Do your employees cheat with their travel expenses?

Yes, I know. The headline might sound a bit harsh. But fact is, that fraud with expense transactions is a real challenge for many companies. Most people know that it exists, but few know the extent. Grab yourself a good cup of coffee and read on. I will shed some light over the topic.

How to identify fraud?

One can often distinguish human errors or misunderstandings from intentional fraud. Many different factors can lead to errors and misunderstandings. It can be unclear rules, use of old Excel sheets, where the calculations are no longer valid or something as simple as errors in summarizations. Understanding the extent of the problem and how to spot fraud can be divided into different areas:

  • Incorrect expenses: An employee request a refund for a private expense but claims the expense as being business related.
  • Too much refund of expenses: A refund submitted where the purpose is correct, but the amount is too large.
  • Fictive expenses: An employee seeks refund for fake purchases. Often with a copy of a false receipt.
  • Repeating refunds: When an employee submits the same expense several times.
  • Mileage allowance: The employee reports more kilometers than has actually been driven.

Our customers tells us that reporting too many kilometers in connection with mileage allowance is a common form of cheating. We have found that the use of electronic route calculation either through Google or using a smartphone’s GPS tracker can provide savings of up to 15 percent of the company’s total cost of mileage allowance. Everything is relative, but this can potentially involve a lot of money.

How about cash withdrawals?

Cash withdrawals can be a challenge since the employee withdraw cash instead of using credit cards, and cash is more difficult to control. Our experience is that implementing corporate credit cards reduces the number of cash transactions – which are easier to cheat with. The primary reason is that you can’t control the place of the purchase between the receipt and the credit card transaction.

Cheaters are creative

The above definitions can help to understand the different areas where we often encounter fraud. In reality, however, there are no limits to how employees can cheat and try to avoid controls or exploit weaknesses in processes and systems. The good news is that it’s only 5 % of employees that counts for 82 % of all fraud, according to various research. So, the task is simple – we “just” need to find the 5 %.

The hidden costs of cheating with expenses

Where cheating with expenses can be difficult to detect, the negative impacts are easy to identify. Fraud can be a costly affair for companies of all sizes, but for smaller companies the costs have more impact. According to studies, companies with less than 100 employees have, on average, 28 % higher losses than companies with 100 or more employees. How can that be? The reason is, that digital Travel & Expense Management systems are less common in small businesses. Fewer companies have access to effective and automated control of expenses. Some of these systems may also include functionality for monitoring user behavior and automatic controls of policies and rules. Larger companies will typically have one or more full-time controllers dedicated to the control task. No matter which approach a company has to expense management, there is no foolproof solution to completely eliminate fraud with expenses.

Get control of rules and policies

Once rules and policies have been drawn up and written down, it’s easier for employees to understand exactly what compose an infringement. It’s also simpler for the controllers to figure out which employees that are playing by the rules and which isn’t. Furthermore, it’s easier to react and make decisions in cases where the infringements occur.

Structure and process

It’s important to define the right cost structure. I always encourage to describe “what you have spent money on” rather than “which account should be registered”. Most employees aren’t employed in the finance department and don’t understand concepts such as “Freight with VAT” and “Freight without VAT”. It’s all about designing a well-defined structure and process that meets the users on their premises. Did you know that “various” constitute the fifth largest expense category in some organizations – often up to 8 % of the total travel and expense transactions. That’s more than cell phones, taxi services and other clearly defined categories. Consider specifying “various expenses”, so it becomes easy to distinguish the transactions. That will reduce the risks of cheating.

Power up the process and include fraud controls

It’s my clear belief, that the implementation of an automated expense reporting system and company credit card is the simplest way to avoid cheating with expense transactions and travel expenses. Company policies, controls, credit card administration, travel orders and the daily flow of expenses can be easily handled with the right solution. The right solution will also ensure compliance with the company’s rules and requirements. Advanced reporting, documented electronic approval processes and robotic technology makes it harder for fraudulent expenses to pass undetected.

Do you want to know more?

With this article I have given some insight into how you can get proper control of your company’s expenses. Get a step-by-step guide on how to get started with a full digitization of the expense process here.

