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Concur Fusion Microforum

Tax Risks Are A Key Issue For Concur Fusion Attendees

Last month, hundreds of Concur clients and partners convened in Las Vegas for three days of workshops, panels, and roundtable discussions about managing the travel challenges created by employees on the go. As a Concur partner, Monaeo led discussions on how companies can best manage the tax risks created by their business travelers.

The Global Business Travel Association predicts that business travel spending in the U.S. alone will grow 3.2% in 2016. Business travel means growth for companies – but it can also mean costly tax exposures.

Every time company employees cross state or country borders they can create tax liabilities. That’s because each jurisdiction has its own unique set of rules for when non-resident workers are required to pay taxes. In New York, for example, a company is responsible for withholding payroll taxes for non-resident employees who work in the state for more than 14 days in the calendar year.

For Fusion attendees, tax compliance was a big issue. At a microforum on tax risks, Monaeo co-founder Nishant Mittal led a group discussion of how companies are tackling this issue – and the challenges they are facing. As we listened to participants tell stories of the pain that their travel and finance departments were experience because of tax risks, a few patterns emerged:

Companies of all sizes are facing this issue

One attendee spoke about how her company had recently undergone a state audit. The company wasn’t large compared to many Concur clients – in fact, it had fewer than 500 employees – but it was a consulting firm where many employees spent the majority of their time on the road. The audit had cost the firm significant funds, but the employee was equally upset about the drain on her team’s time. “I have a spreadsheet with 50 tabs that I use to keep track of this,” she explained. Not only were such manual methods time-consuming, she had to be vigilant about expensive errors that could arise from a single mistyped number.

It’s not just New York

It’s unquestionable that New York pioneered the widespread withholding tax audit. However, as technology advances and companies increasingly have digital records, more and more states are following suit. We heard stories of companies being audited not just in New York, but also by Connecticut, Philadelphia, Georgia, California, and numerous other states and localities.

The fees and penalties can continue after the audit is finished

One attendee discussed how her company was still paying fees and penalties years after the audit. Companies may also find themselves being audited in subsequent years. Audits can also “spread” – often a state audit of one company will lead to audits of that company’s primary partners or vendors.

What can travel managers do when confronted with these risks? The first step for any company is to understand your risk. For those companies that use Concur, existing travel and expense data can be a rich source of information. Once you understand where you have exposures and how large those exposures are, then your company is well-armed to manage and reduce those tax risks.

Interested in learning more about how Monaeo’s Risk Analyzer can quickly and accurately quantify your tax exposures? You can request a free consultation here here.

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5 Things to Know About Building Enterprise Technology: System Integration

At Monaeo, our very first product was for consumers. In fact, it was for a specific sub-set of consumers, high net-worth individuals. We understood the problem they faced (tedious manual entry of where they spent each day) and how technology could help solve it. It was only after we built our platform that we realized businesses were facing the same problem on a larger level.

Although we still have an active and growing consumer customer base, by now most of Monaeo’s clients are large companies. While the core technology of our product remains the same, our tech team had to pivot when we first targeted the enterprise market. Even when the software is similar, there are critical differences between developing enterprise and consumer products.

Our CTO, Vinay Pai, has been at the helm of technology for both B2B and B2C companies. He agreed to share his thoughts about the key considerations when building an app for each user group.

After getting a Ph.D. in computer science, in 2006 Vinay joined a fledgling online dating company as a software engineer. A year later he became the CTO and over the next 3 years scaled out systems to support growth from thousands of users 10x to more than 5,000,000 users. Daily users on-site increased around 1000%. The company, OkCupid, became a household name.

OkCupid is a data analytics company, using math to help people get dates. Now Vinay builds a product that uses math to help people save money, as CTO of Monaeo. The differences in marketing and sales for enterprise products are more transparent, but Vinay argues that there are key differences in the technology for both as well.

This is Part 1 of a 5-part series where Vinay Pai talks about key things to know about building technology products for businesses.

#1. Systems integrations will become your biggest headache.

 

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A key challenge for any enterprise technology company is systems integration. Every business has legacy technology and existing partnerships with third-party vendors. The larger the enterprise, the more technology they will have in place and the harder it will be for them to change it.

Enterprise software developers, therefore, need to be prepared for many more external systems. No matter how impressive your product, a large organization simply won’t use it if it isn’t compatible with their established practices and processes.

Similar to consumer technology, it’s essential for enterprise software developers to make a core architecture that is simple to build on top of. Developers building consumer products often struggle to build an underlying system powerful enough to support the feature-rich bells and whistles demanded by users.

In enterprise technology, however, the challenge is making sure that you can satisfy each client’s demands while not interfering with your core system. A system needs to be able to take in data from existing systems and spit new data back out in forms the enterprise can use (whether that’s as simple as a CV or as complex as feeding directly into a home-grown time and attendance system).

For a multi-tenant SaaS system like Monaeo, where enterprise customers can dictate exactly how they need the product to work, it’s crucial that product can work with a number of third-party software without bleeding into core systems. If you let each client’s needs become part of your core architecture, you risk doing extra work in the long run.

In the next installment of this series, we discuss how to do user testing when you don’t have direct access to your users.