By Marcus Leach

Concur (Nasdaq: CNQR), a travel and expense company, has identified 13th December as the UK’s busiest day for submitting expense claims.

Based on trends from thousands of companies using Concur’s technology, the number of claims made in the UK on this day is 139 per cent above the daily average, as staff rush to recoup costs ahead of the Christmas holidays.

This adds to the huge pressure faced by finance teams expected to process all of the last minute submissions before they head off to enjoy the break.

A key factor that may contribute to the dramatic increase in claims during the Christmas period is a surge in client and staff entertainment. Another cause could be a backlog of receipts and expenses incurred by employees in previous months that need to be reconciled by the end of the calendar year. Personal finances also tend to be stretched at this time of year, so people are looking to recover costs from employers.

“As wallets feel the strain of the festive period, claiming expenses suddenly springs to the forefront of minds,” comments Isabel Montesdeoca, SVP and GM of EMEA at Concur.

“Due to the volume, accountants often have a very tough job getting everything processed before the Christmas break. It’s essential that businesses support their finance staff by looking at ways of making expense systems quicker and easier to reduce the need for staff to put in late nights in the run up to Christmas.”

Advancements in travel and expense management technology mean organisations can now gain complete visibility and control over the entire expense claims process. Companies like, Concur, make it easy for businesses to submit and track expenses online or from their mobile and convert paper receipts into digital records. Employees can even take photos of receipts with a smartphone, automatically attach the receipt image to an expense claim, and get them signed off much faster than filing expenses by hand.

“Before investing in automated travel and expense technology, the task of processing claims was really time intensive and meant a lot of onerous end of period purges as employees left it to the last minute to submit claims before the festive season," John Dickens, European Shared Service Centre Manager at NEC Europe Ltd added.

"Now we have more visibility of employee expenditure through online reporting and have much better control over the flow of expense submissions which makes life a lot easier.”

Montesdeoca continued, adding that automated expense systems were making life easier.

“Automated expense systems make it much easier to submit expenses. They eliminate frustrating and time consuming practices like stapling all of the right receipts together and filling out reams of paperwork. Credit card charges are automatically imported and using a smartphone, you can take a photo of the receipt from any cash transaction. As a result, expense claims are much easier for finance teams to track and approve, making the likelihood of getting hard earned cash back before the festive period much higher,” she said.

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