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Study: 30 Pct Of Prof Svc Firms' Expense Reports Flagged

A new study points toward which business verticals are more likely than others to see their expense reports flagged and rejected. Elsewhere, efforts to stop counterfeit transactions in India see traction through joint efforts between the government and enterprises. 

When it comes to expense reports — and specifically, rejection of expense reports — professional service firms top the list.

A survey released this week from AppZen showed that vertical — which is comprised, at least in part, by accountants and financial advisors, among others — have expenses rejected most often upon their submission.

As reported this week in CPA Practice Advisor, AppZen, which offers automated expense report auditing for its business customers, found that such rejections occur across roughly 30 percent of expenses filed by employees in that vertical. The professional services vertical was followed by the computer and network security industry and then by civic and nonprofit firms.

Amid the mix, philanthropy and building materials firms saw just about none of their submitted expense reports flagged and rejected. The company has said there is no finding that certain verticals are more or less likely to be prone to expense fraud.

But AppZen did note that there are a few explanations as to why their expense reports are more frequently flagged for potential misconduct …Professional services organizations typically have some of the most demanding requirements for employee expense management,” the company said. Within the professional service landscape, firms often bill both employers and their clients for a broad range  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.” AppZen also stated that “in contrast, employees in the IT industry tend to stay in the office the majority of the time and travel less, so it’s unsurprising that only 6 percent of their expenses are flagged.”

Separately, in India, the Economic Times reports that India’s national public procurement portal is working with OEMs (short for original equipment manufacturers) that focus on information technology hardware and software, auto components and furniture to certify sellers and cut down on instances of counterfeits. The OEMs that are linking up with the portal number at least 100, said the publication, noting that the agreement with the government eMarketplace exists as a memorandum of understanding.

The Times reported that the number of users (i.e. both sides of the transaction, with buyers and sellers) have grown 186 percent in the last year and transactions have increased 772 percent  in volume.

In terms of individual company news, Under Armour has, per The Wall Street Journal, “reportedly let go” of two top marketing executives. Those executives, Ryan Kuehl, senior vice president of global sports marketing, and Walker Jones, senior director of sports marketing, have left the firm, said the Journal, without official explanations in place. The two have left the firm following a review of marketing spending at Under Armour, the Wall Street Journal said — and the financial publication, citing unnamed sources, said that there were questions  surrounding “the way the two men had been running the sports-marketing department and whether some of their spending was appropriate.” As has been reported, the company in past months has said that employees no longer would be allowed to expense visits to strip clubs — where practice had been to levy such charges on corporate cards.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.