Q&A

Starting up with Michael Sindicich

He’s the EVP and general manager of TripActions.
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TripActions

· 3 min read

Michael Sindicich is the EVP and general manager of TripActions, a corporate travel expense management platform that tries to make the traditionally tedious practice of filing expense reports more seamless and immediate. Since its founding in 2015, the company has accrued more than $2 billion in funding from a variety of investors, including Andreessen Horowitz and Group 11. Sindicich talked to HR Brew about reinventing expense reports for the modern age.

What product or service does your company offer?

We saw that the [travel management] industry was kind of cobbled together with a bunch of legacy solutions...We really brought travel online and made it extremely easy to book, manage, and work with the 24/7 support of travel agents who are there within seconds...We started expanding into the expense management and payment space because travel, payments, and expenses are so closely tied together. We saw an opportunity to completely automate the entire process for our customers.

How does the service work?

First and foremost, it’s a technology solution. People want to book and manage everything online through really easy-to-use tools. Some of the most annoying processes that you have [to do] when you work at a company typically is managing your travel and filing expense reports…Our product is a single solution that allows you to book, pay, and expense. When you have all of these systems in one place, everything talks to each other.

So, for example, I’m on a trip now in London, and I took the team to lunch. I swiped my card, and that entire process of expense management was automatically finished, because we know I’m on a trip, we know where I swipe[d] the card, we know it’s a restaurant, we know who I’m with because it’s on my calendar. It automatically approves that, and no one needs to review it.

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What specific issue in HR does your company intend to solve?

We want to make sure that all company spend is controlled by policy and it actually gives the freedom to the employee, because most employees are not trying to fraud the company.  Most employees want to do the right thing. By leveraging our product, it completely automates that process so that the employee is staying within the bounds, but it also enables them to spend company money…It’s also communicating the company policy to the end user.

How do you think the HR tech field will evolve over the next five to 10 years?

Technology is making huge advancements in the workplace. When I go to Netflix, in my consumer world, it pops up items that it knows I’m interested in…it uses AI and machine learning to really recommend options for me. When I take that to TripActions, if I go and search for a flight, it knows my loyalty clubs, it knows where my coworkers are booking, and it knows what’s within policy. That technology and personalization is going to continue to make its way into corporate tools to make engaging with corporate products a lot easier.

How will your company help drive that evolution?

We’re enabling people, we’re giving them the options, we’re giving them the freedom to be able to do what they need to do, but still having that visibility and control for the finance team…We’re tackling the pieces that are the most daunting for typical employees…Employees want to work at a company that does’'t make them front their personal funds and that instead leverages technologies like TripActions for T&E to make their lives easier and focus on what they’re meant to be doing when they sign on with that job.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.