back to article How to polish the bottom line? Microsoft makes it really hard to claim expenses, say staffers

As Microsoft toasts another quarter of soaring profits, The Reg can't help but wonder if the bottom line is being ever so gently assisted by something that seems to be blighting its staff: difficulty claiming expenses. Jeffrey Snover, Microsoft Technical Fellow, beloved by administrators for PowerShell and stockholders for the …

  1. Joe Dietz

    As I've progressed in my carrier and get paid more... I've often thought about the _expense_ of filing expenses. The time it took to document an $8 breakfast at the airport ... costs a bit more than $8 on its own.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      We no longer need to scan receipts under 25CHF, but we still need to enter an itemise each one - (as you say) this probably costs more to the company than the actual expense.

      I do wonder if these rules are dreamt up by people senior enough to have secretaries who enter the expenses for them...

      1. Tim99 Silver badge
        Angel

        Top-Down system?

        Almost always specced by bosses and people outside the department. When I did this, the punter often finished up with two joined systems - One to keep the bosses happy, and the other for the peons who actually used it. Typically, I called the first a "Management System" with a pretty screen and lots of reports; and most importantly, snazzy "Export to Excel" facilities. The other often had several streamlined CRUD screens with a simple main data entry screen, and only a few reports. The most important people (Boss's secretaries) got both...

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        I do wonder if these rules are dreamt up by people senior enough to have secretaries who enter the expenses for them

        More likely they're dreamt up by bean-counters who think the company makes profits by counting beans.

    2. pavel.petrman Silver badge

      I alwaqys suspected that behind all these systems are those managers who consider on-clock time the one and only measure of productivity. That is, almost the whole lot.

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      I've not missed corporate travel during COVID, and I've *really* not missed filling in expense claims that almost always leave me out of pocket.

    4. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Everywhere I've worked there was always the option to just claim the per diem meal expenses with no receipts. Unless you're rather extravagant in you choice of restaurants you usually come out ahead. And the company doesn't have to deal with a couple dozen extra receipts from your 10 day business trip.

    5. TramVanCollision
      Headmaster

      I'm guessing that if you're getting paid more for doing it, it must be an aircraft carrier that you are progressing in and not a carrier bag.

  2. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    I Concur, expense systems can be hard to use...

    1. LDS Silver badge

      They SAP your of your will to live every time you have to claim expenses...

      1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
        Devil

        So that's the meaning of the company's name

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Obviously, I have no experience whatsoever with accounting systems, ERP systems or usability. That, at least, is my personal explanation why I'm totally incapable of getting my head around the UX/UI paradigm of SAP and struggle to get anything done with it.

          And if, in one of those rare occasions, I do manage SAP to do what I actually intended, it only compares to the feeling of deep relieve that I once had when exiting the underground train maze of Myst. Except that Myst was more satisfying. Much more.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Upvote for the pun, but Concur (especially with the ExpensIT (sp?) add-on) is pretty slick to use. No saving paper receipts, just snap a picture with your cell phone. Post trip, wait a few days for expenses to post to my company credit card, verify Concur matched them up properly, and submit the report.

      Granted, at $lastjob we had a gawdawful Excel spreadsheet for expense claims. It was so bad, in some circumstances you had to get out a calculator, add up several figures, and enter the sum in another cell. I wouldn't fix it because one of the owners had created it, and was very proud of his creation.

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        I've used Concur for a while as well. At the first job I used it back in maybe 2005, accounting folks had us use Concur but we also had to submit paper receipts for some reason.

        My current gig I still save paper receipts. I don't go on trips often but some of my trips have been 2+ weeks and have $5-8k of expenses and 35+ receipts. I keep all of my receipts. At the end of the trip I submit the report(s), I take pictures of the receipts, I crop and resize them in GIMP and then submit the report(s) to Concur.

        I wait until the expense report is paid into my bank account before destroying the receipts(just in case, never have had an issue though). It may take an hour or two or three in worst cases, but company is paying me for that time regardless so I don't care. Super rare that I've lost a receipt. Concur's website tries to get me to book travel through them or their partners, I ignore all that too book it myself, hotel, airline rental cars etc.

        I'm sure they have an app that makes it easier, I try to keep minimal 3rd party apps on my phones(that includes no banking apps too).

        1. elkster88
          Facepalm

          “ accounting folks had us use Concur but we also had to submit paper receipts for some reason.”

          We’re required to keep the paper receipts for all expenses submitted for reimbursement under US government contracts. I also find that Concur is quite slick and easy to use with the smartphone app, simple and quick to snap a photo of a receipt.

          UNFORTUNATELY, my expense reports are now being audited by a “machine learning” system, which has repeatedly kicked back every report due to expenses paid by cash, since the restaurant and commissary here in the secure compound we foreigners stay in, accept nothing but cash.

