Compliance and the Public Sector: How to Drive Cultural Change

SAP Concur Singapore |

Are you struggling with unexpected costs or excessive spend? Here’s how to get employees to follow your travel and expense policies…


From city councils to government departments, public sector bodies are entrusted to spend funds on the government’s behalf – money that ultimately comes from the taxpayer. This, together with a stretch on resources, is likely to put a burden on your spend management processes, which will be under more scrutiny than ever for waste or fraud.

When looking to drive greater internal expense compliance, it’s vital to understand the issues and see what’s really happening in your organisation's culture, so you can start to drive positive change by encouraging and enforcing the right kind of behaviour. Here are some pointers to consider…

Remember Policy and People Go Together:

A good universal policy sets the ground rules so everyone knows where they stand. But that’s only half the battle. You also need an effective strategy to make employees aware of it – and to be persuaded to abide by it.


The Emotive Side of Travel and Expense:

When travelling on behalf of your organisation, public-sector employees may find themselves away from their homes – and often out of pocket. They know that it’s important to comply with policies, but can feel a sense of dread when it comes time to submitting their expenses and the prospect of a cumbersome process. This can especially be the case in roles where the admin and paperwork burden is already quite demanding.  


Understand Why People Exaggerate:

It’s a fact of working life that some people see expenses as an extra source of income. In one YouGov poll, one in five employees said they thought it acceptable to exaggerate expense claims. This kind of behaviour will only increase if people don’t understand or agree with your policy, or think it’s unfair. 


Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Culture on Bad Behaviour:

If a working culture prevails where boundaries are pushed and policies are just a ‘guide’, then overinflated and out-of-policy claims are sure to follow. And if approvers never challenge suspicious claims, then it’s not unreasonable to expect some employees to chance their arm.


Adopt Technologies That People Love to Use:

Spend management systems that are easy to use and save time are sure to create a community of evangelists. With mobile tech, for example, employees can snap pictures of their receipts and immediately upload them to their expense claims. An effective solution will simplify the expenses process by giving the finance team greater visibility and control too.