Research reveals employees are getting smarter with committing expense fraud

84 per cent of UK office workers have never had their expense claims challenged or declined

New global research has put expenses under the microscope and uncovered a staggering insight into the sophistication of methods that employees worldwide are using to submit fraudulent claims.

In many instances businesses may not be aware of the complex nature of expense fraud and the multitude of ways it could be hitting their organisation. However, 2017 research found that, 42 per cent out of UK office workers agreed that if they are sensible with fraudulent claims they are unlikely to be challenged.

Nearly half of employees admitted to increasing the number of miles they travelled, with many confessing to “only ever adding a couple of miles on”.

What’s more, it appears fraud has become further excusable by over half of UK respondents thinking if they travel for work they deserve a treat. The results indicate that an increasing amount of employees think that if they put the hours in they deserve a reward, a concept that if ignored could cumulatively have a detrimental impact on company finances.

The results as a whole indicate a growing endemic in today’s business culture where employees have learnt how to play the system moving to more surreptitious techniques of falsifying and exaggerating already existing claims to ensure it goes unnoticed.

Although the research suggests that the tactic of little and often seems to be the most common and safest form of fraud, there are still employees trying their luck with more brazen expenses. This was seen in those respondents who confessed to claiming a digital SLR camera or a gas cooker.

Commenting on the findings, Adam Reynolds, CEO at webexpenses stated: “The results bring to light the changing patterns of expense fraud, the shift to more subtle methods to efficiently enable claims to fall through the cracks and raise no red flags.

“The most prominent area being exaggerating mileage claims, this could be down to employees feeling it’s completely innocent just rounding up mileage and with a manual process it’s a lot harder to identify.

“42 per cent of employees surveyed said there were a lack of adequate checks to keep fraud under control at their current place of work, this ultimately allows fraud to continue ticking on and the longer employees get away with it the more accepting it becomes and the less guilty they feel. We hope these results are the push businesses need to explore and evaluate the effectiveness of their expense management system.”