Workers miss out on £400 a year in expense claims

A survey reckons workers only claim back two-thirds of the expenses they're owed. Not a terrible thing for businesses, we grant you.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 04 Feb 2016
Mere days after we were overcome with outrage that workers at our city’s fine financial institutions would have the audacity to occasionally fiddle their expense claims comes the flip side of the argument. A survey has found that workers across the UK (this time, it’s not limited to the City) miss out on an average of 400 quid a year because of lost receipts. Apparently, they spend an average of £94.74 on things like taxis and dinner, but only claim £60.63 back, meaning they miss out on £409.32 a year. It’s almost enough to forgive those financiers their indiscrepancies…

The survey of 3,000 people is by Best Western Hotels (which has something called a Business Account Card to flog, so its findings may be a touch on the biased side). It found that workers spend 23 days a year trying to fill out fiddly expenses claim forms, while just over half added that the reason they don’t claim back everything they’re owed is because they often forget to ask for a receipt – or they just mislay it.

Among the items people say they miss out on claiming for the most are small things like coffee and newspapers – the cost of which can add up if you travel enough. And there were also larger costs like hotel bills and room service, while petrol, train tickets and cab fares also made the list (duck islands and moat cleaning failed to get a mention).

We’d imagine cash-strapped business owners would guiltily admit to not always reminding their workers to fill in their forms. The good news, of course, is that having fallen to 3.6% in January, inflation is on its way back down – so paying out expenses claims on everything from coffee to petrol should become a less uncomfortable experience over the next few months.

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