By Daniel Hunter
Almost one in three (31%) employees are routinely defrauding their employers and topping up their monthly pay, either by adding extra to their taxi bills or claiming for taxi journeys that are not business related, according to a UK survey by expense management company Spendvision.
Research of 1,000 employees who regularly use taxis for work-related travel, found almost a quarter (23%) of respondents will routinely ask for a blank receipt so they can add a few extra pounds before submitting their expense claim. One in ten (10%) admit going a step further and filling in claims for taxi journeys that have nothing whatsoever to do with work.
Employees in the North East are most likely to doctor their claims with 45% filling in blank taxi receipts with inflated fares or making claims for personal journeys. The North West was a close second with 44% admitting they had made a false or inaccurate claim for a taxi. Employees from the East Midlands were most likely to play things by the book.
“Most UK employees are fundamentally honest, but the fact remains that taxi fares remain an easy target for the minority of employees who are open to temptation," Shane Bruhns, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Spendvision, said.
“A few pounds here or there might not seem like much to an individual, but if almost a thirdof your workforce is routinely adding £15-£20 a month to their expenses, the amount companies are losing quickly stacks up.”
According to the research, 57% of respondents said they mainly paid for taxis in cash, while just 27% said they try to pay by card wherever possible.
Spendvision warns that the dominance of cash-based transactions makes it difficult for companies to establish an effective paper-trail for taxi travel, meaning claims are rarely queried. Of the respondents who had knowingly submitted a fraudulent claim, just 10% had ever had experienced any issue putting through their claim.
“The cash-based nature of taxi travel is clearly a weak link, leaving employers no choice but to put their faith in the honesty of their employees. From our research we found employees who regularly pay for taxi fares by card are half as likely to submit a false claim as those who pay with cash," Bruhns said.
“Replacing cash with card-based payments would be a step in the right direction, offering far less scope for fraud. More taxi-drivers are beginning to offer the facility for taking credit-card payments, but it’s not realistic to assume we’ll get rid of cash payments altogether. Instead, finance teams need the means to capture and analyse both cash and card payments. Unless they have systems in place that automatically present all the information they need in one place,employers will find it very difficult to get an accurate picture of what’s being spent and identify anomalies.”
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