Case Study: Brex Harnesses AI for Spend Management

The spend management landscape has experienced significant revolutions, from the advent of web-based data collection in the 1990s to the proliferation of SaaS platforms designed to track and manage spend. With the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), businesses are reaching new levels of efficiency and control in financial operations. Brex, a leader in the unified global spend platform, has harnessed AI to transform how organizations manage their expenses, providing unprecedented levels of efficiency, compliance, and accuracy.

Key Takeaways

  • Brex’s AI capabilities automate menial tasks, saving time and reducing errors in expense management.
  • AI-enabled policy controls and auto-filled reimbursement requests ensure compliance and reduce overspending.
  • Brex Assistant simplifies expense management, improving productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • AI allows Brex to scale operations without adding significant resources, maintaining high accuracy and low latency in financial processes.

Approach

Brex identified the inefficiencies in traditional spend management methods, which relied heavily on manual processes and disparate SaaS platforms. To address these challenges, Brex invested in AI and machine learning technologies to automate and streamline financial operations. The goal was to shift from reactive spend management to proactive spend control, enhancing visibility and efficiency. By integrating AI, Brex aimed to automate tasks such as policy controls, reimbursement requests, and receipt generation, thus reducing the manual workload for finance teams and ensuring compliance with financial policies.

Implementation

Brex implemented several AI-driven features to transform their platform. AI-enabled policy controls automatically restricted spending to approved amounts and categories, reducing the need for manual oversight. Auto-filled reimbursement requests utilized purchase data to streamline the reimbursement process, saving time and ensuring accuracy. Autonomous receipt and memo generation automated the creation of necessary documentation for tax compliance. Merchant categorization, powered by proprietary AI technology, minimized manual categorization efforts and facilitated faster book closing. Additionally, Brex integrated their platform with ERP systems, allowing for real-time synchronization of transactions and related categories.

The introduction of Brex Assistant marked a significant advancement in their AI capabilities. This AI-powered assistant automated expense information collection and provided employees with immediate answers and actionable insights, simplifying the expense management process and improving productivity.

Results

The implementation of AI initiatives at Brex led to substantial improvements in efficiency and accuracy. On average, Brex saved enterprise customers 300 hours per month in employee expense compliance efforts. AI-powered controls prevented out-of-policy spending, saving customers an annualized $18M+. The accuracy of document processing reached an impressive 99.9%, and over 2.7 million in-policy expense transactions were automatically approved. Compliance efforts were streamlined, with over 1.4 million receipts and 1 million receipt memos generated automatically, significantly reducing the manual workload for finance teams.

Challenges and Barriers

Brex faced several challenges in implementing their AI solutions. Initially, traditional optical character recognition (OCR) technologies proved insufficient in terms of accuracy and speed, necessitating a switch to a more reliable solution. Integrating AI models into existing systems required significant technical expertise and customization to ensure seamless operation. Additionally, training employees to effectively use AI tools and overcoming resistance to change were critical to maximizing the benefits of AI integration.

Future Outlook

Brex remains committed to innovation in the AI space, continually enhancing their spend management solutions. Future developments may include expanding AI capabilities to broader financial processes, such as predictive analytics and financial forecasting. Increased automation will further reduce manual intervention and expedite financial workflows. As Brex continues to grow, they aim to enhance support for more countries and currencies, meeting the needs of a global customer base. Continuous improvements in user experience through more intuitive and responsive AI-powered tools are also a priority.

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Sources:
Brex.com
Inside Brex and Ramp’s AI ambitions
Customer Success Story: Brex | Scale AI


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