What Do You Mean I Can’t Expense That? How To Deal With Weird Things That Show Up On Expense Reports
If you work in the finance department, chances are you’ve seen some pretty weird things show up on expense reports. From Italian vacations, to pet sitting, to traffic tickets there seems no end to the strange and inappropriate items people try to expense.
More absurd expense report items seem laughable, but they can still cost your company money. Without an effective review process to identify suspicious reports, your company could be paying out for things that are not justifiable expenses. And even if you do catch report submissions with inappropriate items, there’s still a time cost to deal with the situation.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a way of preventing inappropriate expense claims in the first place? Or, at the very least, to catch and deal with these problems more quickly?
Expense report software can help with this problem. But about 85% of companies already use some kind of technology-based solution to process expense reports and they still experience issues. That might mean it’s time for a new software system, and it can also mean it’s time to update your policies and improve communication.
Examples of Inappropriate Expenses
In a recent survey, 56% of CFOs stated that they’ve observed an increase in the number of inappropriate reimbursement submissions over the last three years. Some of the more ridiculous examples of expense report claims included a bear rug, pogo stick, yacht, and bed bug removal. Other frequent claims included child care, pet expenses, and household items.
Inappropriate expense report claims are typically a result of confusion regarding company policy, a lapse in judgment, or an attempt to push boundaries. They may also be connected with fraud, but in those cases the claim is usually less outrageous. Fraudsters submit mischaracterized, duplicate, or fabricate expenses reports that they hope won’t be noticed.
Over-Clarifying Company Policy
Most companies already have a policy in place explaining what employees should and shouldn’t put on expense reports. But that doesn’t mean all the employees are following it. Some might not even be familiar with the policy at all.
Take some time to look over your current policies and update them to be as concise and clear as possible. Then, make sure the policies are readily available to all employees. Also, sharing the policies just once isn’t enough. It’s a good idea to send regular reminders about your policy through the employee newsletter, company intranet, or staff email.
When expense report issues do come up, be sure to discuss them with employees. Following up with an employee who filed an inappropriate claim helps prevent such issues in the future. Talking with employees can also give you ideas for how to clarify your company policy.
The Role of Automation
Quality expense report software makes it easy to automatically enforce company policies. Once you’ve programmed your policies into the system employees can quickly check what qualifies as a legitimate expense. The system also automatically flags suspicious or unusual expense reports for manual review. Plus, it streamlines legitimate claims so you can keep on top of processing expense reports.
Automation lets you save time, cut costs, and increase employee satisfaction. It also makes it easier to deal with weird things that show up on expense reports. And it’s also easier on employees submitting reports since the user-friendly software makes report submission quick and simple. If that sounds like something you want in your business, just get in touch with us. We’ll schedule a free demo so you can see how much NextProcess’ Travel & Expense automation software can help streamline your company’s expense reporting.