Inflated expense reports: small arrangements are common, study finds

Two out of three employees admit sometimes taking liberties with their expense reports. Restaurant bills, or inflated mileage costs, employees defend themselves by explaining that it is compensation.

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This is a study carried out on a European scale by a company specializing in the management of expense reports, SAP Concur, who says it: only one in three employees swear hand on their hearts that they would never make small arrangements with their expense reports. The others – so two-thirds of them – are used to small deviations. 32% admit, for example, to having added alcoholic drinks from the hotel minibar to their expense reports. 27% rounded up their mileage charges. 18% plan to do so. 32% have spent meals with family or friends for professional meals. Here too 18% plan to do so. 27% try to be reimbursed for their personal expenses of office supplies, reams of paper and ink cartridges. And 24% round up their business mobile phone bills. According to the survey, almost everyone should identify with one of these scenarios.

These practices can be costly for the company since half of the people questioned in France believe that it is acceptable to knowingly submit a false expense report for an average amount of 115 euros. SAP Concur, the company that conducted the investigation, did the math. The expense report fraud would cost nearly 14,000 euros per year to a company of 250 people.

Employees put forward good reasons for these petty frauds. For them, it is compensation. Catching up for overtime that was not paid to them, in 15% of cases. Compensation for expenses they have incurred in the context of teleworking, this is the case for 19% of respondents. And catching up on time spent on business travel in nearly 20% of cases. For the authors of this study, “for some employees, from juniors to executives, it’s okay to submit incorrect expense reports, and they often see themselves as totally justified in doing so. ” And yet it is a dangerous practice. The Court of Cassation affirms that the presentation of false expense reports constitutes a serious fault. And who says serious misconduct says possible dismissal, especially if the sums are large and there is a repeat.

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