 

Lars de Nully

CEO & Founder

22 years with digitization of business processes

Acubiz Expense Management

With a ‘goodbye’ to paper-based processes and a ‘hello’ to a more modern and digital process, the idea of simplifying travel expense processes remains the cornerstone of Acubiz – and it’s more relevant than ever.

Acubiz helps more than 145.000 users in over 30 different countries to achieve an easier work day by streamlining a very time-consuming process, where employees otherwise would have to keep track of receipts and expense transactions. It’s certainly no secret, that few people find the old school manual process entertaining. Acubiz’ automation of the expense process will in most cases imply that a company’s resources can be used more efficiently for other value-creating activities.

More innovative than the birth certificate prescribes

Within the Expense Management category, 22 years is a long time. And in this context Acubiz can be considered as an old stager. However, it’s only on our birth certificate that the age can be seen and felt!

At Acubiz, we are more innovative than ever before. We challenge status quo, listen to customer needs and respond to market signals. We are continuously developing our Expense Management Service with a fast pace. Let’s take our implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) as an example. With this component in the solution, our customers gain access to intelligent and automated control functions, fraud detection and much more. This means that it becomes much easier to ensure compliance with rules and company policies. The workload for manual controlling of expenses can also be reduced. We can already see the positive effects of RPA among several of our customers, who experience both time and financial savings.

Focused rethinking continues

CEO and founder of Acubiz, Lars de Nully, always says that “change is the only thing that is certain”. It’s anchored deep inside the DNA of Acubiz, to be ready for change and to be dynamic. Both organizationally and in terms of product development.

Our first promise to the market is therefore that Acubiz remains focused and invests in further developing our Expense Management Service. The best knowledge of customer needs comes directly from the source. Our second promise is therefore, that we listen to the ideas of the outside world and our customers, embrace these ideas and develop them further.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed and been with us on our journey so far. Team Acubiz is as motivated as ever and looks forward to an incredibly exciting future.

Help – my job will disappear!

Why is the biggest opponents of automation and process optimization those who think they know the most, even though they in fact know the least? I have worked with process optimization for more than 30 years and I’ve often encountered statements like: “we don’t do that around here”, “it takes no time” and “doing it manually is just as easy”. Progress and development links to changes – and it’s not as dangerous as many believe.

Too many negative preconceptions

There are many negative preconceptions, misunderstandings and unnecessary fears about what optimization of processes entails for the individual employee. Take a look at finance departments, a field I work a lot with. It’s actually very rare that I’ve experienced layoffs in connection with optimizing processes. On the contrary, the resources can be redistributed to more value-creating tasks which can lead to a more progressive finance department.

The new opportunities

Through new opportunities like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, we will focus even more on process optimization in the future. We will also experience more people who “fear” new initiatives and the entry of new technologies. Fact is, that companies are forced to embrace these opportunities and the changes that come along to remain market-driven, competitive and more important, to be able to survive. As I put it; “change is the only thing that’s certain”.

The human nature

Many other people speak about new technologies together with change. However, it is too often that the positive angles are omitted when it comes to demount the fear of change. Some say that humans are creatures of habits and thus are difficult to move. But reality is that the human species is extremely adaptable – for some people, this is just hard to realize and understand. Think about the human history and evolution and all the big changes our environment has undergone – we are still here, and we carry a truly special ability to adapt.

The good news

To all of you, who doesn’t feel comfortable with changes, you can expect that your job is going to change in the future. But the good news is that you will be fine, so don’t worry. That said, it’s of course important that we inform, anchor and create an understanding about the optimizations we create with technology. This is done through dialogue and training. To change perceptions, you must learn to appreciate what you don’t understand. Then it becomes easier to let the fear of the future go.

 

Lars de Nully

CEO & Founder

 

Robotics in finance processes?

Recently, I’ve been very interested in how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be applied in various finance processes. RPA is a quite hot topic amongst leaders in finance functions. Obviously, this has something to do with its potential to effectively automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks and thereby enable the realization of significant cost savings or the release of resources for more value adding tasks.

How to get started?

