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More than four-fifths of employees fiddle their expenses

Written by Josh Russell on Thursday, 22 October 2015. Posted in HR, People

A quarter of employees have claimed at least £250 more than they’re entitled to in the last year

More than four-fifths of employees fiddle their expenses

Most people like to believe they’re morally upstanding on the whole; few are likely to start grifting grannies or pilfering from the workplace pension fund. But apparently we’re still not quite as squeaky clean as we think: research from webexpenses, the cloud-based expenses management solution, has revealed that many UK employees are on the take, with a significant majority admitting to fiddling their expenses.

According to a survey of over 1,000 employees, 85% of workers have committed expenses fraud within the last year, with 5% admitting that they embellish on every single claim. It seems that a quarter of employees over-claimed at least £250 in the last 12 months and more than a fifth of UK employees have over-claimed up to £500. One respondent admitted to padding their expenses claim by £4,000.

But why are so many employees fiddling their expenses? According to the research, 22% of employees cheat on their expenses because ‘everyone else does’, whilst 17% did so to make up for low wages. More than one in ten admitted that they over-claimed as an attempt to get back at their employer, whilst 12% admitted they fudged the numbers because it was easy to get away with. At least employees aren’t blase about the potential consequences: if caught, 41% said they would feel embarrassed, whilst 38% were concerned that they would receive a warning or lose their job.

“It’s clear from the research that there are far too many people over-claiming on expenses in the UK workplace,” commented Adam Reynolds, CEO of webexpenses. “When presented with the opportunity to over-claim and get away with it, some people will, unsurprisingly, choose the dishonest option. There will always be those looking to exploit the system, however it’s up to businesses to put the right measures in place to better control expenses and minimise false over-claims. Organisations need to work to create an environment where fraudulent behaviour is not legitimised.”

It's probably worth double-checking those receipts then. 

About the Author

Josh Russell

Josh Russell

As editor, Russell is the man in charge of properly apostrophising our publication and ensuring Oxford commas are mercilessly excised. Our digital doyen, he’s also a Photoshop Pro, a dab hand with InDesign and the man to go to if you need a four-hour soliloquy about the UK's best silicon startups.

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