UK businesses prepare for busiest expense claims week of the year

Concur analysis of millions of expenses predicts deluge of expense claims in last full working week before Christmas.

Concur, a travel and expense management company, predicts that this week will be the busiest of 2016 for finance teams processing business expense claims, as businesses look to close the books prior to the Christmas break.

Last year, a total of 3,957,137 claims were processed by Concur, including 123,120 in the last full week before Christmas – an average of 24,624 per working day. In total, this was a 45 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2014. The busiest day was December 14th, when 26,722 expense submissions were made.

This was a significant rise from the same weeks in 2014 and 2013 (also the busiest weeks in those years), when 93,000 and 80,600 claims were made respectively.

Chris Baker, managing director of UK Enterprise, Concur, thinks thatThe festive period is always busy and, for many businesses, the financial year ends in January so it’s important to get the accounts closed. And of course, with the long wait until January’s pay packet many people time their claims to help tide them over.

Baker adds, ‘This combination creates a mad rush at the end of the year as everybody submits their expense claims at the same time – add Christmas party expenses to that and it’s a perfect storm.’

While there is no doubting that this week is by far the busiest in terms of expenses, December in general is much busier than other months too. In 2015, the month totalled 426,000 claims – 27 per cent more than the average month that year. The trends were similar for 2014 and 2013.

Despite the extra work for finance teams, Baker believes the business can boost morale.

He says, ‘There is one good thing about a busy Christmas – it really brings the team together. From helping each other out when somebody is swamped to sharing gossip from the interesting expense claims that sometimes come in, bonds are forged at Christmas that last for the rest of the year. Finance teams should harness this mentality and lean on each other to carry them through.

‘And it’s not all hard work – there’s always a party to look forward to at the end.’

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