Nearly half of business travelers say their companies have toughened rules governing travel costs, according to a new survey by American Express.
The American Express Survey of International Business Travel Expense Practices found that 45 percent of the 500 frequent travelers surveyed said that their employers' policies on reimbursable travel expenses have become either "somewhat" or "a lot" tougher in the past two or three years. About one-third said that employers are being more diligent about reviewing expense reports for non-allowable items.
"Increasingly, corporations are stepping up efforts to track and halt out-of-policy spending and tighten their grip on travel and entertainment spending," said Mark Webb, senior vice president of Amex Global Corporate Services' Global Client Group. Webb said that automated expense reporting tools and the impact of the federal Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance reform bill, along with a desire to control costs, contributed to the trend.
Some business travelers (23 percent) said they were making more of an effort to adhere to employers' new rules on travel expenses. However, 37 percent believe that it is "somewhat" or "quite" common for expense reports to include at least some falsified or bogus charges. Meals and restaurant charges were seen as most likely to be abused by business travelers, followed by tips, taxi, and telephone charges.
The crackdown on expenses was not limited to U.S. corporations; business travelers from France, for instance, also reported that their employers were scrutinizing expense reports more closely