Three Tips for Combatting Expense Report Fraud

Discovering fraud within your own company can be pretty heartbreaking. It’s that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize the employee (or employees) you trust are essentially stealing from you. With more employees traveling for business, expense reports are particularly vulnerable to fake claims. Fortunately, there are ways to combat fraud before it even happens.

Use these three tips to keep your team on the straight and narrow.


Tip 1: Know the Common Fraud Schemes

Before you can fend off fraud, you must first know and understand where these claims are taking place. Taking a thorough audit of your expense reports is a good place to start. Use the three "W"s of auditing as your guide -- when, what, and why [you should audit] -- to create a solid audit process. While reviewing the data, you can take note of patterns (both expenses and people), and decipher the mistakes from the fake claims.

A few common fraud schemes to look for include:

  • Profitable per-diems: This occurs when travelers are paid a set allowance per day. Instead of using all the funds for travel expenses, the traveler only uses a small portion and pockets the rest.
  • Mileage padding: This is especially common if you’re still relying on manual logs instead of GPS trackers, and opens the door for travelers to pad their mileage by a little (or by a lot).
  • Double dipping: This occurs when an expense is claimed twice. But don’t confuse this for an honest mistake, which also can happen. Instead look for clues to it being a fake claim, such as the same expense being claimed by two employees who are traveling together.  

These are just a few examples, so make sure you review all company expenses, including airline bookings (like those that are unused or booked at the last minute) and others that could be potential fake claims (those often come in the form of cash purchases).


Tip 2: Institute a Corporate Credit Card Program

Many businesses, especially small businesses, shy away from corporate credit card programs, thinking they are more work than they are worth or are just for the bigger companies. To the contrary, these programs make expense management easier and aid directly in combatting fraud.

With a corporate credit card, expenses are charged directly to the company. This increases your ability to monitor expenses and spot questionable purchases at a faster rate. Credit card programs also keep fraud at bay, since employees know you have direct access to all spending.


Tip 3: Use Technology Solutions to Your Advantage

If you haven’t moved to an automated expense reporting system, then now, more than ever, is the time to make the upgrade. When choosing a solution, ensure that it is both cloud-based and mobile. Concur Expense allows for travelers to submit expenses on the road and for you to access expense reports in real-time.

For auditing, using a third-party application, such as Concur Detect, not only makes it easier, but it takes the onus off of you. By integrating with Concur Expense for near real-time data capture, Concur Detect uses AppZen’s powerful artificial intelligence to instantly analyze receipts, credit card transactions, and travel bookings to identify fraud, policy compliance issues, and errors. You can extract relevant audit data with the patented ReceiptIQ™ technology from AppZen, giving you the information needed to make those hard decisions. Concur Detect integrates into the SAP Concur workflow, enabling automatic processing of low risk expenses and review, and even rejection of high-risk expenses. 

Dealing with fraud is never pleasant, but with the proper tools in place, you will be able to put a stop to it before it even happens. Learn more at



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