Companies get tough on employees' expenses

17 April 2006
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18 April 2006 | Paul Snell

European firms are cracking down on expense account spending, according to a survey by American Express.

It found 80 per cent of employees are inclined to spend more freely when their company is picking up the tab. However, nearly half (48 per cent) of European respondents say they now scrutinise employee expenses more thoroughly than a year ago in a bid to cut costs.

The poll, which quizzed 800 corporate cards users about their travel, entertainment and procurement expenditure, found purchasing cards are increasingly being used to track and monitor spending habits. By examining these habits, purchasers are gaining valuable information about where deals can be improved and negotiated, a spokeswoman from Amex told supplymanagement.com.

"The ability to track suppliers using corporate cards can only help purchasers negotiate better rates on certain things," she said.

Purchasers are bridging the gap between free-spending employees and employers looking to save money by giving them the ability to amalgamate suppliers while reassuring employees, particularly younger ones, who fear having to pay for business expenses themselves.

Paul Abbott, head of corporate card UK at Amex said firms are stepping up their vigilance over maverick spending.

"There is still a tug of war going on with employees who are making buying decisions. In response we have seen clients significantly expand the use of corporate cards to manage expenses and drive compliance."

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