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Overtime, Travel and Expenses

In my experience as a local Counter Fraud Specialist at Audit Yorkshire, one of the most prevalent reports I receive, feature potential instances of timesheet or travel and expenses reimbursement fraud.

This blog aims to help your organisation to prevent inadvertent claim breaches, potential manipulation of the procedures and to detect where fraud may be occurring, thus saving you money.

There are a number of ways this fraud can be committed so I will start with highlighting the most common.

  • An employee submitting an overtime claim for hours not worked.
  • An employee submitting a claim for travel/expenses not incurred.
  • Inflating the cost of expenses, or amount of hours worked
  • An employee submitting multiple claims for the same expense.

When investigating these matters, more often than not, weak procedures or non-compliance with procedure has resulted in these types of claims being paid to the employee, when they could have been spotted and prevented.

Measures can be put into place to minimise the risk, as long as they are followed correctly.

  • Having a clear, up to date and fair overtime, travel and expenses reimbursement policy in place. This makes it easier for employees to understand what they must do and what constitutes a violation and makes it easier to eliminate grey areas and spot breaches.
  • Ensuring a declaration is signed/agreed, at the time of each submission, by both the employee and authoriser. This ensures employees are aware of the necessity for accurate claims and procedural compliance.
  • Robust checks and authorisation procedure should be carried out, ensuring supervisors are actively checking the claims submitted, rather than just signing them off. This ensures an accountable supervisor is authorising payment, after checks, rather than employees being allowed to sign off their own.
  • Proof. Ensure receipts and documentation is submitted to support claims.
  • Recording. Dedicated and specific computer software is more effective than a paper based system if properly implemented and supervised. Often this type of programme will have its own checks and balances in place such as checking distances between points of travel or highlighting duplicate claims. It also prevents an employee forging signatures, authorising their own claims and provides an audit trail to the process.
  • Audit. Regular audits of claims should be conducted to act as a deterrent and further line of defence against fraudulent and erroneous claims.

Further information and guidance, for paper based and software enabled claims processes, as well as expense procedures, can be found by following the below link.

https://cfa.nhs.uk/resources/downloads/guidance/fraud-awareness/Payroll_fraud_guidance_Final_June_2015.pdf

For any advice, or if you suspect fraud has occurred in your organisation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.