Call for clarity over travel expenses of council administrators

Content from our Australia office from our Australia office

Council bosses have come under pressure to explain why travel and accommodation expenses have more than doubled in the past year.

The three administrators in charge of the City of Greater Geelong’s council have declined to provide a breakdown of the $23,311 expenses bill they have incurred over the past year.

The costs are more than double the amount claimed by the 13-councillor committee which was previously in charge of the authority.

Details of the latest expense costs were published on the council’s website but do not include any detailed information to explain what the costs relate to.

With two of the administrators believed to live in Melbourne, the council has been asked to clarify how much of the money claimed is related to their travel expenses.

The council’s expense policy does allow councillors to be reimbursed for travel to and from council meetings and briefings.

Failing Systems

It’s the kind of dispute which helps to highlight some of the problems that organisations face when handling travel expenses, particularly mileage costs.

Traditionally, it’s one of the toughest areas of company costs to effectively manage, relying on employees providing an estimate of distances travelled.

With so little verifiable information, it has been virtually impossible for finance teams to properly check if journeys and distances are legitimate.

The lack of proper control means the practice of ‘rounding up’ and exaggerating journey distances can become commonplace.

Each year around $345 million is lost to Australian organisations through workplace fraud, with false invoicing the second largest cause.

Digital Solution

It’s a problem that is now being tackled in the business world by the move to digital expense management systems which use a smartphone app to track road journeys.

With a system such as webexpenses, the exact time, route and distance of a business journey is digitally tracked and recorded.

All of the relevant data is automatically stored and attached to the expense claim it relates to, removing any kind of ambiguity or ‘wiggle’ room.

It’s a particularly powerful tool when it comes to identifying which parts of a journey are for personal or business purposes.

With the use of digital tools, tracking technology and a fair policy, businesses have shown how the headache of mileage expenses no longer needs to be endured.

Webexpenses provides a smarter way to manage employee expenses. Find out for yourself by requesting a free demo here