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UK workers miss out on £962m in unclaimed expenses

Pile of UK pounds stirling

Lost receipts and unclaimed costs mean UK employees are likely missing out on £962 million in expense reimbursement, according to new research.

A study by Barclaycard for the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first corporate credit card shows the average value of unclaimed expenses totalled £123 per person among those that have failed to submit their expenses.

Despite the growing popularity of corporate cards, 48 per cent of employees still use their own money to cover business costs.

The news comes after Conferma estimated UK employees are essentially ‘lending’ their companies £321 million through expenses.

Almost six in ten of those polled by Barclaycard have failed to file their expenses, with 37 per cent saying the value is ‘too low to be worth the hassle’ and 33 per cent saying they simply lost the receipt needed for the claim.

Barclaycard’s research found a raft of interesting changes in expense behaviour in the last 50 years.

Rather worryingly, less than one in five (16 per cent) of respondents have access to a corporate card. It’s understandable, then, that 49 per cent of employees are frustrate by having to pay for business expenses out of their own pocket and waiting for reimbursement.

As a result, 37 per cent of Barclaycard respondents experienced cash flow problems and one in ten had missed a payment on a personal credit card while waiting for their company to pay them back.

However, respondents said they were happy to claim for even the smallest expense, with £7.36 being the average lowest claim. Nearly half said they believe any spending during the working day, including coffee, can be considered a business expense and should be claimed. One in six also said they even claim for items costing under a pound.

Despite this, UK employees gave a long list of chores they’d rather do over filling out a manual expense claim, including taking care of the weekly shop, taking the bins out and cleaning the house, among others.

Annie Shaw, personal finance expert, said: “It’s now 50 years since a credit card in the name of a business, rather than a consumer, came on to the market – so it’s eye-opening that, after all this time, only one in five UK workers who incur expenses have access to one. With some resorting to paying out of their own pocket to cover company costs, it’s clear action needs to be taken to prevent employees footing the bill. However, the responsibility also lies with the individual and there are several simple steps everyone can take to make sure they claim back any business costs they’ve paid for.

“It may sound simple, but my main advice for those who submit expenses is to make sure it’s done on time. It’s also important to hang on to receipts – making use of email receipts where possible for ease – and trying to make regular time in the working week to go through the process. There are also several ways businesses can make it easier for workers to complete their expenses, including providing corporate credit cards and encouraging them to submit claims on time.”

barclaycard.co.uk

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