          I’m convinced that the US government warehouse where the paper receipts are filed is the same one where the Ark of the Covenant is stored…

      2. Korev Silver badge

        > Upvote for the pun, but Concur (especially with the ExpensIT (sp?) add-on) is pretty slick to use.

        Yeah, I did feel slightly bad about making it. Concur is a big improvement over the SAP-based monstrosity that we used before replaced.

      3. My-Handle Silver badge

        I've been known in the past to make an Excel spreadsheet to help generate the data needed by another Excel spreadsheet that I wasn't allowed to modify (like your $lastjob expenses sheet). Makes it as simple as entering the needed data and then copy-pasting a line

  3. Bitsminer Bronze badge

    keep your conference swag!

    I once went to a conference. Tossed all the swag away as it wasn't worth keeping. Kept the payment receipt and filed that.

    They wanted proof I had attended!

    Ummm, the badge is gone, the swag is gone.....oh, yes, I do have a photo or two of some of the commercial booths....how about that?

    Got the cheque by the skin of my teeth.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: keep your conference swag!

      Somebody posted about this on reddit.

      You trust me to sign off on a maintenance check on an aircraft worth $100M with the lives of 400people on board - but want a doctor note if I'm off sick for a day

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our evil corporation will shortly migrate to Concur and they tell us that it will be an improvement. That should tell you how bad things are currently (scanning to PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, Outlook, strings, yoghurt pots).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Concur has been written by people that have never seen a UI in their life, nor ever used an expense system. It makes Oracle look modern and usable. You have ever last bit of sympathy I can muster

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Also, Auditor #1 is an asshole.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "get the basics right internally"

    But they did get it right internally - they sucked the willpower out of you, thereby preventing you from claiming expenses !

    Job well done !

    Of course, that's only true as long as long as you DECLARE NOJUSTICE and DECLARE ACCEPTSLAVERY, but don't worry, Borkzila has set YES as defaults on those parameters.

  6. nematoad Silver badge

    Ah, yes.

    I once had the dubious pleasure of using an internally developed stock and finance control system when I worked at an oil refinery.

    To say that the interface was convoluted would be a gross understatement and after inching my way through I found that funnily enough I was the only one able to get it to work (sometimes). The whole system was controlled with the use of managerial sign-offs via a managers personal code. The trouble was there was no central database of the codes so to put a purchase order through you had to run around looking for the right person, who sometimes did not remember what it was! The orders had to be done with an inflexible syntax and it was so easy to mess things up and you had to start again.

    Things came to a head when our department manager came up to me and said "Can you put through this order to pay the refinery's telephone bill, please?"

    It turns out that the bill was overdue and BT was unhappy and making threatening noises.

    I fought my way through the system, got his authorisation code and asked how much the bill was "£215,000" came the reply. It was getting close to the end of the day and and the manager and I were sweating a bit to see if the bill would go through the system.

    It did and the 'phones still worked the next day.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Ah, yes.

      So, I'm project managing this multi-million pound project? Yes.

      So, I have financial authority from the primary stakeholder for all aspects of the build? Yes.

      So, I can take a business class flight which is *cheaper* than the equivalent peasant class flight? No, because that's not policy...

      Or in another country, having moved an office complex to a new location, buying pizzas and beer for the guys on site who helped join it all up was disallowed... that's not policy...

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Ah, yes.

        I had a German colleague who wanted to stay on in the US for a few days vacation at the end of a conference. Adding the Saturday night stay made the flights cheaper, and of course he would have paid the extra hotel nights himself, but it was forbidden. The trip would then have counted as part-business and part-personal, and he would have had to calculate what proportion of the flights was for the personal part of the trip, and it would have had to be declared as a benefit in kind for tax. Too complicated for the bean counters to process, it was easier to say "No".

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Ah, yes.

          I've had this one before when visiting the US - the trick I used was to have 2 weeks working attending meetings and training, then have the holiday part, followed by a final day back in the office. I say "day", but I turned up at 9, ate some pastries and had my final alleged "tea" and then took a cab to O'Hare at 10.

        2. Blank Reg Silver badge

          Re: Ah, yes.

          The flight costs could triple when flying to Europe if I didn't stay an extra day or two so it was not only allowed but encouraged. They would even pay all the expenses for those extra 1 or 2 days. We even had an entertainment allowance when staying the weekend.

  7. herman Silver badge

    At the last place I worked, I eventually refused to do business travel, since it was too expensive. The final straw was when I had a claim approved by the CEO and then refused by a bean counter.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Our place knows what my conditions of travel are. Expenses have to be paid up front or I just don’t go. Any fares, hotels, hire cars are booked through a travel company who invoice us. I expect a reasonable cash float to cover meals etc. One time They didn’t get it ready for me, I just didn’t go, went to the office and worked as normal.

