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UK research throws accuracy of mileage expenses into doubt

Almost two thirds of respondents do not query mileage expenses in the sign-off process 

Research from SAP Concur, the world’s leading provider of expense, travel and invoice management solutions, has cast doubt over the accuracy of thousands of mileage expense claims across the UK.

After surveying hundreds of business employees responsible for authorising claims, a worryingly high 59 per cent of respondents stated that mileage expenses were rarely, or never, queried in the sign-off process.

Further reinforcing the idea that something is not quite right when it comes to expense procedures, 77 per cent of those asked with the authority to sign off mileage expenses considered themselves to be very or rather confident in the accuracy of mileage claims, despite the low levels of mileage queries.

SAP Concur data shows that last year in the UK $222 million was spent on mileage reimbursement. Despite this, just 20 per cent often analyse mileage claims submitted, 50 per cent from time-to-time and just over a quarter (30 per cent) rarely or never. With 41 per cent of respondents saying that employees can make more than 50 mileage claims per week, businesses are potentially reimbursing too much and, in addition, leaving themselves open to fraudulent activity.

Dafydd Llewellyn, MD of SMB, UK & France, SAP Concur commented: “Millions are spent on reimbursing travellers’ mileage expenses every year – and yet it would seem that businesses are taking what can at best be described as a relaxed approach when it comes to ensuring they’ve got the right checks and balances in place. This throws up two potential issues. Firstly, and rather obviously, they are losing cash like a leaky bucket and secondly, mileage could be acting as a ticking Duty of Care time bomb.”

Furthermore, research found that reliance on outdated, manual processes to submit expenses is rife. The length of time taken and inefficiencies around this process is likely due to the fact that 31 per cent of UK companies are still relying on spreadsheets for expense submission.

Llewellyn continues: “What’s clear from this study is that mileage is rumbling along, creating productivity niggles and that companies are lacking the tools needed to generate insight into mileage claims, understand their human impact as well as understand how they are linked to the bottom line. To overcome this challenge, companies need to ensure they’ve got the right platforms in place to make it easy for employees to file mileage expenses and easy for the business to get the insights it needs to make informed decisions.”