Photo of Rob Wegbrands, Google and Aman Singh Chadha, Citi.
Google wanted to give the best experience to new employees, reducing the financial burden on them as they jet off to expensive locations like Singapore in their first week. But its innovative One Card programme streamlines more than just the firm’s expense management for ‘Nooglers’.
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Global Cards Programme Owner
Google is an American multinational technology company specialising in internet-related services and products including online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software and hardware.
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Innovative One Card solution streamlines more than just Google’s expense management for new employees
Where Google’s card programmes were managed at a local level there was a lack of integration with the company’s Oracle expense reporting platform. This created lags in reimbursement owing to cumbersome manual, paper-based expense reporting.
Cards were not being used for low-dollar, self-purchase spend, ‘Googlers’ relying instead on inefficient paper-based purchase order requisitions process. Without an enterprise-wide, global initiative to implement procure-to-pay automation, the finance team had minimal insight into employee and departmental spend, and no visibility into total spend at the merchant level, impeding the team’s ability to negotiate effectively.
Google needed to address the issues and create a user-friendly card programme that would streamline expense management and provide better control of spend. This was especially important for the company as it often sends new employees to expensive locations like Singapore in their first week; this potentially creating a financial burden on the individual, as many are juniors without personal credit cards. The main objective here was for new employees to enjoy the best experience on their first day, with Google reducing the financial burden on them from the outset.
Google turned to Citi’s One Card solution which offers the functionality of a traditional travel & expense and purchasing card, eliminating the need for ‘Googlers’ to carry multiple cards for varying functions. Citi provided Google with a global corporate liability structure, enabling a single, widely accepted card with uniform features and a standard credit limit for all employees.
Purchases made on the Google One Card integrate directly into Google’s expense management system, reducing the need for time consuming, manual transaction entries, thus speeding up expense reporting and increasing reporting accuracy.
Google structured and standardised a global framework around their corporate cards operations, including privacy policies and card application process.
Citi then worked with Google to create numerous bespoke processes to support the uniqueness of the programme it required.
As a result, the GCard 1-Day application, for example, allows all new hires to receive corporate cards on their first day. This uses a file-to-file process for new card applications, allowing ‘Nooglers’ (new employees) to apply for a card through Google’s own interface as opposed to Citi’s systems. Also, Citi’s Virtual Card Account is a customised implementation with API integration, allowing Google to make online purchases, get them shipped home and provide end-to-end review on the Google shopping experience.
The collaborative programme sees Google leverage a centralised programme administration model that uses big data analysis for fraud management and declines.
Best practice and innovation
By working with Citi, Google has achieved an innovative, efficient and scalable global solution that, in one take, overcomes some unique issues in a user-friendly manner.
The solution is very user-friendly. Google’s online procurement portal only requires five mouse clicks to secure a card within two weeks. The One Card programme makes back-end processing easy, freeing up Googlers from time-consuming expense reporting, so they can be more productive.
Over 70,000 Google One Cards in use worldwide.
65% plastic-in-wallet company-wide, with 80% penetration among employees who make expense purchases.
75% expense report spend penetration, 89% of cardholders’ charges submitted within 30 days and 40% faster expense reporting.
Streamlined expense management by simplifying purchase, reconciliation and reimbursement procedures.
Provided greater visibility into global transactions and total spend.
Improved merchant negotiations.
Improved accuracy and timeliness of expense reporting.
Solution integrates seamlessly with Concur, Google’s expense reporting tool.
Reduces receipt requirements, unauthorised charge reminders and automated dunning for unsubmitted charges.
Rapid implementation (a recent rollout in Taiwan, Citi implemented in a new market and delivered over 2,300 cards within eight weeks).
Key learning point
The key learning point is to challenge the status quo and push for what seems impossible. This was the case with the Gcard on day one programme which had been tried unsuccessfully in the past and considered impossible from a logistical standpoint.