A successful business is the goal of every entrepreneur. You want to a grow a simple but valuable idea into a product or service that the rest of the market appreciates. But while success is its own reward, it also comes with some unexpected hazards. As a company grows and enjoys more profit, it also needs and attracts more talented workers. Most people who are hired are both ethical and professional, doing the job they were hired to do, and conducting themselves with honesty and a dedication to doing a good job.
But some people, unfortunately, whether due to ambition with no sense of propriety, or a sense of entitlement, want more than they have signed on for. And some of these people have no issues at all with simply taking it, unasked from the company that hired them. This usually takes the form of abusing an expense reporting system, and the older the system, the easier it is to exploit.
How It Works
With traditional traveling expenses, a company will often leave the spending during a business trip to the discretion of the person doing the work, trusting that they will simply file a report with all the expenses they’ve incurred, at which point, the company will eventually reimburse them. This usually requires filling out forms, listing the amounts spent, and including receipts if possible. Once the expense report has been processed, the company will then reimburse the employee for what was spent.
For some unethical employees, submitting false reports is one of the easiest ways to exploit the system. There are numerous tactics for doing this, from creating a modified receipt that is then photocopied and using that to justify an expense to simply making personal purchases and expenditures and then writing those up as company expenses. In one case, an executive actually brought his girlfriend along on a business trip, and, when treating her to dinner at a restaurant, filed this as part of the entertainment expense for a client.
How To Prevent This
By moving over to a more modern solution, such as expense report software, the ability to forge or exploit expense reports is dramatically reduced for all but the most technically inclined employees. Expense report software means that both the employees and financial staff now have the ability—and expectation—to file and view an expense report as it happens. When purchases occur, employees take photos using their phone to submit along with the report, rather than have the luxury to doctor receipts at a later time. Expense report software also makes it possible for financial staff to look at these expense reports online, seeing each expenditure and making a judgment about them, with the ability to flag and notify others, rather than having to wait until a trip is over and looking at a more carefully prepared and considered false report.
Because of the digital nature of expense report software, and the fact that this information is centrally stored where finance and management departments can view it at any time, unethical practices become MUCH more difficult for the average employee to pull off.