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How to make sure expenses do not become a scandal

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The Conservative Party have been hit with an almighty £70,000 fine, issued by the Electrical Commission for failing to abide by their expenses policy.

Twenty conservative MPs are under investigation over allegations they broke expenses rules in the 2014 and 2015 general elections. The investigation has uncovered missing payments up to £118,124 that had either gone unreported or falsely claimed to the commission, as well as 81 missing invoices and receipts that amounted to over £50,000.

A leaked email was written by Lincoln MP Karl McCarthy who is under investigation read:

"We didn't create this mess, the clever d*cks at CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters) did.”

Although the vocabulary MP Karl McCarthy uses to express his feelings towards CCHQ appears discourteous it brings to light the possible issue present in many organisations. How many employees are unaware of their company expenses policy? And how many have broken the rules as a result?

Expenses fraud is still all too common and is something that can be easily avoided by moving over to a digital expense management system and having the right controls in place.

Here are our top tips to help avoid an expenses scandal in your business:

An effective expense policy

Having an up-to-date expenses policy that is clear and accessible to all employees is critical. This not only ensures that everyone knows the rules of the policy and where the limits are but also helps finance teams monitor and prevent any potential anomalies from occurring.

Real-time compliance

With a digital expenses management system, policy alerts and reminders can be delivered to claimants via on-screen notifications. Systems can also carry out real-time compliance checks on each new claim to ensure costs fall within company policy. This system helps prevents both deliberate and accidental expenses fraud.

Digital records

A digital system provides reassurance by making sure that every stage of the process is digitally documented. Fundamentally, a digital system can transform the ways in which a company implement and manage employee expenses. A system like Webexpenses ensures complete HMRC compliance preventing minor mistakes escalating and having potentially detrimental consequences for your business.

Expense related problems are frequently reported on within the press, with MPs being the subject of many expenses fraud issues. This reoccurring problem raises the question of how endemic this issue is within any type of organisation? We believe this type of scandal can be easily avoided with a streamlined expenses management solution like Webexpenses, and a clear expenses policy.

For more information and advice on how to stay compliant, download our white paper A Practical Guide to HMRC Expenses Compliance.