Over half of respondents do not query mileage expenses in the sign-off process
Maidenhead, August 6, 2018 – Research out today 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 Europe. The study surveyed 1,130 business employees responsible for authorising claims across Europe and a worryingly high 56 per cent of respondents stated that mileage expenses were rarely, or never, queried in the sign-off process. Only 13 per cent looked into the accuracy of claims often and 31 per cent from time to time.
Given this, it is unsurprising that just 29 per cent of those surveyed with the authority to sign off mileage expenses considered themselves to be very confident in the accuracy of mileage claims. 54 per cent could only describe themselves as rather confident and 17 per cent were either so-so or not very confident.
SAP Concur data shows that last year the average European business traveller claimed for 1,978 miles and in the UK $222 million was spent on mileage reimbursement. Despite this just 27 per cent often analyse mileage claims submitted, 39 per cent from time-to-time and one in four (27 per cent) rarely. With two thirds (66 per cent) of respondents saying that employees can make up to 50 mileage claims per week and 34 per cent making in excess of that number, 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. Every time a member of staff travels for work, companies have a legal duty of care to predict the risks they face and be able to respond to them. Understanding the mileage your employees are doing is about more than simply improving cashflow visibility and streamlining admin – it’s about people. Companies need to be able to integrate mileage into their view to ensure that they are eliminating blindspots and doing their best by employees. The survey suggests that, at the moment, that’s simply not happening.”
Furthermore, research found that reliance on outdated, manual processes to submit expenses is rife. 75 per cent make mileage claims in work time, but just 16 per cent are able to work out and submit a mileage claim in less than one day; for 58 per cent it takes 1 -6 days and for 15 per cent it takes a week. The length of time taken and inefficiencies around this process is likely due to the fact that 83 per cent of companies are using paper-based processes. 52 per cent use a special form and 32 per cent rely on spreadsheets. Only one third (34 per cent) have access to an online or web tool.
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.”
Other key findings include:
- The most diligent country in querying claims often was Sweden (36 per cent) followed by France (28 per cent) and thirdly Germany (5 per cent)
- Despite this, Germany was the most very confident region in the accuracy of expenses, whilst France was second
- Finland was the most relaxed about mileage expenses – 84% rarely or never query expenses and are the least likely to analyse mileage claims often
- Finland and Sweden were the most likely regions to be using an online tool or portal. But it was the UK that had the highest percentage of respondents stating that they could submit a mileage claim on the same day at 23%
- Germany was the most likely region to have devised a specific form for processing mileage expenses and the least likely to submit these via an online portal. Whilst claims were not regularly queried, Germans were the most confident in the accuracy of mileage claims