Aditi Thakur, Kapil Shrivastava were on an assignment in Dantewada district, about 340 km away from Chattisgarh, a region known for frequent and long power outages. For meeting their day to day on-the-field expenses, they, like many others with field jobs, are required to send their expense documents and travel bills to the headquarters and get more amounts sanctioned and transferred to their bank accounts. This seems to be a familiar story for most corporate employees, but a startup is looking to change the way people function.

Happay, a Bangalore-based fintech platform, provides an all-in-one Expense Management Software (EMS), where the entire process of funding, tracking and managing business expenses can be facilitated via a single digital platform, accessible through both mobile and desktop devices.

Making it easy

In addition to a host of features, the IT- backed platform provides a business expense card and mobile app that employees can use in real time. Further, businesses’ can reconcile expense reports, attached with digitised receipts in minutes. They can also integrate expense data into in-house accounting software without changing anything from one single centralised platform. With just a few clicks, this solution brings additional ease to a company’s management, allowing visibility and control on how and where their employees’ money is being spent, in real time.

Varun Rathi, COO and co-founder, of Happay, says that today, be it a sole proprietorship or an SME, it’s not possible for the owners to be present at all the places to hand over cash to its employees. Also, banks cannot address this issue as these are mandated only to provide a current account, accessible only to the owner who does not share the information with anyone. All these factors contributed to the popularity of Happay, believes the founder.

READ  CORRECTED (OFFICIAL)-FOCUS-To make more Ram trucks, Fiat Chrysler reconsiders Mexico


(In pic: Varun Rathi, co-founder, Happay)

Led by luck, now scripting success

According to Rathi, the digital India campaign is striking a chord with the masses and many Indians are now reaping the benefits of UPI, digital payments and services by players like Paytm, PhonePe and others.

Disclosing that Happay’s transition from a payment company to a full-fledged end-to-end expense and travel management company was led by a stroke of luck, he adds, “During our initial days, many retailers and manufacturers were impressed with our digital technology and asked if they could use our end-to-end encryption platform to make their internal processes more streamlined as they found our platform secure, quick, and seamless for financial transactions,” says Rathi.

It was then Haapay began researching the B2B sector’s expense management-related requirements that ultimately led the firm to foray into the digital expense and travel management domain.

Making it click

According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), globally, corporate travel spend will reach $1.6 trillion by 2020. Further, Travel and Expense (T&E), considered the second largest controllable expense after salaries and benefits, contribute about 6 to 12% of the total annual budget of various business sectors, says a survey by ITC. The same survey, while flagging that purchases outside of airfare, lodging, and automobile rentals are typically the least controllable travel expenses, discloses that the T&E segment has been a heaven for fraud, bribes, and spend violations.

So, what unique utility do such T&E solutions bring? “With such solutions, employees are provided with the right tools to shift their focus from non-strategic tasks to strategic ones like an audit. Besides, T&E solutions help control costs and increase compliance as these tools manage to leverage controls even for the most sensitive areas of businesses.” elaborates Mankiran Chowhan, Managing Director, SAP Concur, a US-based global player in the segment.

Overall, the data integration in T&E management spans the external ecosystem and internal systems, while providing easy to use tools, this in turn help organisations emphasise on what’s really important to make their businesses better and seamless, says Chowhan, adding that such solutions not only help analyse travel spends, but also eliminate unnecessary steps and automate manual processes.

Asked about one key differentiator of their platform, Happay’s founder explains, “Documenting each transaction, we capture the name of the merchant amount, date and time of the transaction, so even if an employee has not been able to attach a receipt, 50% of the information is visible to the company. This prevents leakage and fraud since this data can’t be doctored.”

Happay is standing tall amidst stiff competition from many foreign players. “The reason for this is that we have been customising our solution as per varying market demands. We always take feedback from people who are its users,” remarks Rathi.

Citing several integrations put in place by the startup as another key feature, Rathi highlights that across Indian business landscape, thousands of MSMEs still use in-house software and his platform works for all of them. “In your company, you might be using Oracle or SAP or any other Human Resource Management System (HRMS). We have integrated more than 18 ERPs ranging from the top level ones such as Oracle or SAP to Tally and Quickbook etc, which are popular among MSMEs.”

Fuelled by digitisation and riding high on the growth prospects ahead, this startup, has recently joined hands with RBL Bank and HDFC Bank for co-issuing corporate cards. It also boasts of a tie-up with ride-hailing major Uber to facilitate business travellers to auto-expense their rides.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here