SME Staff Admit False Expenses Claims
Employers must monitor staff expenses claims more closely in the current economic environment – that’s the message from fuel card company FuelGenie, which found that one in 30 employees in small firms admitted to making false claims.
FuelGenie spokeswoman, Sarah Keane, said that employers are failing to ensure that expenses claims are genuine, despite their finances being tight.
“The fact that small employers are allowing any employees to falsely claim expenses is astounding, given the current economic situation. Small business owners need to clamp down on staff dishonesty. Their number one objective right now should be to control costs and conserve cash to prevent profits being further eroded.”
“There are a number of measures employers can take – for example, managers should never accept expenses without a valid receipt and those who authorise expense payments should be trained so they know when to challenge a claim.”
However, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants SME policy adviser, Manos Schizas, said that employers could trust most of their employees not to abuse expenses policies.
“The majority of employees would not consider fiddling expenses, particularly in the current economic climate when they think their employer is more likely to be monitoring finances closely. But if an employee is determined to cheat you, they will.”
“With some expense categories, the rate of false claims will be lower than others – for example, if the claim is more enforceable. If an employee claims for 200 miles worth of petrol and the meter says 50 they will be caught out.”
He said that it is also important to have a transparent expenses policy.
“Employers could try putting all expenses claims on the business intranet so that other employees can see exactly what the employee is claiming, which usually shames people into being honest,” said Schizas.
He added that low morale might tempt some employees to make false claims during the recession.
“Businesses need to ensure that morale is at a good level and that if staff are expected to work long hours, because conditions are tough or because the firm is short-staffed, their salary reflects that,“