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October 22, 2020

How to Detect and Prevent an Increase in T&E Fraud

While enterprises are preparing to send their business travelers back on the road, the recent pause in business travel exposed a curious dynamic in employee expensing: an increase in fraud.

Recent data from Oversight reveals that the risk of expense violations increased significantly despite a drop in travel and entertainment spending post-COVID. The study found a 206.7% year-over-year increase in spend violations in the U.S. as employees transited to work-from-home environments. Expenses for electronics and meals as well as first-time spenders unaware of corporate expense policies were the most common pain points.

Additional studies show that expense reimbursement fraud accounts for 21% of fraud in small businesses and 11% in large businesses. No matter where or how employees are spending company money, it’s more clear than ever that businesses have a need for real-time expense management.

With an outdated, manual expense system, it is difficult for finance and security leaders to identify fraudulent expenses in real time.

Modern T&E solutions provide greater confidence in safety and compliance, protect bottom lines, and better serve employees. They empower finance and risk leaders with the tools they need to identify and even prevent fraudulent expenses. Modern T&E solutions enable continuous compliance of policies and regulations especially as new kinds of expenses enter the system or new groups of employees begin to submit expenses.

It is possible today to create a win-win system in which finance and risk leaders are able to detect and block fraudulent expenditures in real time. They can do this while also providing employees with the support and confidence they need to travel and make purchases in pursuit of business opportunities, productivity, and well-being. Finance and risk leaders can gain the visibility and control they seek while also providing a frictionless and supportive work environment.

How? By taking advantage of the advanced, AI-powered expense technology available in the market today, finance leaders and travel managers can receive and review proactive alerts about market disruptions, risks, and fraudulent expenditures delivered to admins and travelers. They gain the real-time, granular visibility into all transactions needed to identify and stop fraud before it becomes a bigger problem weighing down the company’s bottom line.

These leaders can anticipate and avoid fraud through automated actions that communicate to employees and travelers what kind of expenses are permitted before the purchase is made.

How is that done? What tools are needed?

  • (1) A dashboard for finance teams to track and view all T&E spend of the company -- and to be notified of suspicious behavior
  • (2) 24x7 365 phone and in-app payment card support to order, cancel, replace, freeze, etc. -- in the event of a compromised card
  • (3) In-app and dashboard, fraud protection, controls, alerting and auditing

Data is at the heart of any successful finance operation. By tracking the number of compliance and fraud incidents in real time, finance leaders can turn the levers of their expense program to ensure that they’re supporting employees and their business simultaneously. This is especially important given the uncertain state of the market, with employees working from home and the office, and new opportunities and challenges representing inherent risk to enterprise finances.

Learn more about how TripActions Liquid™ helps enterprises large and small gain visibility and avoid fraud and abuse -- all while streamlining their T&E processes here.

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