Dealing with too many expense reports that are missing travel receipts? According to Certify’s 2015 Expense Management Trends Survey, 50 percent of employees neglect to turn in receipts. With corporate travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses on the rise, many travel managers are being urged to find ways to save money. Wrangling in your repeat “lost receipt” violators is one way to improve your T&E budget.
Companies Face Expense Reimbursement Fraud
While the occasional lost receipt happens, some employees regularly submit expenses without receipts, taking advantage of lax T&E policies that allow them to do so. This puts a company at risk for fraudulent claims. Whether an employee guesses, rounds up, or blatantly inflates an expense, these are all fraudulent expenditures that quickly add up.
According to a study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, expense reimbursement fraud accounts for 14 percent of all cases of workplace fraud, and represents a median loss of $40,000 per case. If you aren’t keeping a close eye on expenditures, fraudulent charges can go unnoticed.
Simple Steps to Put an End to Lost Expense Receipts
How do you put an end to “lost” receipts? Here are five tips to rein in expenses and improve the bottom line:
1. Audit Your T&E Policies
The first step is to review your current policies and procedures. Have ground spend limits been set? Are travel policies and guidelines being enforced? According to Certify’s survey, most (85 percent) companies have a T&E policy in place. However, 73 percent leave compliance up to the employee or review reports manually for violations.
An effective policy will outline budgets related to cost-per-trip, car class limits, and expectations related to processing receipts. By creating and enforcing stricter travel guidelines and policies, companies can expect to decrease costs associated with inefficient processes and employee error.
2. Find Your Problem Areas
Nearly half (42 percent) of corporate finance professionals surveyed by Certify indicate employees losing paper receipts, or submitting reports without receipts, is one of their biggest expense management pain points. To fix the issue, you need to hone in where the most frequent offenses occur.
According to a survey by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives 47 percent of travel managers have no idea how much is spent on ground transportation because of the lack of valid receipts. This is caused by employees who use taxicabs and ground transportation providers who do not issue receipts, provide blank receipts to be “filled in” by the rider, or issue paper receipts, which may never make its way back to the office. If ground transportation is a problem area for your company, read tip three.
3. Go Paperless
Save your sanity by opting to work with technology enabled travel providers—in particular ground transportation providers—that send e-receipts. GroundLink takes this a step further by offering an online corporate account center where travel managers can conveniently access receipts for all their travelers. This eliminates the operational costs related to processing individual expense reports and issues related to lost receipts and fraudulent cab fares.
4. Use an Expense Management Tool
Work smarter, not harder, by incorporating an expense management tool into your process. Tools like Concur make it easy for employees to capture all their business receipts while on the go. By utilizing a technology-enabled service, you can quickly access company-wide travel expenses and generate reports in a matter of minutes. With data in hand, you can then reevaluate travel policies and fine tune processes.
5. Rethink Your Vendors
If you’re planning to use—or already have in place—an expense management tool, consider partnering with travel providers who will send receipts directly to that system. For example, GroundLink is partnered with Concur and sends every transportation e-receipt directly to an employee’s Concur expense report. This improves productivity by streamlining the expense report process, as well as ensures compliance while controlling business expenses.
In addition, GroundLink enables travel managers to set restrictions on the type of car class that can be booked by employees, view all travelers’ receipts and ride activity, and download spend reports. These type of value-added tools help you keep travel expenses under control.
For more ways to cut your company’s travel expenses, as well as important things to look for when selecting a ground transportation provider, download our whitepaper, 5 Ways Technology-Enabled Vendors Can Cut Your Company’s Travel Costs.
Tags: business travel, expense management, expense receipts, expense reports, T&E budget