North American Employees Hand Back Billions to Employers in Unclaimed Expenses Every Year

Research links poor expense claim processes to employee frustration and disengagement

VICTORIA, British Columbia and MANCHESTER, New Hampshire--()--North American employees are losing out on more than US$10.7 billion of unclaimed expenses every year, two-thirds of the US$15.5 billion globally(based on research data from nine countries only). An independent multi-national research study into expense claims found that poor expense claim processes lead to employees not always claiming expenses they have incurred, having a negative impact on employee engagement.

“The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage and long-term strength for a company is the workforce. The people are the company. Research shows that employees who are engaged significantly outperform those who aren’t”

Commissioned by Unit4, a fast growing leader in enterprise applications for service organizations, the survey was conducted by Ruigrok | NetPanel in August 2015. Researchers surveyed senior and middle management professionals who are employed full and part-time, and who submit expense claims in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Sweden. The findings are based on responses from almost 2,000 employees with at least 200 responses from each country.

A summary of key findings are:

North American employees:





Regularly don’t expense everything       17%       23%
Lose an average per year       US$390       US$284
Lose a total average per country       US$9.7 billion       US$1 billion
Are frustrated with employers’ expense processes       32%       27%
Wait over one month for payment       10%       13%
Left short while waiting for expense claims       37%       20%
Feel financially taken advantage of through expense claim process       42%       21%

A number of reasons were cited for failing to claim expenses including low value, forgetting to ask for receipts, losing receipts or simply forgetting to submit the expense claim. One in three employees say they refrain from submitting expense claims because the process is too frustrating and time consuming. The same amount have to wait for more than one month for their expenses to be paid after making a claim, though overall most expenses are paid within a month.

Corporate expense claim processes do not support employee engagement initiatives to the extent that companies are leaving employees short of money. Two out of five (37%) US professionals who regularly claim expenses say this is the case, with those in France (24%), Spain (23%), the UK (23%) and Canada (20%) reporting find themselves short of money.

Many North American professionals feel they are being financially taken advantage of by their employers. When asked if they feel their employer is gaining a financial advantage over them through the expense claim process, 42% of US respondents said yes. In Spain (29%) and Sweden (26%), the UK (25%), France (23%), Canada (21%) and Belgium (20%) agreed, compared to only 10% in Germany and the Netherlands. Of the employees surveyed that said yes, 28% (average across countries) feel this has a negative influence on their feelings towards the company.

“The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage and long-term strength for a company is the workforce. The people are the company. Research shows that employees who are engaged significantly outperform those who aren’t,” said Kara Walsh, Chief Human Capital Officer at Unit4. “While employee engagement is driven by many factors, the companies that provide a caring and open workplace environment will win today’s war for talent. With recruiting costs running approximately 1.5 times annual salary, the ability to engage and retain valuable employees has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line.”

The findings of the survey have been summarized in an infographic. The full report is available on request.


About Ruigrok | NetPanel

Ruigrok | NetPanel, established in 1991, is a full-service market research agency in Amsterdam specialized in (online) quantitative and qualitative research. Since 2007, Ruigrok | NetPanel has been certified with the Research Hallmark [based on ISO 20252].

In our vision, we focus upon the three P’s: Pleasure, Personal and Pragmatic. Pleasure for the client, who’s able to use the results directly, pleasure for the respondents and for us. Our strategy is personal: focused on a close cooperation and results that are suitable for immediate implementation into daily practice. We are an innovative agency. We believe in the continuously evolving possibilities of online research.

About Unit4

Unit4 is a leading provider of enterprise applications empowering people in service organizations. With annual revenue over US $550M (500M Euro) and more than 4,000 employees world-wide, Unit4 delivers ERP, industry-focused and best-in-class applications. Thousands of organizations from sectors including professional services, education, public services, not-for-profit, real estate, wholesale, and financial services benefit from Unit4 solutions. Unit4 is in business for people.

For more information please visit the website at, follow us on Twitter @Unit4global, on our Google+ page or visit our LinkedIn page.

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US/Canada Twitter: @UNIT4_NA


Maggie Kerr-Southin, +1 250-704-4484
Marketing Communications Manager, North America

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