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Building the world’s first truly borderless spend management experience

Running a modern business requires the ability to operate in multiple currencies and countries

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Erica Dorfman

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9 min read

9 min read


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Building the world’s first truly borderless spend management experience

Running a modern business requires the ability to operate in multiple currencies and countries


The challenge with managing worldwide spend

Our global spend management platform already brings together corporate cards, expense management, reimbursements, travel, and bill pay all on a single platform. Where Brex further differentiates itself is how we have approached building for global customers.

Global organizations need not only the ability to spend in the locations in which they are operating and traveling, they also need to add controls, planning, and reporting clarity for their teams managing expenses around the world. Brex’s global platform is more than just offering a comprehensive set of spending tools in the countries you need. It’s also bringing all of your global teams together with one consistent experience on that platform.

The typical framework for managing spend on a global team requires multiple providers to cover necessary financial tools like card, reimbursement, and bill pay, and expense software to manage approvals, planning, vendors, and expense reporting. Each of these systems requires unique processes, policies, and systems for onboarding employees, adding payment information, and integrating into an ERP (if they do). Using so many different systems inevitably results in an element of manual reconciliation and backtesting to ensure that numbers and dates match, and reporting is as expected.

Not only did we know the pain of these experiences, we lived them as a global company ourselves. In approaching building our expense management platform at Brex, we started with a global-first mindset, with the goal of giving customers a single place to operate their global teams. We wanted to make offering expense management to a global team as easy as any other workplace software like Slack, Figma, or Gmail.

Your employees need the ability to spend locally in multiple countries and currencies. Your business also needs to manage and fund that spend, while maintaining policy and tax compliance. Brex enables both, so employees get the spend tools they need and your business can compliantly manage all of your spend in real time, no matter where it happens.


Our approach to building a global spend solution

When we started building our expense management product, we knew our customers needed more than domestic support. Brex customers have been using our cards worldwide since our inception in 2018. For our spend solution, we wanted global capabilities to be core to the offering rather than a feature built on top of a US dollar-based platform.

We took a global-first approach.

It sounds obvious to take the “global-first” approach, but Brex is the first and only one to do it.

Even newer spend management solutions treat international spend and multi-currency as separate tools or low-quality add-on features — and there are typically only a few major currencies offered for local spending, reimbursement, and card issuing.

This leaves finance teams with no choice but to operate with multiple unrelated partners around the world, just to give regional teams access to the financial tools they need. Global teams are often stuck using a one-off card that’s not part of the company standard management or, worse, they’re required to use their personal bank accounts and wait weeks for a reimbursement. For finance managers, this creates a nightmare for visibility, expense accrual tracking, FX fluctuations, and intercompany journal entries to reconcile between entities.

Our global vision from the start has been a payment and expense management system that is fully dynamic and can be used as a single platform for teams everywhere. The simplicity that comes from using one system gives relief to finance teams and eliminates the overhead of coordinating across multiple tools and partners.

With currency flexibility built into Brex’s processing and budget reporting framework, you get visibility for managers and high-quality user experiences for the entire team, in their local currency. These easy-to-use capabilities remove the constraints of single-purpose tools for different regions — separate cards for the UK and a reimbursement provider for Mexico, for instance — and manual processes to check spend policies that come with them. Even better, it gives managers peace of mind knowing that every employee has the spend and payment tools they need without having to add new providers in the future.

Out of the box, you can manage billing, pay local bills, provide reimbursements from local banks, without toggling between windows or drafting currency conversion in another tab. And every employee has the same great user experience, no matter where they live and work.

“Along with improving the employee experience for our teams in India, we’re also able to track their regional benefits right alongside our domestic teams’ spend, including travel and procurement.”

— Albert Gonzales, Senior Accounting Manager, GoGuardian

We built a dynamic system architecture.

With a global team, finance organizations are responsible for coordinating reporting, budgeting, and expenses in bank accounts around the world. When it’s time to reconcile for month-end close, accounting teams have the challenging tasks of recording currency exchanges, VAT tracking, and intercompany cash and journal entry transactions across the different accounts. This can take days of manual work and occur across multiple spreadsheets and systems, reducing the time teams can spend on strategic opportunities to drive the business forward.

We built our platform to dramatically cut the time finance teams spend on global transactions — from VAT tracking and auto-receipt reconciliation worldwide, to giving teams the ability to be billed and pay in local currency for card and reimbursement transactions. We understand that keeping transactions in constant currency can cut critical time from the monthly close, and eliminates foreign exchange and bank fees for international transactions.

Part of the magic of Brex’s platform is also the ability to switch seamlessly between currency and billed entities. In just one click, finance managers can toggle between reviewing and reconciling transactions for the sales team in the UK to setting up an expense budget for the operational team in Brazil. And as your team grows, you can easily spin up a new billing entity through your HRIS system. For any team, you can flexibly adapt and adjust policies, approval workflows, and budgets instantly as needs change, and rest easy knowing that Brex will automatically convert policies and budgets into the correct currency.