However, to some it might also sound overwhelming to start an RPA project, but the truth is, that typically, the resources needed to get started isn’t necessarily that substantial. I believe that soon, RPA in finance processes will convert from being “nice to have” into being “need to have” for all types of organizations. It’s also important to be aware, that even though you might believe (probably by your first hunch) that a certain process isn’t suited for RPA, then try twisting your brain a little and think about in what parts of that process RPA can be applied. Trust me, an opportunity can be found almost anywhere, and it’s actually a good idea to start with a step by step model. Fact is, that some of the most successful RPA implementations has started with parts of processes. But also bear in mind, that the rapid development of technology will enable increased sophistication within RPA – what might seem far away today, will be here tomorrow.

RPA within the field of Expense Management

At Acubiz we are operating in the fintech space. We are constantly looking to develop our Expense Management solution. This also incorporates RPA features, with the aim to optimize and simplify the processes of transaction registration and authorization across to bookkeeping and controlling related to these transactions. All for the benefit of both function leaders and finance leaders.

We especially see opportunities within the process of bookkeeping and controlling. By incorporating features that can automatically distinguish users’ ordinary behavior from behavior that deviates from “ordinary” without a human control task involved, we can help release time savings. And time savings always come in handy in today’s competitive world. Sometimes, I wonder why certain employees, for example Sales reps, on one hand are given the authority to sign financially large contracts that commit the organizations for several years (and sometimes with substantial risks involved). But on the other hand, these employees are obliged to have approval of (and get manually controlled for) expense amounts less than 50€. Of course, this relates to specific expense policies within a given business, which should be repspected. But in my opinion, the manual tasks related to the controlling of these types of transactions really doesn’t make make sense and we must find ways to optimize and simplify these processes by implementing RPA.

The “Acubot”

As mentioned before, Acubiz has already taken the first steps within this field through our Company Policy Manager. It is in fact driven by a robot (we’ve named him Robert and he is our “Acubot”) that can handle most of the controlling tasks related to expense management. And these are notoriously time consuming. Aided by this feature, several of our customers are now utilizing RPA to handle two thirds of their expense controlling tasks. Now, that’s cool! If you are managing a finance department, you probably have a pretty good idea about your current time spend for this type of task. I’m also sure that you know your internal hourly rate by the dime and then it’s easy math to calculate your savings potential if you invest in a robot to do most of the controlling.

However, this is only the beginning and we are committed to continue focus and investments in further developments to the RPA functionalities within our solution – for the benefit of all Acubiz EMS users.

 

Lars de Nully

CEO & Founder

Goodbye to 2018 and Hello to 2019

Customer focus

2018 has now been concluded and I can look back on a year with great progress for Acubiz. Our customers are in the very heart of everything that we do, and I truly appreciate and value the trust, loyalty and feedback that we receive through the relationships with our customers. This is also why I am both humble and proud of the fact that, over the past year, a total of 150 new customers have chosen Acubiz as their preferred partner within expense management services. Consequently, our base of customers and users as well as our total business has seen significant growth once again.

Innovative solutions

Our strong customer relationships are continuously fueling the development of our solutions and services. This gets very tangible, when I look at the new offerings that we have launched in 2018. To highlight a few, I can mention the many new features in the Acubiz One app and the related push towards a mobile first approach when it comes to handling expense management tasks. Also, our innovative Invoice Management Service deserves a mention. They all provide our customers with the opportunity to explore new areas for process automation and enable them to harvest on additional efficiency benefits.

A strong organization

At the organizational plan, we have staffed up in both Sweden and Finland in order to strengthen our foundation for growth in these markets. We are also very aware of the need to be agile and adaptable in an ever-changing world. Therefore, we continuously adjust our organizational setup, so that we, at any given point in time, can deliver services that are fit to market demands – in a quality that we can be proud of. This approach will also secure that we will keep delivering on our promise; happy buyer – happy lifetime customer. I am confident that we stand in a favorable position to bring our expense management solution to the next level and to continue our positive development as a company.

The new year

2019 will bring plenty of opportunities, but also plenty of challenges. Our technology driven industry is characterized by fast paced developments. Moving forward, we will continue to put our customers at the center of all our activities – both in terms of service delivery and feedback but also in terms of challenging status quo. Consequently, the coming year will bring heavy investments in our platform and in our services – including new concepts for credit card services, individual customer groups, consultancy services around process optimization and further push for increased automation of finance and administrative tasks by developing our Company Policy Manager and the robotics and AI capabilities within our solution. I can hardly wait to share more details with you as we progress through 2019 – so stay tuned!

