June 13, 2024

SAP Concur study highlights distrust over fraudulent expenses

More than a third of 37% of HR and finance decision-makers expect to see employees claiming fraudulent expenses to counter the impact of the increased cost of living, says a new study by SAP Concur.

As a result, 59% anticipate spending more time reviewing expenses to ensure they are compliant with their policies.

The report, called Expense Management in Times of Inflation: How to Improve Employee Experience, found 60% anticipate increasingly stringent audits on their expenses to ensure they are compliant with policies adjusted to reflect inflation. 

Meanwhile, 36% say the current economic situation could mean employee expenses being paid late, resulting in staff not being able to make ends meet. 

The report also found:

  • 58% of employees across Europe are concerned about the impact of delayed expense reimbursements on their personal finances
  • 8% of employees are also concerned they are losing out financially due to unclaimed expenses due to missing receipts or forgetting to submit on time
  • 46% say that the process of reclaiming expenses is so difficult that they don’t expense smaller amounts
  • 51% of finance and HR decision makers believe they are relying on too many manual processes that aren’t fit for the new hybrid working environment 
  • 47% of finance and HR decision makers say that to simplify expense management, they should be asking employees for suggestions about ways to improve the process
  • 79% of employees say their business conducts feedback initiatives to measure satisfaction with processes such as expenses reclaim, but only 27% report this happening frequently.

Pierre-Emmanuel Tetaz, EMEA SVP & General Manager, SAP Concur, said: “It’s clear the evolving economic situation is putting expense management issues in the spotlight. Businesses are looking to reduce inefficiencies to ensure they offer the best services to employees, while employees worry about the speed at which existing processes can support their new needs. 

“The consequences for finance and HR teams of not getting this right should not be underestimated. Our survey found that over a third of these teams (36%) believe their organisation is lacking realtime visibility into what’s being spent and that they will experience an unpleasant surprise, such as being over budget once all expenses have been claimed. 

“To address these challenges, finance and HR teams need to implement new technologies such as AI and automation tools to help administer expense management. At the same time, ensuring transparency and open communication is crucial to employees understand and navigate the process – helping to improve their experience with their employer amid these difficult times.” 

The report is based on the views of 2,500 employees who regularly travel for work as well as 750 finance decision makers and 750 HR decision makers in businesses.  

The survey was conducted in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Benelux, Nordics, and Spain by Coleman Parkes in July and August 2022.