Workers missing out on £140 million in unclaimed expenses

New research has revealed that workers in the UK choose to miss out on £140 million a year in unclaimed work expenses, rather than go through the complex expense claim process.

The survey was conducted by smart business spending solution Soldo, who asked employees from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about their habits when reclaiming for expenses occurred through work.

The results found that almost four in 10 (38 per cent) haven’t claimed back for a work item they purchased using their own money in the last 12 months.

Millennials are the ground most likely to be left out of pocket, with two thirds (66 per cent) of 18-34-year-olds purchasing items with their own money during the last year and not claiming it back, compared to almost a third (30 per cent) of 35-53 year olds and 23 per cent of people over the age of 55.

On a national scale, the value of unclaimed expenses for employees at SMEs across the UK totals an estimated £137 million per year.

Employees who work in marketing, PR, advertising, and market research firms are most likely to be left out of pocket and also have the highest average value of unclaimed expenses (£65.75) per year, more than double the overall average (£31.99)

The current expense reporting process in their company is too complex, or time-consuming is the most common reason for employees choosing not to reclaim, with 38 per cent of respondents citing this.

On average employees spend 20 minutes per week submitting expense claims, which work out across the UK SME sector as more than 1.4 million hours per week, or 189,146 working days.

The second most popular reason was lost receipts. When asked what happens if someone at their company loses a receipt, 30 per cent said that staff then can’t claim back the expense and that they don’t have a system in place to help prevent this happening.

Employees then have to wait a long time to get their money back, a third (34 per cent) said they have to wait at least a week to be reimbursed, while a small number (5 per cent) even said it usually takes over a month.

Darren Upson, VP of Small Business Europe, Soldo said, “Leaving staff out of pocket for an unreasonable amount of time damages morale, financial wellbeing and, critically, trust in the employer. It contributes unnecessarily to the already significant money concerns that many people – and especially young workers – have in today’s economy. “