A new survey from AppZen finds employees in the professional services industry, including accountants, financial advisors and lawyers, more frequently have their submitted expense reports rejected, reports in CPA Practice Advisor said Monday (Dec. 10).
AppZen, which provides automated expense report auditing for its business customers, published data from its Audit Insights platform that analyzed expenses that were rejected before being reimbursed to employees. According to the data, employees across the professional services space saw the highest value of rejected expenses.
It’s a broad category of professionals, which includes financial advisors, accountants, and other non-finance services including engineers, lawyers and architects. Analysis found nearly 30 percent of expenses filed by employees within the professional services space were flagged by AppZen and ultimately rejected by managers.
In second place is the computer and network security industry, followed by civic and nonprofit entities.
The philanthropy and building materials industries effectively saw 0 percent of expenses flagged and rejected, while expenses submitted by employees in the retail, health care and aerospace fields similarly saw low percentages of rejected expense filings.
AppZen emphasized that the data does not suggest workers in any particular field may be more or less honest than others, or more or less likely to commit expense fraud.
Rather, “there are a few explanations as to why their expense reports are more frequently flagged for potential misconduct,” the company said.
“Professional services organizations typically have some of the most demanding requirements for employee expense management,” the company said in its announcement, adding that professionals in this field often bill both employers and their clients for an array of expenses, with travel — and therefore, expenses while out of the office — a common part of the job. This means more opportunity for error and disputes, said AppZen.
“The major takeaway from this data is not that employees in certain industries commit more fraud,” the company concluded. “It’s that existing expense policies may need to be revisited to fit the behaviors of your specific workforce.”