Exposed: A Closer Look at the Craziest Expenses of 2015

Exposed: A Closer Look at the Craziest Expenses of 2015

Certify recently released the results of its annual craziest expenses survey with responses from more than 450 business travelers (non-Certify customers). It’s always interesting to see just what some people are willing to try to get away with on their expense reports, as well as the excuses, er, reasons they give. Bolder and more bizarre than ever before, results from this year’s survey definitely did not disappoint.

In addition to exposing some of the more questionable expenses of the past year, a closer analysis of the survey data also identified some interesting expense management trends and patterns related to business traveler habits.

Expense management systems in use
Not earth-shattering in and of itself, but similar to findings by the Aberdeen Group, Certify Annual Expense Management Trends report and countless webinar polling questions, the majority of companies today are still using Excel spreadsheets in some form of a manual expense reporting process.

Craziest Expenses Survey - Type of Expense Management System in Place
Also tracking to this trend is that as company size increases, so too does the likelihood of using an ERP or cloud-based system for expense management. For companies with 1000 employees or more, 40 percent are using an automated system and 20 percent manage expense reporting with ERP software.

Policy matters
Despite the multitude of suspect expense claims we found in this year’s survey, the majority of all respondents report having a T&E policy in place at their company. But what’s really enlightening about the policy question in our survey is that employees from companies using an automated solution or ERP system are far more likely to report having a written travel policy; 93 percent and 86 percent, respectively. By contrast, just 70 percent of respondents using a manual system report having a policy in place. This is no doubt due in part to the hard policy controls and visibility into compliance afforded by an automated system.

The compliance effect
Survey results also revealed which business travelers were more likely to knowingly expense out-of-policy personal items or lie on expense reports. On average, 84 percent of all respondents said they have not lied on an expense report. However, when analyzing data by company size, 91 percent of employees from organizations with 1000 or more said they haven’t lied on a report. Similarly, 87% of all respondents report they have not knowingly expensed personal items, but for those from companies of 1000 or more the rate goes up to 92 percent.

Time and time again, the correlation between company size, system used and compliance rate is no coincidence. As companies increase in size, so do certain risks and exposures. And at a certain scale, adopting an automated cloud-based solution or ERP system for expense reporting just makes sense.

For additional data analysis download the full report now, and be sure to check out the crazy expenses infographic with this year’s most outlandish expenses.