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4 out of 10 overlook expenses, baulk at clunky systems


Workers find recovering outlays involves a stressful, cumbersome process, research finds.

By Philip King 12 minute read

More than four out of 10 Australian workers fail to file legitimate expense claims with two-thirds baulking at the paperwork or delays and one-quarter blaming a “cumbersome” process, a survey by WalkMe finds.

The US software-as-a-service supplier found reluctance to claim expenses decreased over time, with 35 to 44-year-olds most likely to leave money on the table but around two-thirds of over-55s always filing a claim.

The global survey also found that compared with overseas workers, Australians were much more likely simply to forget to claim, although 35 per cent said expenses created job stress while one in five were left short of money over the holidays due to failure to file.


WalkMe chief people officer Chelsea Pyrzenski said poor expense systems rebounded on a business.

“When expense reporting is so cumbersome or the process doesn’t feel worth the effort, employees will feel dissatisfaction with their jobs and more work stress,” she said.

“Enterprises can experience compliance and end-of-year fiscal reporting issues as a result of the expense reporting mess, which makes them vulnerable.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the process is very easy, efficient and seamless, to eliminate the time-wasting shuffling of receipts and the guesswork around software and policies.”

WalkMe said employers should have an efficient expense claims system for a range of reasons, including compliance with tax laws, keeping track of company spending, budgeting and creating a positive employee experience.

It found one-third of Australian workers were still submitting paper receipts although 44 per cent thought AI could improve the process, with 45 per cent currently declining to claim for expenses less than $5.

Globally, it found half of all employees had failed to claim for money owing (44 per cent in Australia), with the average amount forfeited more than $US26.

More than half of those who did recoup expenses made claims for travel – flights, hotels and taxis – or meals, followed by office supplies and car use. The vast majority of claims involved less than US$500 a month,

The WalkMe survey polled more than 2,400 workers who incurred reimbursable work-related expenses as part of their job in the US, UK, Germany, Singapore and Australia (212 workers) in November last year. Almost 6 per cent of those surveyed worked in accounting, with a similar number in banking, finance or insurance.


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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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