Expenses fraud: how to get yourself fired

Jess

09 November 2021

There are many stories of people who have strayed over the line when it comes to claiming expenses. Sometimes it’s a genuine error, perhaps it’s colleagues stretching the rules, and occasionally it’s straightforward fraud. 

The personal expenses process is there to reimburse employee for genuine expenses, which they have incurred solely in relation to their employment. 

As technology and integrated payment and expense platforms continue to occupy the market, it’s good to know that there are fewer opportunities for the dishonest minority to rip off their employers. 

There is an increasing amount of technical control which can be achieve with expense management software, designed to combat casual fraud.

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Here's a light-hearted round up of just some of the scams that employers are wise to. It’s an illustration, if needed, that there’s no such thing as a new expenses scam, and shows how an increasing number of companies are using expense management software to tackle fraud. 

Fictional expenses.

Have you ever been in a taxi when the driver offers you a few blank receipts, as if to do you a favour? It’s code for ‘fill these out and make a few false claims.’  

Except for the employee who failed to spot that the batch of blank receipts he had been given had each been overprinted with a consecutive serial number. It didn’t take too long for the fraudulent claim to come to light. 

Result? Claims not paid and the employee was fired for gross misconduct.

Here are some other typical fictional expenses. Believe it or not, businesses know about these and are looking out for them!

  • Claiming money back for a purchase that was not made, such as office supplies, or submitting a receipt for a client lunch which was actually a personal lunch.

  • Filing an expense for something which did not take place, for example a cancelled train ticket.

  • Submitting fake receipts produced using online templates. 

  • Double billing – this is where colleagues each obtain a receipt for the same expense, typically a meal, and each submit a claim.  Smart technology can help employers to spot this. 

  • Missing receipts. Whilst it’s good that employers can operate a trust policy for expense claims, they are often required under tax laws to request and retain receipts as proof of the expense. 

Expenses management software can reduce the incidence of employees claiming they ‘lost’ a (non-existent) receipt. With an expenses app that enables receipts to be photographed at the moment of purchase, the opportunity to say that a receipt has been lost simply disappears. 

It is of course possible to see these examples as ‘victimless’ crimes, or too trivial to demand close inspection. 

But theft from a firm has direct consequences for the owners of the business and other employees, who are busy operating within the rules whilst others casually disregard them. Interestingly, the increasing role of technology is helping to put paid to would-be expense scammers. 

So, the next time a cab drive offers you a handful of blank receipts, you’ll know to politely decline! 

Jess

Customer Success Manager

When she’s not taking wonderful care of our customers, she’s cooking up a storm or running around the city.

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