Tall travel tales: improved processes needed to track travel expenses

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A recent survey carried out by Concur, revealed that one tenth of UK based employees exaggerated their travel expenses in 2012. The study, which was completed by 1,200 workers, also found that 28 per cent of those working in large private companies felt that overstating expenses was acceptable.

In stark contrast only seven per cent of those who filed expenses over the past year had a claim disputed or rejected for being contrary to company policy. This suggests that companies need to focus on effectively auditing processes and monitoring compliance.

Upgrading Dated Expense Reporting Systems

The pillar of effectively implementing an expense management process is to hold line managers accountable for all claims. However, even the most exhaustive of processes is likely to struggle when trying to track expenditure from multiple sources in addition to instances of misuse.

A key factor in this issue is the general failure to move past paper based systems. 41 per cent of those surveyed continue to rely on a manual paper-based system and just over a quarter use simple spread sheets. Only 27 per cent of respondents said they employed an automated system to manage their expense submission process.

The Need to Consolidate Data

Recently, CFO Research surveyed close to 200 senior finance executives based at large and midsize North American and European companies, in an attempt to identify the challenges facing those tracking travel expenses. 40 per cent of respondents highlighted a lack of integration between different systems and processes as the main issue.

Consolidating travel expenses into a single data format is a necessity for any business aiming to optimize spend. The process provides a comprehensive view of all data and consequently helps manage total spend more effectively and leverage volume in travel related purchases. In addition, reducing the admin burden on employees will support compliance and increase transparency, providing a better control of spending.

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