Concur recently shared advice on how to fix the “top 3 expense report budget burners” on its blog. In our customers’ experience, a fourth budget burner beyond those that Concur noted is out-of-policy spending. Across all of our customers, over 5% of total travel expenditures are for out-of-policy items or activities. This spending includes duplicate submissions that circumvent expense management system controls, out-of-pocket spending for out-of-policy items and activities, spending with out-of-policy merchants, and misclassifying expenses to avoid detection of non-compliant spending.
Traveler abuse of expense policies can be addressed easily and inexpensively by leveraging systems that automatically monitor and analyze expense reports at least monthly. Automated reviews can identify which travelers are the riskiest, which merchant category codes should be blocked, and which merchants should probably be blocked for all but a handful of travelers. These reviews help identify the policies that aren’t working as intended and require modification. They identify duplicate submissions, whether intentional or accidental, so the over-reimbursements can be recovered.
The best automated monitoring and analysis is performed on expense reports in the context of an individual expense report, previous expense reports submitted by the same traveler, and all other expense reports submitted by travelers throughout an organization. This provides not only the best context for analyzing one expense report, but it also provides significant insight into the behaviors of travelers throughout an organization. How do travelers within the same role behave relative to one another? What are the differences in behavior based on geography or position?