Outdated expense reporting is leaving employees out of pocket

A survey of 1,000 employees across public and private sector organisations in the UK by OnePoll analysed how often employees file their expenses, how long they spend making claims and the value of the claims they are making.

The research revealed that 77 percent of respondents use their own personal cash or credit card to pay for business expenses, and that the average total value of the expenses claimed by an individual each month is £156.17. However, despite this, more than 50 percent of respondents do not claim for all their expenses.

The aim of this study was to assess the efficiency of current expense claims processes and how this impacts both the employee and the employer. The results show that many employees don’t get around to claiming all their expenses – even though they often pay for things with their own money instead of company cash – because their current claims process is far too complicated and time-consuming.

The research also demonstrated that 50 percent of employees that do make regular expense claims have to wait more than eleven days to be reimbursed, with 15 percent having to wait up to a month.

What this shows is that too many employers are still expecting their staff to foot the bill for company expenses. Having to wait so long to be paid back for business-related transactions can be extremely demoralising to a workforce, especially given the harsh economic climate.

While it might appear to be beneficial to organisations to delay the remittance of expenses, the inefficiency of their claims process can actually be costing them more than they save.

Respondents cited a number of factors that cause them to not make an expense claim, including lost receipts, not having enough time to complete the claim process or simply forgetting to file expenses.

The study showed that 55 percent of organisations still use a paper-based expense claim system, which is time-intensive for the employee and the administrators in the accounts department, who have to input data manually before the employee can be reimbursed.

By doing more to streamline the expense claim process, organisations can drastically cut the cost of processing each transaction. What’s more, with the right payment tools in place, organisations can keep a close eye on what employees are spending – reducing the need for employees to use their own money for business expenses in the first place.

Through automation, organisations can make it easier for employees to log expenses as they accrue, without causing extra work for staff in accounts payable. This is especially beneficial when it comes to the typically high volume of low-value transactions, which have a relatively high cost to process.

In addition, by integrating all expenses onto a single web-based platform, everything from corporate card payments to cash transactions can be easily logged and coded by the employee before being sent for approval – affording managers and the finance team better visibility and control over what is being spent.

By simplifying the claims process for employees in this way, organisations can make the end of the month expenses chore more straightforward and reimburse employees more quickly. In addition, the finance team will benefit from up-to-date, accurate information without the need to manually input data onto their system.

Overall, this study demonstrates that the benefit for organisations is threefold – an efficient expense process can reduce the cost of processing transactions, provide CFOs with greater control over spending and reduce the need for employees to pay for expenses out of their own pocket. The full report can be viewed here.

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Shane Bruhns holds the position of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for product strategy, pricing, development and operations. Shane is also engaged in new business sales, key partner management and provides expertise across our global markets. In 1999 Shane jointly conceived and managed the development of the Internet-based expense management solution myPCard.com with Simon Raymer. Shane joined Spendvision in 2004, as the Director of Sales and Marketing, when the company purchased myPCard.com from Deloitte. Shane is a member of the Spendvision Holdings Limited Board. Shane's early career spanned the Financial Services, Manufacturing and Information Technology industries. In 1997 he joined Deloitte Consulting, initially working in project management with a number of SAP and e-procurement implementations around the globe.

  • Jennifer Mark

    Absolutely correct. Today with more advantageous world the life style has also touched a right track. Outdated techniques are no more reliable in terms of managing the expenses.

    Earlier the days were very impractical if we compare them with today’s world. Today the cloud based technology that has a booming contribution in day to day life management. Is we take the example of expense management then what ever is explained is upto the mark. For the more immense results people are now relying on online expense reports management apps to better manage their expenses.