Experts have urged employers to make improving expense reimbursement times a priority, given the rising cost of petrol, and high energy bills.

Over a fifth (22%) of workers report that their most common expense is petrol or diesel costs. Amid the rising cost of petrol, as well as household bills, reimbursement for such expenses is more crucial than ever.

This is according to a study by Just Eat for Business, which also found that slow reimbursement is proving to be frustrating for many, with nearly a fifth (19%) of workers wishing their organisations speed up the time it takes to process their expenses.

Experts have blamed confusing expense policies for delayed employee reimbursement, claiming that policies can often lead employees ineligible for refund due to their lack of clarity.

 

How can employers change this?

Long wait times for reimbursement are unacceptable, and the onus is on organisations to rectify this.

“Software that automates company operations can make a huge difference in employee reimbursement. Finance teams can use expense management software to replace paper reports with smart reporting solutions that deliver accurate and real-time data on all business spending” suggests co-founder of PeopleFindFast, Ashley Amor.

“While there is no specific law regarding expense report reimbursement deadlines, there is widespread agreement among professionals that waiting more than 30 days after submission is not acceptable. Companies should define their reimbursement procedures very explicitly,” says Ms Amor.

“Complicated and long expenditure reimbursements not only cause inefficiencies throughout the organisation but also negatively impact employee satisfaction. Companies should create a comprehensive business expense policy that clearly identifies which company expenses are eligible for reimbursement and which are not. This will speed up the reimbursement process,” suggests Ms Amor.

 

Confusing expense policies

Caleb Riutta, Co-Founder at Offer Sesame, weighs in on the study, commenting on the often confusing expense policies which can sometimes leave employees ineligible for their expenses after submission:

“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.

“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.”

 

How can employers look to quickly reimburse regular expenses?

How can employers look to quickly reimburse regular expenses, such as food or drinks, which account for 31 percent – while reducing admin time on both sides?

Sales and Partnership Director at Just Eat for Business, Lucy Cantan, weighs in on the polls: “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.

“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

 

 

 

Editor at HRreview

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.