New research has found that UK employees are effectively ‘lending’ their companies £321 million a month through expenses, and many are not happy about it.

A survey of more than 1,000 employees across the UK by virtual payment technology provider Conferma revealed that 36 per cent of respondents use their own money to pay for work-related expenses at least once a month, with the average individual claim being £72.20.

This causes issues for some workers, with 33 per cent saying they experience cash flow problems because of their company’s expenses process.

This is especially true of younger employees, with half of those aged 18-34 saying they’ve had less money to spend on personal items because of delayed reimbursement. To make matters worse, workers from this age group often have higher expense claims, averaging £76.90. The combination of these factors causes stress for 43 per cent of these employees.

Furthermore, 37 per cent of respondents said they often had to wait up to two weeks to be reimbursed for expenses after submitting a claim.

 As a result, 41 per cent of those surveyed said they would stop spending their own money on business expenses if they had to wait a significant amount of time to be paid back. Almost a quarter (19 per cent) said they would stop undertaking business travel, while 43 per cent were prepared to halt a meeting with current or prospective clients and undertaking marketing activities altogether.

Simon Barker, co-founder and CEO of Conferma, commented: “The scale of this issue identified in these findings has taken us by surprise. We knew it was a problem, and one we are working hard to address, but the impact of this on both employees but also employers really is cause for concern.

“It simply should not be the case in today’s world that individuals, particularly the low-paid, are having to hold back personal spending due to the delay in expense repayment. Likewise, it is staggering that a single business opportunity should be missed due to an employee’s decision to hold off marketing because of these inefficiencies.

“This is a problem that is understandable in 1988, but not in 2018. Businesses must do more to address this issue for their own benefit as well as the wellbeing of their own staff.”

Subscribe to the BBT Newsletter

Join the Buying Business Travel newsletter for the latest business travel news.

Thank you for signing up!