Rising Gas Prices Prompt Fudged Expense Reports


With gas prices in a state of flux over the past few years, a new study reveals business owners need to begin taking a closer look at their employees' expense reports.

Conducted by Natural Insight, a retail technology company focused on workforce management, the survey shows a disconcerting correlation between the increasing cost of gasoline and the number of employees falsifying mileage in their expense reports.

According to the study, employees increased mileage expenses by 32 percent at the peak of gas prices and still overreported their expenses by 18 percent during the cheapest period.

In multiple cases, the research found the increases and decreases, varied by as much as 39 cents in either direction, saw a nearly identical percentage of employees doctoring their mileage reports.

On average, mileage was overreported by 24 percent throughout the six-month study period between January and July of this year.

Stefan Midford, president and CEO of Natural Insight, believes the research shows that workers attempt to offset the increasing gasoline costs by reporting more mileage than they actually logged in their vehicles.

"While businesses are supportive of proper worker expense compensation, overreporting on expense reports is more common than we expected to see and certainly presents a large opportunity for cost reduction if properly identified," Midford said in a prepared release. "As actual fuel costs rise and fall, corporate reimbursement rates can work for and against the worker, since guidelines are typically set on an annual basis."