 

As a concluding note, I can say that we retain a tireless focus on our goal to be the preferred supplier of Expense Management. And remember that change is the only thing that is certain!

 

Best wishes for a prosperous 2019

Lars de Nully

CEO & Founder

Worth knowing about foreign VAT refund

Many companies fail to reclaim their foreign VAT – either because they forget it because they do not know that it is an option or because it is too demanding.

Reclaiming your foreign VAT does not have to be a complicated process. Read more here as we look at a handful of frequently asked questions about foreign VAT refund and tell you about your options of reclaiming your foreign VAT.

What is foreign VAT refund?

Danish VAT-registered companies can reclaim the VAT they have paid abroad in connection with business travels. Unfortunately, many fail to do this, and they therefore throw away the opportunity of getting a significant amount of money back from the tax authorities.

VAT refund for expenses abroad includes VAT for travel and subsistence expenses – but also food, catering and hotel expenses, as well as transportation costs for taxi, plane tickets and car rental. Therefore, there are favorable conditions for VAT refund if your company has sent employees on a business trip abroad.

How do I get VAT refund for my expenses?

There are different ways to apply for a foreign VAT refund. There is the difficult process many businesses try to avoid – and then they are the user-friendly and easy ways. The difficult way to reclaim your foreign VAT is to send an electronic request via the business self-service (TastSelv Erhverv) at the tax administration office. However, this method is circumstantial because you must both have your name, address, branch code, application period, bank details and a number of other information ready.

Additionally, you need to be aware of the fact that countries outside the EU such as Norway and Switzerland make additional requirements for copy of purchase documents when exceeding certain limits and you might risk that the country for which you seek reimbursement ask for additional documentation.

How do I avoid difficulties with foreign VAT refund?

At Acubiz we would like to make the reclaiming process easier for our customers. Therefore, we have, in cooperation with Cash Back, developed a simple and automatic VAT refund service. The service is an add-on to our digital travel billing system, Acubiz EMS, which automates the expense management process, invoice management and foreign VAT refund. With these services your company will save time, money and avoid the inconvenience of manually entering expenses into SKAT’s self-service function.

How do I get Acubiz EMS?

If your company is interested in hearing more about Acubiz’s automatic foreign VAT refund, you are always welcome to contact us for a non-mandatory chat.

This is worth knowing when it comes to travel allowance

Are you often on business travels, and are you in doubt of whether you are entitled to receive travel allowance or not? Or do you just need an easier way to manage and registrate of your allowances?

Read more here, as we at Acubiz look through some frequently asked questions about travel allowance and let us furthermore tell you about your options for a simple and easy way to registre your travel expenses.

What is travel allowance?

Travel allowance is a tax-free payment that your employer will pay you according to the valid standard rates. For example, if you travel in connection with your work, your employer may choose to pay travel allowance for diet, accommodation and other minor necessities – the so-called allowances.

What is required for travel allowance?

To receive travel allowance, you must be an employee who, due to the distance between your home and a temporary workplace, is unable to stay at your own residence. It may be associated with shorter trips elsewhere in the country or in connection with longer business travels.

The possibility of getting travel allowance depends, among other things, on the journey lasting at least 24 hours and that you cannot reach your private home by car or public transport within a certain time, making it necessary to book accommodation elsewhere.

However, in the end it is the Tax Administration Office that assesses whether you as an employee are entitled to allowances. There is therefore no guarantee of receiving travel allowance simply because there is a hassle, long transport time or expensive expenses associated with your trip.

How do I manage my allowances in the easiest way possible?

If you meet the conditions for receiving allowances, you have to make sure that you hand in your receipts for your expenses to your employer. In the end, it is your employer who is responsible for staying updated with current rates – and furthermore managing the administrative work.

As an employee, however, it can be difficult to keep track of the pile of receipts for your expenses. And as an employer you might want to use your resources on other more important tasks than administrative assignments related to travel allowances. That is why we have developed the feature “allowance” in our all-in-one app Acubiz One, for managing receipts and expenses.

With the feature “allowances”, you can easily register your allowances and expenses while on the go, as Acubiz One is updated with the current valid rates. Therefore, both employees and employers save time an resources on registering allowances.

