Employees across Europe concerned about delayed expense reimbursements   

Thursday 10, November – A new SAP Concur study has found that over half (58%) of employees across Europe are concerned about the impact of delayed expense reimbursements on their personal finances. The “Expense Management in Times of Inflation: How to Improve Employee Experience” report takes a closer look at the topic of inflation and outlines the challenges businesses face when it comes to providing a good employee experience, the consequences of getting it wrong, and the digital tools European companies are implementing to help address these risks moving forward. 

As workers feel the financial pinch, sub-optimal expense processes that have been previously accepted could become a key point of contention between employers and employees. According to the survey, 58% of employees are also concerned that they are losing out financially due to unclaimed expenses due to missing receipts or forgetting to submit on time. In fact, nearly half of employees (46%) say that the process of reclaiming expenses is so difficult that they don’t expense smaller amounts. 

Those in charge of expense management also believe that the cost-of-living crisis is creating friction in the process. 

  • 37% of HR and finance decision-makers expect to see employees claiming fraudulent expenses to counter the impact of the increased cost of living  
  • 59% anticipate spending more time reviewing expenses to ensure they are compliant with their policies 
  • 60% anticipate increasingly stringent audits on their expenses to ensure they are compliant with policies adjusted to reflect inflation 
  • 36% say that the current economic situation could mean employee expenses being paid late, resulting in staff not being able to make ends meet 

Furthermore, the study found that there is a clear need for a change to be made in the processes and policies that surround expense management, to better support employees amid the turbulent economic situation. According to the survey: 

  • 51% of finance and HR decision makers believe they are relying on too many manual processes that aren’t fit for the new hybrid working environment  
  • This is an issue which is exacerbated in medium (55%) sized organisations, yet half (50%) of large organisations (1000+ employees) also cite it as an issue. The issue is only present in less than half of small businesses (45%). 
  • Employees want to feedback on the expense management process, but many don’t get the opportunity to do so. 47% of finance and HR decision makers say that to simplify expense management, they should be asking employees for suggestions about ways to improve the process. 
  • While 79% of employees say their business conducts feedback initiatives to measure satisfaction with processes such as expenses reclaim, only 27% report this happening frequently. 

Pierre-Emmanuel Tetaz, EMEA SVP & General Manager, SAP Concur, explains: 

It’s clear that the evolving economic situation is putting expense management issues in the spotlight. Businesses are looking to reduce inefficiencies to ensure they offer the best services to employees, while employees worry about the speed at which existing processes can support their new needs. 

The consequences for finance and HR teams of not getting this right should not be underestimated. Our survey found that over a third of these teams – 36% – believe their organisation is lacking realtime visibility into what’s being spent and that they will experience an unpleasant surprise, such as being over budget once all expenses have been claimed. 

To address these challenges, finance and HR teams need to implement new technologies such as AI and automation tools to help administer expense management. At the same time, ensuring transparency and open communication is crucial to employees understand and navigate the process – helping to improve their experience with their employer amid these difficult times.” 

The “Expense Management in Times of Inflation: How to Improve Employee Experience” report is based on the views of 2,500 employees who regularly travel for work as well as 750 finance decision makers and 750 HR decision makers in businesses.  The survey was conducted in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Benelux, Nordics, Spain, and the UK, by Coleman Parkes in July and August 2022.   

Note to editors: for more information about the findings of the “Expense Management in Times of Inflation: How to Improve Employee Experience” report, please contact [email protected].