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What’s the state of expense management in the UK today?

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >What’s the state of expense management in the UK today?</span>
  • With expenses, there are two sides to consider. Businesses want to protect their bottom line, and employees need timely reimbursement for every pound spent serving their company. So it’s surprising to discover from our recent YouGov survey that despite the obvious benefits of digital expense management, only 11% of workers in the UK use an app.

Here’s our insight into the current state of expense management in the UK and how more and more companies could tap into the benefits of a digital expense app. You can also download the full report here.

Who’s claiming expenses in the UK?

Our survey, conducted by YouGov, explored how workers manage their expenses in 11 European countries, including the UK. The goal was to take a snapshot of expense management, the current trends, and the maturity of the market for digitisation.

According to the research, just over 32% of UK workers incur expenses. The results show that it’s mostly professionals and people in administrative roles who manage expenses at work. Here are the top 5 roles doing expenses in the UK:

  1. Other roles and professions: 44%
  2. IT professionals: 7%
  3. Executive and administrative assistants: 5%
  4. Accountants: 5%
  5. Engineers: 4%

Which expenses are the most claimed?

Usage data reveals that the most claimed expense types are receipts, mileage, and entertainment. This explains why it’s mostly professionals, those people in executive roles, and their assistants who manage expenses because they travel as part of their roles. In addition, many IT professionals and engineers travel as part of their work, servicing equipment across multiple locations – and expensing receipts, mileage, and per diem.

How do people in the UK do expenses?

Although tech-savvy professionals in IT and accounting do expenses, 35% of UK workers with expenses still rely on basic spreadsheets. That’s around twice as many people compared with Nordic countries, where the use of digital accounting tools is 10% to 20% higher than in other European nations.

Despite the obvious advantage of standardised and accessible processes for doing expenses, the UK currently lags behind countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. This might be a wider reflection of the country’s slower uptake of digital tools. That said, less than 10% of workers surveyed reported doing expenses using pen and paper.

In fact, 40% of UK respondents said they make use of online accounting and payroll systems to do expenses. This is a positive sign. It means there’s a willing market – with room to grow –  for digital accounting tools in the UK. That’s good news for companies looking to elevate their offering with expense management technology that easily integrates with leading accounting and financial software – like Findity.

How does organisation size impact UK expenses?

In the UK, it’s not only younger and fresher tech-savvy businesses reaching out for digital accounting tools. Research shows that as companies grow, so does the uptake of online accounting and payroll systems.

In fact, there’s a direct correlation between company size and the use of digital accounting tools. That’s partly due to necessity. As the number of people on the payroll increases, it soon becomes unmanageable without digital tools. The same applies to expenses (although uptake of mobile expense apps in the UK is slower than in other European markets).

Data from the UK shows that the use of expense apps increases with company size, from 4.6% in micro organisations to 18.1% in enterprises. Interestingly, the proportion of employees with expenses stays broadly the same for every size of organisation – at around 30%. So what do these businesses know that others could benefit from?

They see the added value – the savings in time, cost, and accuracy – of digitising expenses with an app.

One app for every expense

At Findity, we're experts in expense management. Our expense platform helps businesses and people manage expenses, mileage, entertainment, and per diems in one place – fully compliant and totally automated.

We partner with leading accounting firms, financial software providers, and card issuers – putting our expense management tech in their hands, as a white-label product or via APIs.

Our report ‘The State Of European Expense Management In 2023’ contains valuable insights on 11 key expense management markets, including the UK. It’s available now as a free download.

Download the full report

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