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BizReport : Ecommerce : July 23, 2013

Study: Employees spending or stealing?

Those expense reports you're wading through? May need a better magnifying glass if a new study out from Coupa Software is to be believed. According to their data more than half (54%) of employees are expensing certain things without management approval and another one-third (33%) say they've over-expensed an item - including personal items.

by Kristina Knight

Cloud-based Coupa Software, whose programs help businesses better account for employee spending, recently studied 500 officer workers over the age of 18 and found that more than two-thirds (66%) of employees have made 'risky' purchases including dinners (38%), office supplies used at home (23%) and upgraded airline services (22%) without first asking for management approval.

"The results of the survey indicate a spending culture in America's corporations that has, in many ways, gotten out of control," said Rob Bernshteyn, CEO, Coupa Software. "As the leader in cloud spend optimization, Coupa is educating the enterprise about the value of a spend management platform that can both control the maverick spending employees see every day, as well as ensure compliance to cross-company pre-negotiated discounts, thus saving an average 9% across the board for any company."

Some have also expensed smartphones, clothing and exercise equipment. Other interesting findings include:

• 16% have 'inflated' the cost of taxi rides
• 13% have accepted a refund for an already-expensed item - and not reported it
• 10% have expensed the same thing more than one time

What's a business to do? Coupa's suggestions include increasing the amount of oversight committed to expense reports (62%) or creating - and maintaining - travel reimbursement guidelines (54%). Other ways businesses can keep employee spending in line:

• Random audits of expense reports
• New procurement systems for all company purchases
• Cutting back on company charge cards
• Review processes for expenses
• Prosecution of employees who steal from the business

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: business policies, business research, company spending, Coupa Software, employee spending

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