It is not nice to think that one of the members of your team is trying to take unfair advantage of the company’s resources. It never ends well and does not create a good working environment. Normally, employees are honest and do what they should, in 99% of the cases...
Nevertheless, business travel fraud continues to generate losses running into thousands of euros. Companies big and small are victims of such fraud and any organization in which employees claim business expenses is prone to fraud in the process. Dealing with these issues is not easy but cases should be dealt with promptly to avoid them from happening again.
Before deciding how to deal with the matter, it is important to differentiate between human error and deliberate wrongdoing. Many companies still use manual processes in their expense management. Mistakes are bound to be made in such processes. Typing in a value wrongly, an incorrect date or losing the original receipt are common occurrences. It is always advisable to use some type of tool for automating expense management. Naturally, these cases require a different approach. So, once we are certain that business travel fraud has been committed, how do we deal with the situation?
To manage such cases correctly, several factors come into play with respect to the specific case and the company culture. Here is a list of points that should be taken into account.
In relation to the fraud:
The first fact to ascertain is the exact amount. How much are we talking about in total? Are we looking at tens or thousands of euros?
Is this the first time that this has happened? One the fraud has been identified, it is advisable to investigate and check whether there are further irregularities in the employee’s past accounts.
In relation to the employee:
Are we dealing with a good worker? Do they do their job well? Are they a hotshot at sales or is their performance mediocre?
Once you are certain enough that wrongdoing has taken place, the employee should always be given the opportunity to explain. It may have been a misunderstanding and they were simply unaware of one of the company’s expense policies, or perhaps the employee is going through a particularly tough time that should be taken into account to analyse the situation in context..
In relation to the company
In the event that fraud is proven to have been committed and it is decided that the employee must be reprimanded, it should be taken into consideration how this reprimand will affect relations between the employee and the company. Is it going to be possible to re-establish a good working environment for both parties?
REPLACING THE EMPLOYEE
If this is an extreme case and it is decided that the employee must be dismissed, it is important to take in account how important a role the person plays in the company, how the company is going to be affected and how difficult it will be to replace them.
MANAGING THE SITUATION
In the end, if the company has a Human Resources Department, it is always easier if they deal with such type of conflicts. If not, the only advice is to remain calm, polite and tactful.
Can you recommend any other aspects that should be taken into account in such situations? Share them in the comments section.