Employers bump-up expense claims as recession bites

New research from GlobalExpense, a leading expense management provider, shows that many employees say they will exaggerate their expenses claims from their employer if they get into financial difficulties, while nearly a third of all adults think exaggerating claims can be acceptable.
The research (which was based on a representative sample of nearly 2,000 adults) reveals that a fifth of expense-claiming employees admit to having exaggerated them. 

The average amount added to their most recent exaggerated expense claim was £13.81. 
Exaggerating expense claims is seen as acceptable by 30 percent of all adults, especially in the following circumstances:

  • when the mileage rate paid by the employer doesn’t cover the actual car and fuel costs (76 percent)

  • when pay has not risen in line with inflation (40 percent)

  • when the employer is slow at paying back expenses (29 percent)

  • when an employee feels they are not paid a fair salary (28 percent)

GlobalExpense conservatively estimates that about 3,750,000 UK employees claim expenses.
13 percent of expense-claiming employees say that it is likely or very likely that they will exaggerate their expenses if they find themselves in economic difficulties as a result of a recession and think they can get away with it.
David Vine, managing director of GlobalExpense, said: “The writing is on the wall.  The further the country falls into recession and people feel the pinch, the more employees are being tempted to fiddle their expenses. 
“Adding around £14 to an expense claim may not sound much, but with over 3.7million employees in the UK who claim expenses, the amount of money that businesses are losing every day through fraudulent claims will be tens of millions of pounds.  At a time when many businesses are battling with banks over their borrowings, every penny counts. 
“Worryingly, 95 percent of people say that their employer has never queried or rejected an expense claim for being too high.  Companies and organisations need to take this issue more seriously and put more effective controls in place.  For example, if a business makes a net profit of 10 percent, then cutting expenses by £100,000 is the equivalent of making an addition £1m of sales – not small beer.”

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