Your drive to Cleveland was 286 miles, so you might as well round that up to 300. And dinner? Well, that was a little more than your per diam, but hey, you haven’t had work dinner in two years, so why not splurge? Speaking of which, you had to buy cleaning supplies to keep Covid out of your home office, and if a new washer and dryer happened to fall in the cart when you were buying them, your employer has to pay, right?
And just so you know, dear reader, we’re not stretching the truth here.
The people spending money in your organization are by and large spending it as judiciously as possible, but sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they fudge things a little (you know who you are). And sometimes they lie like a dog. You know this, of course, because you’re in charge of spending and even you don’t know where the money went.
So, for a better look at spending in 2022, we need to take a peek at 2021.
Together with our partner, Oversight, we did that very thing for you, in fact, in a report aptly titled 2021 Spend Insights Report: A better understanding of 2021 for a better view of 2022. In the first section of the report, you’ll see that while spending was down overall in 2021 compared to 2020 (which had help from a pre-pandemic first-quarter spending boom), things did begin to rebound from Q1 to Q4. And that is due in large part to travel and expense (T&E) spend. Check out the report for all the details.
It’s the second and third sections of the report – violations and exceptions – that really grab your attention. They went through the metaphorical roof last year, and if you want to know how to keep the lid on this year, you’re going to need a very clear picture of where your people are spending. Or perhaps we should say overspending.
Is 2,127% a lot?
According to the report, 2021 saw more expense violations per dollar than the year before, and while one year doesn’t make a trend, we certainly don’t want it to become one. Contributing to the rise in violations were excessive personal expenses, which jumped nearly 22%, and excessive missing receipts, which skyrocketed by almost 60%. But the big jump? Duplicate mileage submissions – where travelers not only bill you once for a trip they fudged by a few miles – they try to bill you twice.
That little category rose by 2,127% from Q3 to Q4, which is enough to drive you straight into the ditch.
Rising exceptions are also something to be concerned about as we consider 2021’s impact on 2022’s decisions. Missing receipt affidavits, for example, went up 306% over the course of the year, which means employees are not only using these affidavits too often, they could be trying to hide things from you.
So, if you want to see what they’re buying and how much of your money they’re spending at say, strip clubs (because that’s in there, too), you’ll probably want to take a look at the report. You’ll probably also want to get a very close look at your specific numbers. And it might not be a bad idea to audit more of their spending in the coming year, which is something else you’ll learn about in the report.
Capturing these spending decisions – the moments that can turn your company by degrees or turn it on its head – is critical. Every moment can be an opportunity to spend smarter and learn more, but if you’re not watching, these moments are wasted. And remember that when you can see everything, it’s harder to get away with anything.