UK Public Sector Tougher on Expense Exaggerating Than Private Sector

Study finds that one in ten UK employees exaggerated their own expenses in 2012

LONDON, United Kingdom, 07 February 2013 – A recent survey of over 1,200 UK workers commissioned by Concur, a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions, whose expense management, audit and compliance services are used by thousands of companies across the globe, has revealed that public sector workers have a much stricter attitude towards expense exaggerating than their private sector counterparts.

The data shows that while just 13 per cent of workers in public sector organisations were willing to condone expense exaggeration, over twice as many workers in very large private companies (over 750 employees) judged expense exaggerating ‘acceptable’ (28 per cent). Highlighting the need for organisations of all types to take a harder look at their expense reporting processes, just over one in ten of those surveyed admitted to actually exaggerating an expense claim within the past year.

David Vine, Managing Director, UK SMB, Concur comments: “In recent years, the public sector has faced significant publicised scrutiny over the accuracy of expense claims, resulting in a mandate for increased transparency. As such, we’ve witnessed a reduction in those in the public sector who think exaggerating expenses is acceptable (14% in 2011 compared to 13% in 2012). In a tough economy with little spare cash, it’s imperative that attitudes within the private sector towards expenses quickly follows suit.”

The study also shows that more than one in ten (11%) UK workers claiming expenses in the last year had exaggerated them, either rarely or more often. Of those that admitted exaggerating a claim, over two thirds (68 per cent) cited their reason was ‘to make up for the times when I forgot’. Almost a third (32 per cent) blamed their decision to exaggerate a claim on the fact that ‘money is tight’, suggesting the tough economic situation is taking its toll on the UK workforce.

Only 7 per cent of those surveyed who claimed expenses over the past year had an expense claim queried or rejected for being out of policy or lacking proper receipt documentation, suggesting large numbers of inflated reports could be slipping through the UK’s books. Moreover, when asked which best describes how they usually submit their claims in their current job, just under half (41 per cent) still rely on a manual paper-based system, and around a quarter (26 per cent) put their faith in a simple spread sheet. Only 27 per cent use an automated system to manage the expense submission process.

David Vine continues: “Our data suggests that over one in ten employees are exaggerating their expenses and the reliance on manual-based expense management processes exacerbates the problem, as it exposes businesses to unnecessary revenue leakage due to the lack of checks and balances in the system. Expense automation can reduce expense processing costs by up to 50 to 60 per cent and can increase travel policy compliance by up to 30 to 50 per cent .”

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Concur is a leading cloud-based provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions. Our easy-to-use, Web-based and mobile solutions adapt to each employee’s preferences and scale to meet the needs of companies large and small. No matter what size the organization, we help control costs and save time. The Concur Connect platform allows an entire ecosystem of end users, customers, suppliers, and solution partners to access and extend the Concur T&E cloud, which delivers travel and expense solutions and services otherwise unavailable to them.

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Concur is a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions. Founded in 1993 on the premise of helping drive costs out of businesses through innovation, Concur’s services are trusted by over 20,000 clients around the globe with around 30 million users. Learn more at

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