I was talking to some analysts recently when it struck me how ingrained the ‘let’s see what we can get away with claiming on expenses’ culture still is in businesses today. Having senior management able to see exactly what’s being spent, by whom, when and what on actually strikes fear into the hearts of our employees.

Which makes me wonder what they’re all doing that’s so bad. Are people actually out to scam their own companies for what they can get, or is this an attitude that’s so indoctrinated they don’t even realise they are thinking it.? Maybe it’s seen as a right, an unofficial perk?

Of course we use our own expense management platform to manage our internal expenses so we have complete transparency of all spend within our business. It means we’re happy to give staff corporate cards as all transactions feed automatically into the platform so nothing gets missed.

Great for management visibility but it’s also great for our staff too – they don’t have to spend their own cash and wait to be reimbursed, it’s easy to stick to the business rules, cost centre coding is quick and simple and they can take a photo of a receipt on their smartphone and upload it straight away.

So why the fear? Well I don’t honestly think everyone is out to defraud their employers but many of our customers have seen cases of misuse fall significantly when employees are aware that visibility of expenses has increased.

In the wider world there are an increasing number of cases of gross misconduct, both MP’s expenses and high profile corporates, and we find it shocking and outrageous. But is that actually shock, or are people feeling a little bit guilty about doing the same thing on a much smaller scale? Why else would everyone be so outraged at the guilt of others, but unwilling to subject themselves to complete transparency by their own employers?