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What is bi-directional synchronization for Concur?

Sep 12, 2019

If you use either of Wipfli’s Concur connectors, ExpenseConnect and InvoiceConnect, you may be wondering if you need the bi-directional synchronization module. Or maybe you’re considering getting the connectors and don’t know how bi-directional sync comes into play. 

Let’s set the foundation first

SAP Concur is a great tool for expense management and accounts payable workflow. However, clients who use Concur need to get data from Concur into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool. Concur’s basic extractor exports hundreds of columns of data that then need to be manually parsed and formatted so it can be uploaded into an ERP solution like Microsoft Dynamics GP or Sage Intacct.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate this process? 

If you’re already using ExpenseConnect and InvoiceConnect, then you know how they eliminate the work that comes from having to manually manipulate data and re-upload it, and you’ve seen how they reduce the chance of making errors in that data — all by flowing data from Concur into your ERP tool automatically. It’s a seamless handshake between the two systems. 

InvoiceConnect also includes a vendor sync so that you can maintain your master vendor data in your ERP system — including adding or modifying vendors — and rely on vendor sync to push that data into Concur and ensure it’s updated there.

So what is bi-directional synchronization?

The bi-directional sync module is a separate tool from ExpenseConnect and InvoiceConnect. It’s intended to help clients that do a lot of project work in their ERP system. These clients are, on a daily basis, adding or modifying projects and job codes in their ERP tool and having to do that same work all over again in Concur. The bi-directional sync module takes that data from the ERP tool and pushes it into Concur automatically.

To dive in a little deeper, bi-directional sync takes master data from an ERP tool, like vendors and projects, and synchronizes it into Concur custom lists. This allows Concur users to choose the correct data values when they are creating expense report entries or setting up new users. It also helps reduce validation errors when integrating expense reports with ExpenseConnect. 

So if you’re creating and modifying a lot of projects, you’re going to save a significant amount of time by not having to do the same work twice. 

What can you synchronize with bi-directional sync?

The bi-directional sync module can add, update or delete virtually any data from an ERP tool into one of the following areas of Concur: 

  • Concur custom lists
  • Found in the cost-tracking section of Concur Standard
  • Found in the list management section of Concur Advanced Configurations
  • Concur user accounts
  • Cost object approvers

What does bi-directional sync NOT sync?

Bi-directional sync is meant to sync only what we listed above, which means that it does not sync GL expense types and natural accounts. 

So if you have Concur standard, bi-directional sync doesn’t synchronize into the Expense Types section. And if you have Concur Advanced Configurations, bi-directional sync doesn’t synchronize into the Accounting Administration section. 

However, GL segments can get updated regularly with bi-directional sync.

Getting started with bi-directional sync

To recap, the bi-directional sync module affects custom list items in Concur, which are used to track domain-specific things such as customers, projects and vendors. If you have a large list of items that changes frequently, and where the master list resides in your ERP tool, you could benefit by implementing bi-directional sync. 

Plus,you can schedule the sync to happen any time you need it to. It generally is set up to sync once a day, but it’s up to you how often you need the data to sync, and you can choose what time of the day it syncs.

If you have any questions about bi-directional sync or our Concur connectors, reach out to us. Or click here to learn more about our connectors.


Michelle M. Starkey
Senior Business Developer
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