If you would like to hear more about the options you have with Acubiz One, you are always welcome to contact us for a non-mandtory chat.

 

Mileage documentation requirements

Do you need an overview of your fuel refund options? Read more below and become more aware of both SKAT’s requirements for your mileage documentation and on Acubiz’ solution for easier mileage registration. Read more

Inbjudan – Acubiz frukostseminarium

Inbjudan – Frukost

Glöm tråkiga utgiftsrapporter.
Låt oss visa hur effektiva ni kan bli med godkännande av utgifter i realtid.


Acubiz bjuder in dig till vårt frukostseminarium med focus på hur man optimerar din tid. Kvitto skanning och rapportering med telefonapp och godkännande i realtid. Våra kunder brukar säga att vi jobbar med att minska deras konflikter och öka deras produktiva tid.

Efter en kort presentation och live demo erbjuder vi möjlighet till mingel och diskussion på hur vår expense management lösning matchar just era behov för hantering av utlägg, milersättning, tidsrapportering, traktamente, company policies, moms återvinning och mera.

Vill ni veta mera hur ni sparar både tid och pengar med automatiserad expense management? Anmäl dig nu!

// Tid och Plats
Onsdag 12 december 2018 från 07:40 till 10:00.

Kom till Acubiz frukostseminarium hos L’s Resto på Lindholmen Science Park, Lindholmspiren 3-5, Göteborg.

// Deltagande och Registrering
Deltagande är helt kostnadsfritt, men vi har begränsade antal platser så snälla anmäl er snarast möjligast. Anmäl här.

// Program
07:40 Registrering och frukost*
08:10 Acubiz EMS presentation // Hur ni kan spara tid och pengar med att godkänna utgifter i realtid.
08:50 United Cash Back presentation // Hur vi förenklar er moms-återvinning.
09.00 Meet & Greet // Vilka utmaningar finner ni med utgiftsrapportering.
10.00 Lämnar vi er i fred.

För frågor eller funderingar vänligen kontakta Sales Manager – Srecko Pavicevic på 0762 797 414 eller spa@acubiz.com. Går även bra att skicka SMS eller email med namn, telefonnummer, position och företag för att registrera er.

Vi ser fram emot att träffa dig!


*) Serveras: Ekologiskt kaffe/te, surdegsbaguette med grönsaker, ost & skinka, apelsinjuice från Brämhults, wapnöyoghurt med bär- & nötmüsli och pain au chocolate.

Acubiz EMS R7.0 release events

On November 12 and 13, Acubiz hosted the second release-presentation for the year. It went down across two events in Zealand and Jutland respectively. Around 250 people spent a day with us, at the two events in Rungsted and Skanderborg.

Acubiz has a relentless focus on adding value for our customers by constantly challenging the processes within expense management. We reflect this vision in our product development. In accordance with this, the new features in both Acubiz EMS R7.0 and in the Acubiz One app was presented.

New features

The news in EMS R7.0 spans across more flexible work with VAT codes, updated functionality for regenerating passwords, preparation for Business Central integration to updated diet rules for Norway and England as well as much more.

Likewise, an array of new features in the Acubiz One app was also presented. Users and approvers will now benefit from direct upload of pictures or PDF’s from mail apps or camera roll, mileage tracking in the background, secretary function, dimension split, integration to Storebox, Out of office function, reports and a lot more. All of these features align with Acubiz’ Mobile First concept – which is the idea that all functionality will be present in the app, so that users and approvers can handle every task on the go.

Easy processing of supplier invoices

In addition to the above, we also put focus on the Acubiz’ Invoice Management Service (IMS) during the events. Acubiz IMS is a solution, that provides organizations with an automated and digital workflow for managing supplier invoices. The approval process is obviously integrated with the Acubiz One app, meaning that invoices easily can be approved through a smartphone. Read more about the solution here.

Acubiz One workshop

Finally, the event participants did a workshop with the Acubiz One app. The attendees went through a “hands-on” experience with solving tasks related to expense handling through the app. Several participants said, that this was a true eye opener to them, in terms of how easy user and approver tasks is done on the go. Interested in seeing for yourself? Then contact us here.