Coupa Inspire: Release Updates and Product Goodies – Expenses, Budgeting and Integration

At Coupa Inspire last week, Raja Hammoud, VP of Product Management, shared a number of updates to each of the modular areas of Coupa’s product suite. These include enhancements in expenses and budgeting. For its T&E/expense module, this includes adding an auto-classification expense engine that, once trained, can help drive automation and speed for users - and accuracy for administrators. The system can learn how to break down receipts and properly classify expenses by correct GL code. Coupa also includes TripIt integration on the T&E front.

Coupa told the audience at Inspire that expense line itemization is “one of the larger Release 9 capabilities” within T&E. The system attempts to minimize the effort required of users. For example, when submitting a receipt for a hotel, the system automatically splits individual line items from the total (e.g., stripping out room cost from internet, meals) so it’s not necessary to enter every line item on their own.

It then can apply policies (e.g., meal limits for a number of individuals) based on company programs. Coupa Expense also now features a similar auto-generated line itemization for rental cars and other categories (e.g., automatically providing a populated entry box based on the receipt showing a policy calculation based on number of days).

In budgeting, new enhancements include a “budget meter” on the home page for users as well as the ability to show the impact of budgeting at the time of requisition - rather cleverly. To wit, along with other items in a shopping cart, based on the billing and linked GL code assigned, a green, yellow, red thermometer appears to the right of the line item showing the amount of budget remaining. Users can toggle this by selecting different periods. It’s an elegant way to show budget availability and impact in a simple visual at the time of shopping cart review.

For integration, Coupa continues to support a range of file formats, from basic CSV to XML to API-based integration. We spoke with a customer last week in the process of linking a supplier’s legacy EDI service into Coupa (which required a material effort over several months based on limitations at the supplier side).

Coupa continues to support reference data such as users, supplier and GL accounts (we’ve spoken with Coupa customers with truly massive GL account code requirements and linkage). Further, Coupa supports integration with transactional data including POs, receipts, and invoices (from Coupa and third-party systems).

Curiously, several Coupa customers we know continue to use internal invoice automation tools (e.g., SAP combined with ReadSoft) that can be loosely (or more tightly) integrated with Coupa based on deployment approach. In total, Coupa now supports integration to 50+ different systems and thousands of budget objects, according to their claims at Inspire. The latest systems integration is QuickBooks (which just game out). Native API integration to Workday is coming soon.

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