UK businesses paid out GBP1.2 billion more in expenses last year compared to 2011, a new study has revealed.
Figures from travel and expense management company Concur found employees are claiming for smaller amounts more often, making an average 36 claims and around GBP2, 054 each.
UK retailers have scaled back the most in expense claims, reducing numbers by 30%.
The company said the pressure is still on managers to ensure businesses stick to expense policies, as around 99% of expense claims are approved regardless of whether they meet pre-determined criteria. A YouGov survey found one in 10 young employees exaggerated claims last year, up 3% on 2011.
“In a tough economic environment we see a culture shift in spending on expenses. For example, the average bill for client entertainment dropped by 20%, in real terms over the last two years, implying that employees are aware that they may be frowned upon if they act extravagantly,” said David Vine, managing director of UK SMB at Concur.
“However, a recent study by Concurrevealed that the good old fashioned breakfast, lunch or dinner, has the biggest impact on landing a sale, so organisations must balance spend against potential sales to grow their business. While we’re not sounding the death knell for the decadent business lunch, there’s clearly been a trend towards smaller but more frequent expense claim submissions in the last couple of years,” he added.