based on patterns and increasing its ability to maximise expense auto-approval with lower error rates and escalations.

“Advanced technologies like Microsoft Azure AI and ML provide powerful, new opportunities to reimagine pervasive, time-consuming manual processes,” said Bill Borden, corporate vice president of 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 travellers and employees.”

The solution will be piloted by Microsoft employees and will be integrated within Microsoft’s internal expense system in 2023 before being made available to other American Express Corporate clients. 

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