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Nearly half of workers aren’t filing expense reports, losing billions

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read

A shocking number of workers aren’t claiming money owed to them by their employers. This is reportedly costing Aussie workers billions.

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A survey by WalkMe revealed that 44 per cent of Australian employees are not filling in expense reports and leaving money owed to them unclaimed.

There were a variety of reasons for people choosing not to claim money, with 63 per cent noting they experience challenges when claiming expenses. Meanwhile, 35 per cent said it creates unnecessary stress.

Companies should look to make the process easier to help keep employees happy. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents said their company’s difficult-to-navigate process is the reason they do not file.

This is having a negative effect on financial wellbeing, with 19 per cent saying that unreimbursed expenses have negatively impacted their finances.

“When expense reporting is so cumbersome, or the process doesn’t feel worth the effort, employees will feel dissatisfaction with their jobs and more work stress, and that’s a problem for business,” said Chelsea Pyrzenski, chief people officer at WalkMe.

“Enterprises can experience compliance and end-of-year fiscal reporting issues as a result of the expense reporting mess, which makes them vulnerable. It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the process is very easy, efficient and seamless to eliminate the time-wasting shuffling of receipts and the guesswork around software and policies.”

Employers should look to make the process as easy as possible for employees. According to WalkMe, poor expense reporting does not just affect employee financial wellbeing; there are also rollover effects that can damage businesses, such as:

  • Compliance: Organisations have policies in place to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations, including keeping track of company spending. Proper expense reporting is part of these policies.
  • Budgeting: Expense reports provide valuable insight to make informed budget decisions.
  • Accountability: Reporting promotes transparency and accountability to ensure that employees – and the company – are spending money responsibly.
  • Employee experience: Companies must provide ideal means for employees to file accurate and timely expense reports to make the employee “whole”, thus driving positive employee experience.

Getting rid of outdated systems may assist in turning these results around. WalkMe reported that 32 per cent of Aussie workplaces still use paper receipts in the process. This can leave room for error, and more up-to-date digital systems may fix this.

Similarly, encouragement may be beneficial in getting employees to complete processes, no matter how small the claim. Forty-five per cent said they don’t submit for expenses worth less than $5, and 21 per cent won’t submit for expenses less than $10. This could be alleviated with more streamlined processes and better communication.

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