Filing for expenses worse than filling cavity? Singapore travellers forfeited average of $1,317 in claims last year, says poll

SINGAPORE – Getting a cavity filled is not the most pleasant of activities but one in five respondents in a survey said they would rather do so than complete an expense report.

So much so that 56 per cent of the Singapore travellers polled in the survey forfeited expenses last year because they did not think the expense was worth filing or because their employer never paid them the money owed.

On average, this amounted to $1,317.90 per business traveller that was not reimbursed in the past year.

The findings are from a global survey commissioned by SAP Concur, which provides travel and expense management services. It was conducted by market research firm Wakefield Research from July to August this year, and the results were announced on Friday (Nov 8).

The survey  found that the key challenges faced by employees when travelling for work included a lack of support from companies in terms of expenses, administrative tasks and safety.

Among the 7,850 business travellers from 19 different countries surveyed, 250 were from Singapore.

The top priority nearly half (42 per cent) of business travellers from Singapore was their own safety, although almost a third (31 per cent) felt that their companies prioritised meeting business goals instead.

As a result, 78 per cent have gone to the extent of changing their travel arrangements because they felt unsafe.

Administrative tasks, both before and after the trip, are another common pain point.

Many (43 per cent) business travellers from Singapore felt the most stressed when planning, booking and organising their trip, while catching up on e-mails and completing expense reports post-trip is a stressor for 28 per cent of respondents from Singapore.

Business travellers from Singapore are also technologically savvy, with 79 per cent preferring to re-book their trip online should their travel arrangements be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Only 21 per cent would rather do so on the phone via a travel manager or representative.

Thus, most (77 per cent) believe their company lags behind when it comes to using technology to make business travel easier. This is despite the fact that almost all (96 per cent) are willing to share personal information, such as GPS location and e-mail data, to improve convenience and personalisation of their experience.

Moving forward, 73 per cent suggested that their company could improve their booking and expense reporting tools, while 71 per cent hoped to see better travel safety tools, like those that issue automated safety alerts about their destinations.

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