Conferma: Employees Are Lending Their Employers over £300 Million Through Expenses Every Month

  • 1-in-3 have experienced cashflow issues due to slow expense reimbursement
  • 38 percent have been caused stress due to the time it takes to get their expenses repaid

LONDON--()--Employees in the UK are effectively lending their employers £321 million a month through expenses, leading to a feeling they are at times acting as a bank to their own employer.

That is according to new research from Conferma, the fintech company specialising in virtual payment technology, which has identified that 36 percent of employees in the UK use their own money to pay for work-related expenses at least once per month. The average individual expense claim is £72.20.

The problem of reimbursement is a big issue for many, so much so that 33 percent experience personal cash flow issues because of their company’s expense submission deadline.

Cash shortfall takes its toll on employee mental health

With over a third (37 percent) of employees stating they had to wait up to or over 2 weeks to be paid back after submitting a claim, it is unsurprising that cashflow issues occur regularly. Half (50 percent) of those aged 18-34 said they had less money to spend on personal items in the short-term, correlating with the fact that the average cost of work related expenses was highest among this age group (average monthly spend of £76.90).

This is undoubtedly taking effect on employee mental wellbeing. Almost half of employees in this age range (43 percent) admitted that the combination of these factors caused them stress.

A detrimental impact on employer productivity

The issue is as much of a concern for employers as well, with 41 percent of employees admitting they would stop spending money on a business expense if they had to wait a significant amount of time to be repaid. This could have a detrimental business impact through opportunities lost. For example, almost one quarter (19 percent) said they would stop undertaking business travel and a further 43 percent were prepared to halt meeting current or prospective customers and undertaking marketing activities altogether.

Commenting, Simon Barker, Co-Founder and CEO of Conferma, said: “The scale of this issue identified in these findings has taken us by surprise. We knew it was a problem, and one we are working hard to address, but the impact of this on both employees but also employers really is cause for concern.

“It simply should not be the case in today’s world that individuals, particularly the low-paid, are having to hold back personal spending due to the delay in expense repayment. Likewise, it is staggering that a single business opportunity should be missed due to an employee’s decision to hold off marketing because of these inefficiencies.

“This is a problem that is understandable in 1988 but not 2018. Businesses must do more to address this issue for their own benefit as well as the wellbeing of their own staff.”

The full research report can be found here.

About Conferma

Banks want to increase their revenues, heighten security and implement a seamless virtual payment process. Businesses want to save costs and tighten controls on expenses throughout their organisation. Travel Management Companies want to speed up the payment process saving time and money. Our virtual payment solutions cover all of this, creating greater efficiencies for all businesses, both in terms of implementation and costs. We replaced the problem with a revolution and continue to bring pioneering products to market.

Conferma is a leading FinTech company specialising in virtual payment technology across all B2B sectors. Businesses use Conferma-powered virtual cards to pay their suppliers in 197 countries. We are also the only virtual payment provider integrated into all major global distribution systems and more than 70 online booking tools and 400 travel management companies.


Notes to editors

  • Fieldwork dates: 14-19 June 2018.
  • Sample: 1,009 U.K. adults (18+) currently in employment.
  • Sole traders and self-employed excluded.
  • This report is based on the results of an online survey.

Calculation: Britain’s Invisible Bank

In order to put a figure on the amount of money ‘lent’ by employees to businesses through the time lag of expenses being incurred and reimbursed, we went through the following process.

  • UK working population employed by businesses of more than 10 people: 17,932,000 (Business Statistics, Parliament UK 2017)
  • % of people who pay for expenses using personal means at least once per month: 36%
  • Average expense claim on a monthly basis: £72.20
  • Expenses repaid in less than a week but not immediate: 32%
    • £72.20 * (6,455,520 x 32%) = 72.20 x 2,065,766.4 = £149,148,334
  • Expenses repaid in 1-2 weeks: 23%
    • £72.70 * (6,455,520 x 23%) = 72.20 x 1,484,769.6 = £107,200,365
  • Expenses repaid in more than 2 weeks: 14%
    • £72.70 * (6,455,520 x 14%) = 72.20 x 903,772.80 = 65,252,396.20
  • TOTAL: employee ‘lending’ to business of £321,601,095 per month.


Georgina Rudkin
0203 128 8766


Georgina Rudkin
0203 128 8766