With our clients being travel management professionals and their business travelers, we understand how cognizant you are of staying on top of your travel budget. It can be a difficult and time consuming task. It can also be upsetting when business travelers take advantage of, or completely disregard, the travel policies in place. That’s how we felt reading this recent study analyzing reimbursement fraud in more than 114 countries.
The study was conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), analyzing data from more than 2,410 cases between January 2014 and October 2015. They found that top executives were the biggest culprits of expense reimbursement fraud, accounting for about 24 percent of the cases. “The correlation between authority and loss most likely occurs because high-level fraudsters tend to have greater access to their organizations’ assets than lower-level employees, as well as a better ability to evade or override anti-fraud controls,” according to the report.
Expense reimbursement fraud was most prevalent in the technology field, found in 27% of cases examined. Following the tech industry, incidents of fraud were also high in religious charities and social services sector (25 percent of cases), manufacturing (22.9 percent), construction (20.9 percent), and health care (20.1 percent).
Small businesses with less than 100 employees had higher incidents of fraud, at 16.7 percent. Fraud culprits were also typically male. Globally, the rate of men involved in fraud cases was 69 percent, although it was 56 percent in the United States. Expense inaccuracies remained undetected an average of two years before they were found.
Studies like this exemplify the importance of having a clear travel policy with approval processes determined. Software like our PolicyLogic helps companies so travel policies have to be applied at or before booking. For example, first-class seating can be restricted. If a first-class seat is booked, the travel manager is notified and the ticket has to be approved before being issued. Such approval helps eliminate expense fraud opportunities. Your company works hard to keep to a specific travel budget; it’s beneficial to make sure there are checkpoints in place too.
Christopherson is a corporate travel management company, specializing in proprietary travel technology and expert customer service. Learn more about our award-winning team by contacting us.