Survey: Travel industry lacks expense scrutiny

Travel industry workers across Britain show a lack of expense scrutiny, with 30 percent submitting padded expenses to their employers.Barclaycard Business conducted research amongst more than 1500 employees across the UK, with the results showing that lacklustre financial controls and procedures by staff and their companies is still a feature of the working environment across the UK.

As many workers across the UK continue to pay for company costs out of their own personal pocket, Barclaycard Business’ research shows that the degree of financial mismanagement varies considerably depending on which industry sector employees work in.

Nearly a third(30 per cent) of respondents who work in the travel and transport industry have submitted a fraudulent claim whilst working. However, the research also shows that their employers are not conducting adequate checks on employee expense claims and in some cases are failing to spot that their staff have padded’ their expense claim form. Nearly all (89 per cent) employees from the travel and transport industry who submitted a false claim were never caught by their employer.

Tim Carlier, Director of Sales at Barclaycard Business’ said:

“Companies that do not have proper expense management procedures in place and who fail to use tools such as commercial cards take the risk of losing control of the costs their employees incur on behalf of the company. Our latest research shows that it doesn’t matter what your company does, or what industry it may be in. Different industries can suffer the curse of bad cashflow, due mainly to the lack of expense management procedures.”

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Travel and transport industry employees also begrudge the fact that they have to pay for their expenses out of their own pocket and then claim the money back.

Of those surveyed in this sector more than 4 in 10 (43 per cent) felt that their employers were taking advantage of their willingness to pay for their expenses out their own pocket and 30 per cent of employees felt that their company’s policy on expenses had left them out of pocket.

However, it seems that travel and transport employees are not helping themselves in their expense management. Even though many feel they are being taken advantage of, more than a one in five of employees in this sector (22 per cent) do not claim back all their expenses from business trips, potentially leaving them out of pocket and 43 per cent of respondents claim they have been unable to claim back an expense because they have lost a receipt.

Tim Carlier continues:

“It can take just one lost receipt for a member of staff to realise the true cost of not managing their out of pocket expenses properly. By relying on paper receipts and cash in the pocket employees and employers run the risk of losing out in the long run. The benefits of proper expense management for staff should not be underestimated. The fact that 13 per cent of respondents reported having a dispute with their employer over expenses, illustrates that if not properly managed, the expense claims system can cause friction in the workplace.”

Other findings from the Barclaycard Business survey include:

- A third (33 per cent) of travel and transport employees feel they are claiming back more expenses than they were a year ago

- 13 per cent of travel and transport employees have had a dispute with their employer over an expense claim

- 3 per cent of employees who work in the travel and transport industry have been unable to claim back a receipt of more than GBP500 because they had lost a receipt.
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