Michael Richards, chairman of business software firm webexpenses, said businesses had to create much tougher policies to crackdown on employees “stretching the truth” when it comes to filling out their expense claims.
“Padding in the expense claims and adding mileage is technically fraud. It is a strong word, but it is fraud,” he stated. “But line managers don’t want to challenge claims of colleagues who might be friends and chief executives are concerned about whether a crackdown would hit staff morale. This organisational and cultural acceptance of expense claim abuse is difficult to break. But this is a problem for the majority of organisation and money is being wasted.”
According to research carried out by webexpenses last year, expenses fraud costs UK businesses over £100m each year with employees even claiming for 30p toilet trips at train stations on their way to a meeting and mileage for car journeys to a client’s office and back to their home.
One in four employees admit to bending the rules when claiming expenses stating that a lack of expenses management software and not being aware of an expenses policy at work made it easier to do so. Almost 10 per cent said their expenses were never queried or checked.
“Too many chief executives are themselves guilty of expense excesses so any change must be handled from the top,” said Richards. “You have to have the courage and stand up and say that much tougher policies will be coming in and remind everyone that expenses are not a perk but a recompense. You have to draw the line firmly.”
Richards added that new systems could initially leave “staff miffed”, but claims software can help make it easier to keep track of company spending and expenses.
“There might be a bit of shouting with some up in arms but this will make you big savings,” he says.
Read more about the expenses issue:
- One in four employees admits to cheating on expenses claim
- Five years after MPs’ expenses scandal, the UK hasn’t learnt its lesson
Webexpenses has just launched a new mobile app allowing employees to fully manage their expenses on the go. The app ensures claims stay within company policy with mileage being tracked through GPS. Finance teams can also monitor company spend when it occurs.
“It empowers the employees and helps de-personalise the claims process” said Richards. “If you have a good effective system it can improves peoples’ contentment.”
Indeed he says new research from webexpenses revealed that the use of mobile apps in the workplace makes people happier and more productive.
It found that two-thirds of people using apps at work said it saved them time with 39 per cent saying it enabled them to stay on top of tasks.
It even claimed that by using mobile apps at work, 21 per cent of employees are more likely to be happier in their jobs compared to those who don’t use them.
Richards added: “I’d encourage everyone to consider how they can make sure they don’t get left behind in the mobile app revolution. Whether it’s for keeping in touch with clients or managing expenses mobile apps save people valuable time and hassle.”
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