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British workers lose £76m a year from unclaimed expenses, reveals study
Fri, 22nd Dec 2023

A lack of expense filing is costing British workers a staggering £76 million a year, according to new research by digital adoption specialists WalkMe. The survey of 2,400 global workers uncovered that 49% do not claim back their expenses, with UK workers each leaving approximately £20.78 unclaimed.

The study also found that 28% of people working worldwide reported that unreimbursed expenses were impacting their finances. Furthermore, almost half (38%) of UK respondents highlighted that managing expenses contributed to job-related stress. The average monthly expense amount across those surveyed was £283, indicating a significant financial burden when left unclaimed.

A myriad of reasons for not filing expense reports emerged from the survey. Most notably, time-consuming paperwork was raised as an issue by 79% of individuals. A third of the participants also blamed the complexities of their company's expense reimbursement process.

This lack of, or difficult process in, expense filing happens at a time when a staggering 63% of workers are unable to afford a sudden expense costing about £400. The results thus signal a need for employers to make the process easier and more efficient for their staff, minimizing paperwork and time spent on expense reporting into consideration.

WalkMe's Chief People Officer, Chelsea Pyrzenski, warns of the wider implications of such issues, stating, "When expense reporting is so cumbersome or the process doesn't feel worth the effort, employees will feel dissatisfaction with their jobs and experience more work stress, and that's a problem for business."

She explains that cumbersome expense reporting can lead to "compliance and end-of-year fiscal reporting" issues making companies vulnerable. "It's in everyone's interest to ensure the process is very easy, efficient, and seamless," she concludes.

From the survey, additional notable statistics were identified. Of the breakdown, 32% of workers still submit paper receipts to their finance departments and 55.7% of German respondents reported the most stress from work expenses.

An average of £24 is left unclaimed by American workers, while Singaporean workers leave the least on the table with only £16. The age group most liable to leaving money on the table were the 35-44 year-olds with 58% admitting to as much.

The research suggests that companies need to review their current systems and consider more digital or innovative methods for employees to accurately and timely report their expenses. Doing so could reduce work stress while simultaneously ensuring that companies are financially transparent and compliant.

Conducted in November 2023 in the US, UK, Germany, Singapore, and Australia, the multinational survey polled more than 2,400 workers across a wide array of industries and working ages. The research, conducted by Propeller Insights and sponsored by WalkMe, surveyed those who incur reimbursable work-related expenses as part of their job and all worked full-time with three-quarters in a self-identified managerial or supervisory role.

WalkMe's cloud-based digital adoption platform is focused on helping organisations to measure, drive and act to ultimately accelerate their digital transformations and better realise the value of their software investments.