Expense report approvals vary wildly

Companies are closely auditing employee expense report claims, flagging some of the most questionable expenses in the fourth quarter of last year such as strip clubs, dog kennels, jewelry, cigarettes and gambling losses, according to a new report.

The report, from AppZen, a provider of expense management technology, found that expense approval averages can differ widely. While 46 percent of companies reimburse employees for gifts and 39 percent do so for golf, only 16 percent of businesses reimburse employees for room service and 15 percent for the mini bar. Meanwhile, 41 percent of companies reimburse employees for cell phone expenses, 24 percent for car washes, and 19 percent for clothing.

Last quarter, the average business processed 4,374 expense reports, each containing 11 expenses on average. While only 10 percent of enterprises’ total expenses were flagged as high risk last quarter, they represented one-third of the total dollar value across all expenses, making them critical to find and review.

The report particularly spotlighted the importance of using artificial intelligence for examining expense reports, noting that companies that use AI to make spend audit approval decisions and automate process achieve 100 percent visibility, as opposed to only 2 to 10 percent for companies that don’t employ AI.

Employee expense report approvals

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