Should HR be worried about expense fraud?

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Companies can incur significant costs when staff abuse corporate expenses but it seems Kiwi employers have the least to worry about after a new study showed New Zealand workers are the most honest when it comes to filling out claim forms.

Software firm webexpenses recently compiled responses from more than 4,000 office workers across the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand in order to identify global and regional trends in relation to expense fraud.

Initially, just 12 per cent of all respondents admitted to falsifying or exaggerating their expenses – however, when the survey delved a little deeper, it revealed a vastly different picture.

For example, almost half (47 per cent) of all respondents said they had exaggerated a mileage claim, 18 per cent said lied about a taxi trip, 18 per cent said they had dishonestly claimed personal items, and 17 per cent said they had claimed back food and drinks for family or partners.

Worryingly, the vast majority of workers have never had their expense claims questioned – ranging from a high of 90 per cent for New Zealand employees to the average of 86 per cent globally and the lowest level of 84 per cent for US employees.

While New Zealand employees are least likely to be challenged, it also seems they’re most honest – an incredibly 95 per cent said they would never exaggerate or make up a claim compared to Australia, where over 4 in 10 said they would.

Further, just 37 per cent said they had exaggerated a mileage claim, 15 per cent said they had dishonestly claimed personal items and 10 per cent said they claimed back the cost of a purchase for a partner or family member.

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