MasterCard merges card data with ERP systems

MasterCard International Inc. and SPS International Ltd. have launched a new software product designed to integrate procurement information from MasterCard purchasing cards with popular ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, including SAP R/3, the companies announced Monday.

MasterCard SmartLink is designed to allow enterprises to streamline the monitoring, management, and administration of direct and indirect corporate expenses, according to company officials. The software will allow ERP system administrators to generate transaction data specific to any corporate purchasing cardholder at any point of a transaction worldwide, said Philip Philliou, vice president of e-commerce and emerging technologies with MasterCard Corporate Payment Solutions.

Offered through MasterCard’s network of member financial institutions, MasterCard SmartLink provides corporations with a solution for driving effective e-procurement, as well as a very clear path to generating hard numbers on their ERP investments, Philliou said

“Businesses that use the MasterCard SmartLink solution may greatly reduce the cost of processing paper-based purchase orders, which can often run as high as US$120 per order,” he said. “Cost efficiencies are found in a number of ways, including the time and staff involved to raise and approve a requisition.

In addition, MasterCard SmartLink enables a business to automatically approve transactions, generate invoices, merge data with the general ledger, make split payments, and download individual transaction information without having to wait until the end of the month to receive the statements to track expenses, he said. Full details of transactions are available for review by designated company officers within 48 hours of a purchase transaction.

SmartLink and a MasterCard corporate purchasing card also enable a corporation to link its business processes with those of customers and suppliers, both online and offline.

“The concept is that by automating the connections between suppliers and a corporation, a user of MasterCard SmartLink is actually integrating the complete supply chain,” Philliou said. “There is no longer any need to use paper as the means of communication because MasterCard SmartLink automates the processes electronically based on user preferences.”

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