Sick of expense forms? You're not alone

It's an arduous process that needs to be digitized

Sick of expense forms? You're not alone

Despite the brief time it takes, employees are not fond of submitting an expense form to the higher ups, according to a new report.

The Inconvenient Expenses study by Just Eat for Business showed that 33% of employees "find it annoying" to submit expense forms or expenditure admin, while 28% said they wish they were not doing the said task. Together, this is already more than a half of the respondents for the survey that are not a fan of the responsibility.

The dislike for the submitting expense form is present even if it is not frequently carried out, nor take a lot of time in an employees' schedule.

According to the report, 55% of the respondents said they submit their expenses for breakfasts, snacks, lunches, or work dinners about one to two times a month. And for 60% of the employees, it only takes less than 15 minutes.

So where does this dislike for the activity come from? The answer: the time it takes for reimbursement.

While submitting the form seems easy enough for employees, this does not mean that reimbursement instantly comes as quickly as they submitted it.

According to the Inconvenient Expenses report, it takes "over a week" for 48% of employees to get their expenses back, while 38% of them wait for over a month just to get reimbursed.

"Concerning expenditure reporting, employees and finance teams alike must deal with a lot of tedious and time-consuming manual labour," commented Formspal co-founder and COO Mike Chappell. "It's impossible to send a request to finance unless it has been reviewed and approved by management, and the finance team must first process the claims and balance the transactions before issuing refunds."

"In addition, it doesn't take into account any exchanges before the final step between the parties. This means there'll be a delay in reimbursing employees, exacerbating the already existing financial stress for both parties. As a result, employees' time engaged in the expense process may be better spent on the company's strategic, high-value projects," he added.

Read more: Here's why spending too much to keep staff happy may not pay off

What can bosses do?

One issue with business purchasing policies is they are either lacking or overly complex, according to Caleb Ruitta, co-founder of Offer Sesame.

"Many business purchasing policies are overly complex, confusing, or even contradictory in an attempt to cover every possible circumstance. On the other hand, some businesses lack explicit policies and instead rely on employees to utilise their best decision, which may not coincide with the financial department's," said Ruitta in a statement.

"For example, employees may unknowingly spend outside of policy and be unable to get reimbursed in both circumstances, putting them at an economic disadvantage simply for trying to execute their jobs. Finance should support systems that ensure personnel comply with the policy in the first place, rather than reprimanding them after they've done something wrong," the executive suggested.

It is also advisable to use workplace solutions including Just Eat for Business, which seeks to reduce the stress on processing costly food expenses.

"Completing and processing admin for expenditures such as lunch or work dinners can be time consuming for all involved - whether you’re an employer or employee. However, it's really important that everyone receives what they're owed and continues to benefit from paid-for meals and travel costs," said Just East for Business sales and partnership director Lucy Cantan.

"That's why we encourage businesses to take advantage of schemes like Just Eat Pay, which reduces the hassle of completing and processing expense forms, and means employees and employers alike can focus their efforts elsewhere," Cantan added.

Recent articles & video

Should companies be offering hot weather leaves?

Individual facing community service for managing unlicensed employment agency in Hong Kong

China leads in generative AI adoption worldwide

Engineer fired for objecting to DEI training: reports

Most Read Articles

Singapore launches cybersecurity skills pathway amid global shortage

Malaysian university ordered to pay over RM530,000 for 'unfairly' retrenching two academics

Introducing Asia's most innovative HR teams