Although the use of the internet to expand business into a global market is a common practice, all trade is enhanced through the actual contact and experiences that are gained. The result is that employee travel does figure largely into the operational plan for companies, as this extends the reach of the brands, and can also enhance the reputation of the company through face to face meetings.
This can also represent another major investment that companies need to consider in order to generate greater returns. As with all investments, there is risk involved, and this can include:
- Inability to convert a client
- Returns are lesser than the expenses
- Over investment negates positive returns
- Possibility of fraudulent practices
However, companies do weigh the risk of investment with possible gains to contend with whatever the outcome is. The concern is when possible investments become consistent drains on the budget, as this not only hurts the operation of the company outright, but it can also be indicative of fraudulent spending, especially on a travel expense report.
Monitoring And The Movement Of Money
Unfortunately, one of the largest drains on a corporate budget is not always from known risky investments. The majority of improper spending can be uncovered with a thorough scrutiny of the travel expense report, since many employees will see business travel as an opportune time to make personal gains.
Some fraudulent charges on the travel expense report may be innocently motivated. This can include:
- Not being fully familiar with the parameters of accepted expenses
- Not having been held accountable in the past, and continuing unproductive behaviors that are not reformed
- Having a poor ability to discriminate personal and business charges
While these factors should be addressed, a well managed travel expense report can uncover these issues early, which makes them highly correctible without extreme actions.
However, some fraudulent charges on a travel expense report can also indicate downright malicious intent, and can highly impact company resources. These actions and motivations can include:
- Feeling entitled to extra benefits for the inconvenience of travel
- Falsifying charge amounts so that reimbursements are higher than expenditures
- Willfully claiming personal expenses to the company account
- Padding receipt documentation for greater reimbursement returns
These actions are not only unethical, but they can also be considered as outright sabotage to the company. The ability to have clarity on travel expense reports can mean that infractions are caught early, and disciplinary action and reform may be taken. Further, it also allows businesses to more accurately evaluate the basis for these questionable charges, and this can lead to the retention of good employees who were simply misinformed, as well as the expulsion of threats within the company.
Because the incidence of fraud with travel expense reports is so high, a wise investment for any company is the resources and tools that can lead to better oversight and monitoring. Automated expense systems and software provide this ability, and are an initial expenditure that easily pays for itself.