Small business survey reveals surprising habits

Small business survey reveals surprising habits

Results show that employees don’t like filling out expense reports, and make mistakes when performing the task.

October 11, 2010
Industry News

REDMOND, Wash. – Concur, a provider of on-demand travel and expense management services, found in its survey of expense reporting habits of small businesses that, for most, expense reporting is both time-consuming and prone to errors.

To glean further insights into the expense reporting habits of small businesses, Concur polled 500 employees of businesses in the U.S. with 100 employees or less. The survey asked respondents to address many facets of expense reporting, including: time spent on creating reports, the average cost of reports, as well as where reports landed in terms of priority.

Among the most significant findings, 59 percent of respondents recalled making at least one mistake on an expense report they've submitted in the past 12 months, while more than a third owned up to five errors or more in the same timeframe. Nearly half of the respondents admitted to having lost receipts, while 36 percent don't always remember the purpose of certain expenses. Additional findings include:
•    Expense reports are low on the priority list. Not surprisingly, filing expense reports was among the least popular tasks on the daily to-do list. Respondents claimed they'd rather answer phones (26 percent), clean the office bathroom (10 percent) or even take out the company trash (18 percent) if it meant they'd never have to do another expense report.
•    Expense reports are time-consuming. It isn't just employee mistakes that make expense reports difficult to handle. More than half of small business employees can name at least one problem, if not more, with the way their employers deal with expense reports. The biggest complaint? According to 36 percent of respondents, the time to process expense reports is simply too long.

•    Expense reports are still largely manual. One fifth of all respondents do not have any type of specific expense reporting process in place. Of those that utilize a defined process, almost half (42 percent) of respondents use spreadsheets or paper-based systems to manage their expense reports.
•    Expense reports add up. More than a third of respondents have filed an expense report that totaled $1,000 or more, attributing the amount to procrastination and/or lack of time set aside for expense reporting.

In addition to releasing the survey results, Concur kicked off its "$61,354.03 Expense Tracking, Not Stacking Tour" to address the very pain points small businesses noted in the survey.

As part of the "$61,354.03 Expense Tracking, Not Stacking Tour," a team of Concur "Breezers" have set off on a five-week motorcycle tour of the United States to prove that expense reporting for small business doesn't need to be hassle.