This dynamic architecture allows you to seamlessly manage your global teams without sacrificing the technical and financial benefits of operating in local currency. Brex gives finance teams the flexibility to choose a reporting currency, local budgets and policies, local billing, and auto-map transactions in the correct currency to ERPs. You get to set up billing globally and locally and manage it all from one dashboard.

We built a proprietary payments infrastructure.

Expense management tools require more than the ability to spend, receive funds, and issue cards. They also require the underlying software to sync and engage perfectly with currency for budgeting, approvals, reporting, and tax.

At Brex, we have always taken a grounds-up approach to our financial stack, because we know that financial software works best when it’s purposefully built with the financial tools and services used. Brex has owned our financial framework since the beginning, and our global card offering builds on our proprietary processing, authorization, budgeting, and approval stack to map directly with purchasing currencies — something that is only possible for Brex to achieve. Similarly, our infrastructure for billing and multi-entity payments and reimbursements all build on our core ledger infrastructure that tracks, manages, and reports in any currency.

Most financial services providers operate in a single country and currency because of the complexity, which forces companies to have multiple providers. If we were going to make spend work globally — truly globally — then we had to figure all of this out in the toughest places on the planet to do so. So we did. We didn’t stop at Canada and Europe. We challenged ourselves to extend these tools into Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico — regions that most expense managers and financial tools avoid.

To do this, we built on our own infrastructure instead of partnering with third-party issuers like Stripe or Marqeta, which would leave our customers dependent on their roadmaps for new country and service availability. Instead, we worked directly with the Mastercard network to innovate and use our direct processing to provide local Brex cards and billing in over 20 currencies around the world and counting — something no other expense management platform can do.

Country access is especially important when it comes to reimbursing employees. We wanted to make sure that employees can be reimbursed quickly, without fees, and into their local bank accounts — in any country our customers operate in. We’re proud to enable local reimbursements to employees in as few as two days from approval in over 70 countries. Finance teams can also schedule bulk payments and batching for local currency and USD reimbursements on a schedule that meets their needs — daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Our one-of-a-kind payments infrastructure enables your teams to transact, invoice, get reimbursed, and pay bills in local currency or USD. With Brex, you can now issue credit cards or reimburse employees in more countries and currencies across every region of the world.

“Consolidating onto Brex’s global cards for our teams around the world allows us to see and analyze spend across our entities in one dashboard — all while operating in local currencies.”

— Mike Duffy, Director, Assistant Controller, Lemonade

We prioritized compliance automation.

The end goal for every company is to close out reporting efficiently with complete expense and tax compliance. Instead of building a better expense report, we reimagined the entire process.

We used AI and automation to remove manual tasks and expedite workflows, and we created the frameworks for an easy continuous close, including automatic policy application and budgeting, and memo and receipt auto-capture. All of this comes with valuable visibility and reporting tools to give finance teams insights that level-up traditional expense management and financial reporting.

Our dynamic architecture extends well beyond the US, adapting to employees’ local markets with local policies in local currencies. Brex is uniquely capable of this with:

  • Auto-generation of card receipts compliant with IRS or local tax regulations

  • OCR technology to auto-capture and match receipts in any language or currency

  • Flexible VAT tracking to capture and store tax details within your ERP

  • Native integration with multiple ERPs and CSV export capabilities to automap and easily export transactions from all of your subsidiaries to their respective GL accounts

Your finance teams can spend more time analyzing data to optimize global spend versus manually reconciling transactions or chasing employees for receipts.

“We’re able to manage all our global subsidiaries from one dashboard with every transaction auto-mapped to our ERP. Brex has been an absolute game-changer for us.”

— Victor Mendoza, Controlling Analyst, Incode


What this means for you, our customers

This strategic product architecture delivers the world’s first truly borderless spend management experience, so you can see and manage spend all in one place and give everyone the same experience, no matter where they are.

This means less dependence on multiple vendors or spreadsheets, fewer manual accounting processes, and confidence in managing your global spend via:

  • A unified global experience, with local cards accepted widely, locally funded two-day reimbursements, budgets in more than 100 currencies, and a five-star mobile app your teams can use anywhere.

  • Flexibility to customize your spend management tools to confidently operate in new markets, onboard employees anywhere, and run a global business in your own way.

  • Visibility and control, with customizable dashboards of all your global subsidiaries and global spend in one place.

  • Global compliance, with the ability to itemize VAT across all entities for recapture with direct integrations for leading ERP and HRIS systems.

And you can finally trust that you have a global platform with local solutions to run your business however you want and wherever you need.

Truly global spend management from Brex

  • Brex cards work in 210+ countries/territories

  • Budgets can be localized in 100+ currencies

  • Reimbursements are available in over 70 countries and nearly 50 currencies

  • Corporate cards can be issued in over 20 currencies across more than 40 countries

And this is only the beginning. We continue to add support for more countries and currencies, and we’ll keep an open dialogue with our customers so we can innovate our global spend platform to meet current and emerging needs. And so you can focus on what you do best — innovating your business and serving your customers.

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See what Brex can do for you.

Learn how our spend platform can increase the strategic impact of your finance team and future-proof your company.

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