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Expenses Fiddling: Nature or Culture

An estimated £3.5 billion is spent on fraudulent expense claims in the UK each year.

To better understand, we conducted a survey involving over 2,000 business employees throughout the UK

These losses reflect the way that ‘fiddling’ expenses has become ingrained in working culture with normally law-abiding employees routinely exaggerating and manufacturing claims.

The 2009 scandal involving British MPs revealed the scale of this problem in the world of politics but it has been hard to gauge the level of expense fraud on a national scale. It has remained something of a hidden problem with companies budgeting for these losses and dealing with expenses fraud internally. It’s for this reason that Webexpenses commissioned their independent survey to look into the issue which creates a snapshot of British business expenses fraud.

In this white paper, we will reveal three reasons fraudulent expense claims can slip through the cracks, including:

  • How many people ‘fiddle’ their expenses
  • What methods they’re using
  • Motivations for bluffing on reports

Over 15% of UK respondents admitted to having exaggerated an expense claim.

For workers in the West Midlands, this figure rose to over 20%, whilst in Northern Ireland, this figure was just 5%. Men were found to be 6% more likely to fiddle their expenses with over 18% admitting to having exaggerated an expense claim compared to just under 13% for women.

The average expense over the claim was found to be £29.40, rising from £18.21 in Wales to £43.24 in the South West. With the average number of expense claims found to be 15.35 claims each year. Based on this average and the average claim of £29.40 the research found the average worker that has fiddled their expenses is over-claiming by an average of £451.29 per year.


Almost a third (29.35 percent) of workers who have fiddled their expenses admitted they did not feel guilty and felt they deserved the extra money. 13% felt very guilty and 57% felt a little bit guilty but admitted they had still fiddled their expenses ...

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