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How To Protect Your Business From Expense Fraud

Expense fraud is one of the biggest pain points that industries face. Around 48% of companies in India lack a system to detect travel and expense management frauds as they do it manually, according to a report generated by an expense management company in India. The survey was conducted in India between July and September 2018 and found that nearly 55% of the companies stated their inability to retrieve past expense data as a key bottleneck in auditing and managing T&E expenses. Around 82% of companies covered in the survey are either partially or entirely lacking in making the whole T&E process automated despite it being the second-largest operational expense after payroll. According to the ACFE Global Fraud Study, 5% of a typical organization's annual revenue is lost due to fraud. T&E is just one kind of expense fraud that a business can bear. There are many kinds of expense frauds that trouble businesses- big or small. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has distinguished expense fraud into 4 categories:

Mischaracterized Expenses

Claiming personal expenses under the garb of company expenses is the easiest yet the toughest expense fraud to catch. It is almost impossible to identify an expense based solely on the submitted receipt and so the chances of the claim getting denied is almost nil.

Fictitious Expenses

Employees get crafty with design skills and software to counterfeit expense receipts and submit them for reimbursement.

Overstated Expenses

Employees balloon up the expenses incurred on the business trip and get reimbursed for more than what they paid.

Multiple Reimbursements

Employees end up submitting the same receipt, again and again, to reclaim the amount, thus getting duplicate payments.

All these frauds are punishable offences globally. There is no one-stop solution to 100% safeguard your company from being a victim to expense fraud. There are few steps you can take to ensure that expense fraud happens in the least and if it does, it is caught.

Set stringent policies in place

Start by setting stringent policies in place for all kinds of expense reimbursements. An expense receipt should be submitted within 30-60 days, all purchases over a certain amount need to be furnished with an authentic purchase receipt, all spends should be properly categorized under entertainment, travel, meals, offences, and so on.

Random audits

Maintain the fear of prosecution by randomly auditing the expenses of any employee and ensuring that they fall under the company guidelines. IF not, do not shy away from punishing the act as that will set an example for fellow employees and they'll think twice before indulging in expense fraud themselves.

Provide your employees with the correct tools

Eliminate paper receipts to claim expenses as they are unreliable, and easy to commit fraud. Enable your employees with the right set of tools and systems so they can follow policies easily.

These methods are used widely but they go only so far in decreasing the chances of expense fraud. One of the best ways to manage expense fraud is by investing in corporate cards. Corporate cards are a robust tool to handle all kinds of business expenses. EnKash has a host of corporate cards, which can be controlled & managed by one of its kind platforms, for each kind of business expense you can imagine. When expenses are routed through these cards & platform combination, they are easy to track, reconcile and report. These cards can be preloaded or credit cards, depending on the expense that needs to be done. The credit cards come with a flexible billing cycle so you can choose when to pay the bill, depending on your cash flow. There is no waitlist as you can get quickly onboarded with e-KYC upon furnishing authentic identity proofs. There are also preloaded cards available in the form of virtual cards. These can be used digitally or offline as per convenience. Virtual cards can be given to employees, teams, branches, or departments, as and when needed as they can be generated from a digital platform. These cards can be customised via platform with a pre-set expense limit, predefined merchants where the card can be used, the number of times the card can be swiped, and many more alterations. You can set custom end-usage and usage limits to eliminate the possibility of expense fraud entirely. You can activate or deactivate the cards for ATM/POS/Online usage and restrict by merchant and usage category too. The beauty of using these corporate cards & platform is that you can view the expenses in real-time. This makes tracking expenses super easy and efficient. You can monitor any expense as it happens and if it looks suspicious, you can block the card right away and take appropriate action. This kind of spend management suite also ensures adherence to budgets and company spend policies. These cards come with in-built approvals so you save precious time in purchasing as time is money. Corporate expense cards and virtual cards are some of the safest bets to eliminate causes of expense fraud. Apart from this, maintaining employee faith is also instrumental in ensuring that they do not engage in such fraudulent activities. Invest in a strong spend management tool like EnKash to uplift your employees' morale and take your business to newer heights.

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