One-fifth of workers ‘fiddling’ their expenses

One-fifth of workers ‘fiddling’ their expenses imageThe majority of employees are still not using automated tools for claiming expenses, according to research unveiled at the Business Travel Show in London.

Only 42 per cent of UK office workers use an automated expense management system, revealed a survey carried out by technology firm KDS.

The study of 1,235 employees also found that around 20 per cent admitted to “fiddling” their expenses, although this was usually to claim “modest amounts”, such as rounding up car mileage by “one or two miles” or increasing a taxi fare using a blank receipt by a couple of pounds.

KDS revealed that 48 per cent of workers currently submit expenses on an “offline” spreadsheet system such as Microsoft Excel while 4 per cent still use handwritten forms.

The study found that 88 per cent complete their expenses during company time, while those working for bigger firms (more than 500 employees) were able to complete the process more quickly by using automated tools than workers using other more manual methods.

Dean Forbes, CEO of KDS, said: “It would appear that most employers still expect employees to fill in old-fashioned spreadsheets or even write out their claims with a pen.”

“The results show that users of automated expense management tools divert less of their work time to getting their expenses done and also get their money back faster.”

The survey revealed that many workers thought that their company’s expenses systems were “painful”, while one comment described the system they used as “complex, slow, repetitive and very bureaucratic.”

From our own research at Fleetmiles, we actually believe that the estimate of 20% is low. When reality strikes at month end, you may realise that your credit card bill is substantially higher that the receipts you have in their various forms. Therefore, there is a tendency to ‘make up the weight’. Most we interviewed felt more than justified to take this action. Comments like, “Well we didn’t want to dip out,” and “Why should I subsidise the company?” were offered.

Maybe that’s considered ‘just’, but ‘creative expense management’ is neither accurate nor legal.