When you think of expense reports, you also think about its vulnerability to fraud. While there are tools and systems to better tackle fraud, consistent auditing still plays a vital role.
Last year, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reported that nearly 15% of all fraud in the workplace was related to T&E expense reporting. According to the same report, the median financial loss to an organization for a single instance of expense fraud is $26,000, and the median duration of the fraudulent activity is two years. That is a lot of money and a long duration.
Earlier this year, AirPlus International fielded a survey to corporate travel managers to explore how they manage expense fraud in the travel category. 35% of the respondents reported that they manage both travel and T&E within their organizations. Another 15% of the respondents identified their official role as a travel manager but were closely involved in creating T&E expense policy as it relates to travel. On the other side, only 30% of travel managers said their company’s travel policy had any guidelines for T&E expenses. 7% of the respondents said they were not involved at all with T&E expenses.
Of the 119 surveyed, 8% of the respondents reported that their companies had uncovered significant fraud in T&E expense reporting over the last two years while 19% said that they didn’t know of any significant fraud. For the 8% of respondents, the most common behavior was falsifying or altering receipts to inflate reimbursements. Additional common fraudulent behaviors include submitting too many “below-the-line” expenses (expenses below a certain $ value that do not require receipts per a corporation’s T&E policy), exchanging premium-class tickets and reclaiming receipts.
The survey respondents utilized safeguards in place at their organizations for preventing and detecting fraud. The most common prevention tactic, cited by 81% of the respondents, was to include direct manager approval for all T&E expenses. 67% of respondents said their companies required receipts for all expenses incurred during travel, while 59% required the use of a corporate card for T&E expenses.
To read the full report by AirPlus International click here
Maintaining compliance and increasing visibility are the key factors in prevention of T&E fraud. Surprisingly, the ACFE reports that most workplace fraud is initially discovered from a tip provided by a co-worker. However, to take action, the tip must be backed up by facts and data.
Here is a video on T&E expense fraud which you may find useful –
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