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One in three workers admit to stealing from company

Many employees are essentially stealing from the company, but it’s not always just office supplies for their house, it can be the company’s own lack of clarity in policies causing cash leaks.

cash money dollar

cash money dollar

Employee spending err, stealing gone wild

According to the 2013 Employee Spending Survey by Coupa Software, one in three workers admit to stealing from the company in devious ways. This “maverick spending” is estimated to cost companies hundreds of thousands annually.

Over half of all employees surveyed nationally report that they have “gone rogue,” by making purchases without advance approval, and two in three admit to making “risky purchases,” like overly expensive dinners (38 percent), office supplies for home use (23 percent), upgrading to a higher level of airline service (22 percent), smartphone (18 percent), exercise equipment (9 percent) and even personal clothing (7 percent).

One in three confess to “devious” spending including:

  • Inflated the cost of a taxi ride on a blank taxi receipt – 16 percent
  • Expensed personal items, pretending they are for business – 14 percent
  • Accepted a refund for an already expensed item without reporting it – 13 percent
  • Increased the amount of tip you claimed to have given a waiter/server – 11 percent
  • Expensed the same item more than once – 10 percent
  • Created a fake expense that never happened – 7 percent

Why is this happening?

The Coupa study notes that this out of control spending is driven in part by the frustrations office workers are encountering when they need to make a work-related purchase, with 84 percent stating they experience such difficulties, including feeling the pressure to negotiate a good deal (46 percent), having too many levels of approval (46 percent), a fear of being denied reimbursement (43 percent), not being sure how to purchase without buying, then expensing (27 percent), and many are simply unclear on the process (25 percent).

What can companies do?

Nearly all (98%) of the survey respondents say that companies should take action now, and most point the finger at expense reports. Employees themselves suggest several ways to solve this problem:

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  • Better oversight of expense reporting – 62 percent
  • Maintain guidelines for travel reimbursement – 54 percent
  • Audit expense reports randomly – 50 percent
  • Implement a fully functional procurement system for all purchases – 38 percent
  • Curb use of company charge cards – 36 percent
  • Prosecute employees who steal from the company – 33 percent
  • Question expenditures often – 32 percent
  • More levels of approval for employee expenses – 21 percent
  • Initiate formal review processes – 21 percent

“The results of the survey indicate a spending culture in America’s corporations that has, in many ways, gotten out of control,” said Rob Bernshteyn, CEO, Coupa Software. “As the leader in cloud spend optimization, Coupa is educating the enterprise about the value of a spend management platform that can both control the maverick spending employees see every day, as well as ensure compliance to cross-company pre-negotiated discounts, thus saving an average 9% across the board for any company.”

Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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