Prep school fees? Just expense it.

11 March 2011
Most organisations – public and private – have been subject to a cost-cutting drive for the past couple of years or so now. There’s been extra focus and pressure on procurement to produce savings of course, but outside of purchasing everyone’s felt the impact of the need for greater efficiency. But while most have found themselves having to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less (money, staff, time), there are always some who think only of themselves. I’m talking about those employees who put in suspect expenses claims to boost their salary or cover costs they consider justifiable to charge the company for. A study out today, the GlobalExpense Employee Expenses Benchmark Report 2011, found UK businesses lost £1.3 billion to fraudulent and out-of-policy expense claims during last year. In notes to journalists, the organisation highlighted two findings in particular: some unusual claims (like one for a porn film on a hotel invoice, for which the description of purchase given was ‘argument with the wife’); and the double standards of managers who enforce tight compliance rules on staff but increased their own out-of-policy spend in 2010. Other questionable claims included a payment of more than £4,000 for prep school fees, more than £58,000 for client entertaining, £26,000 for a final payment on a holiday to Las Vegas under ‘sundries’. The average employee claimed £90 less in 2010, £1,698 over the year compared with £1,788 in 2009. The maximum amount received for expenses over the year by any one employee was £333,000. That last number sounds particularly shocking, although of course I don’t know the context for it. Perhaps that individual brought in a £1 billion of business and the thousands claimed were valid and actually quite economical. But for those claiming for holidays and school fees how can it be anything other than fraud?
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