<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/BUJfPb8NrEnpjSiz8kRz" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">
Travel & Expense Purchase Card

T&E dilemma: when the bad guys look like good guys

on October 12, 2017

In any travel program, you have compliant travelers and non-compliant travelers. People who almost always spend within policy and people who push the limits. The problem is, to the human eye, these two people often look the same on paper. Their expense reports both look legitimate to the managers who are giving them the stamp of approval. How can you tell the difference?

Meet Joe

Joe is a classic non-compliant traveler. He doesn’t spend as he should, or worse, tries to defraud the company of money by abusing policy and finding loopholes.

There aren’t a lot of Joes, but there are enough to hurt your bottom line and put your company at risk. Only 10% of travelers have at least one potential fraud exception on their expense report, and this drops to 3.8% of travelers when you consider those that had two or more.

This means a travel program can dramatically reduce its fraud risk by focusing on those few employees that exhibit high risk patterns.

Signs you have a Joe on your hands include:

  • Uses corporate card on weekends
  • Categorizes expenses under the wrong expense type
  • An unusual number of out-of-pocket expenses just under the receipt limit
  • Frequent miscellaneous expenses

We’ve seen Joes submit miscellaneous expenses for donations to a presidential campaign, several toupee purchases, $300 a month at Soul Cycle, and even a doggy day spa expensed as hotel.

Joe is sneaky. Joe is hard to find. Joe can cost you big time.

Meet Judy

Judy is a what we call a “good egg.” The majority of your travel program consists of compliant travelers like Judy. She obeys company policy the best she can, she uses preferred vendors, and stays within her per diem limits.

But, every now and again, Judy slips up. It’s not unusual—37% of travelers have at least one exception on an expense report. Typically, these exceptions are simple cases of waste or misuse by well-meaning employees. After all, no one is perfect 100% of the time.

These incidents can add up across all the Judys in your travel program. Finding them is an opportunity to provide helpful policy reminders and educate travelers to self-correct behavior.

Mistakes that Judy may make include:

  • Unintentionally submitting duplicate mileage
  • Forgets her corporate card and puts trip expense on personal card
  • Lost a receipt
  • Books at preferred hotel without realizing it is 3x the allowed limit due to seasonality
  • Goes over her per diem on a trip to New York City

Judy is well-meaning. Judy is everywhere. Judy can cost you big time, too.

Find Joe, Find Judy

You can dramatically improve your travel program when you can spot the Joes and the Judys. But how?

Random, sample audits will spot some issues. But they won’t give you the full view you need to reign in Joe and Judy. You need to apply analytics to monitor 100% of transactions for policy compliance. It’s the only way to gain the root-cause visibility needed to affect change.

Companies that leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to perform a comprehensive, automated analysis of transactions not only see enhanced risk detection and reduce spend, but they also create a culture of compliance. By implementing AI technology like Oversight Insights On Demand, you can:

  1. Eliminate manual sample-based review of expenses
  2. Focus on employee behavior patterns over time
  3. Leverage best-practice analytics tuned to client risk preferences
  4. Reduce level of effort to investigate and resolve findings
  5. Drive savings from eliminating waste and misuse

To learn more about Joe, Judy, and spending trends in corporate travel programs, download Oversight’s latest Spend Analysis Report, Vol 3.

Jessica Kirk

Jessica Kirk is Vice President of Marketing at Oversight.

change employee t&e spending