      1. AndyS

        Re Cash Float - isn't a company credit card the usual way to approach this?

        I work for a large multi-national. I generally have no out-of-pocket expenses while travelling. All is paid for on the card, and the expenses sorted before the card is paid.

        In a previous system I then paid the card myself (once the money was in my account). In the current system the company pays the card directly (once I've submitted receipts against each item).

        In both systems, I'm never out of pocket.

        1. Paul Garrish

          Most 'company' credit cards are in your name so you're carrying the risk if they choose not to reimburse you or pay the card.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            I had one and a visit to a very remote site in a foreign country. Card readers were out at the local town so I persuaded the only bank branch to give me a cash advance.

            Caught a huge amount of shit for it.

            OK my new policy is either a manager comes with me and pays for everything or the next time I have a problem with the official process I abandon the $M of kit I have with me and come home.

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the "pick a cost centre" game

    Ha! I know this one - it can go on for weeks. I think my best score on this was an expense claim for travelling to another country to visit a subsidiary of a company I was contracting at through a contract agency, that was managing a contract for my actual employer that paid my salary. Only downside is it took weeks of various managers and departments at these various parties trying to avoid dealing with it before I got my money back.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Place where I work, HR/Finance bought extension modules for their time keeping webpage. It's completely unusable and buggy as hell. In an FAQ session pointed this out and the poor saps sent to talk to the IT department said they knew all that but the decision had been made. None of them could look me in eye when I asked why the reports were so important when they were going to be based on faulty data. *Sigh* sometimes I wonder what sort of mind it takes to be a manager in these departments.

  10. Medieval Research Council
    Happy

    I had a 600 mile flight and a 2 day drive back to the construction site with a new Land-Rover. Overnight stay cost £1.00 (it was a long time ago...) Claimed £1.00 for it and was told I had to have a receipt. Jumped into the Land-Rover, drove 10 miles to the nearest town and bought a book of receipts and a ball-point. Claim paid.

    A few weeks later I was due a long-weekend break with travel paid to get home. So I claimed for the price of a return aeroplane ticket and actually drove to watch some forest stages of the RAC Rally in Scotland. No receipt, claim paid without question.

    1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
      Happy

      Mileage

      for the receipt book

      POIDNH

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It doesn't need a computer for the beancounters to play those tricks. Back in my Civil Service days they always seemed to come up with some new IR* to say my claim was invalid. I considered claiming witness expenses from the court instead. That might have caused a ruckus.

    * Waaay before HMRC was invented.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      It got so bad with one EO who loved delaying/denying expenses, that I did once take two day's leave and claimed court expenses for two days/nights because Mrs Tim99 wanted to go with me. She went shopping on the one day I was in court.

  13. Borg.King

    Frequent traveler tip

    If you can swing business class for short trips, you can avoid the extra baggage fees, and use the airline lounge to get free food and coffee, and the extra cost overall might only be a few quid. Saves having to file those receipts for separate purchases at the airport. Your in-flight meal and drinks are unlikely to be extra cost options in business class too.

    Likewise if your hotel includes WiFi and breakfast in the room rate, two fewer expense claims to file afterwards as well.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Breakfasts

      My former employer (Stryker & Abrams HQ) paid USGov per diem for all meals and, although they asked, didn't really care if any were provided.

      New employer's beancounters will go bat-spit crazy if the hotel provides "breakfast" and you don't check the box to have your per diem docked appropriately. Note that as of late the "breakfast" has been less than adequate nutrition in most places. One coworker said the beancounters were calling a granola bar and coffee as a full breakfast.

      (We need hotels to provide breakfast, because when visiting Army sites they often start before anything else is open. Sometimes even before the hotel breakfast. And no midday offsite breaks. Your only bet is to buy groceries and brown-bag it all day. Small snacks every hour works best and reduces trips to the port-a-john.)

  14. DeathSquid
    Paris Hilton

    Mail in receipts

    Current employer requires receipts to be snail mailed to HQ. The stamp is, of course, claimable by submitting another expense report and mailing in the receipt. The stamp is, of course, claimable...

    Reminds me of the old joke about the programmer's skeleton found in the shower holding a bottle of shampoo. The instructions read: wash, rinse, repeat.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Mail in receipts

      > The instructions read: wash, rinse, repeat.

      Obviously missing an error clause for "bottle empty"

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Concur improves matters beyond belief

    As someone who before the pandemic was on an aircraft at least 2-3 times a week, with ~ 40% of those flights being intercontinental the day I first saw Concur with the ability to just snap a photo of my expenses was a bloody revelation. I had previously been working for IBM who had some awful in-house app that was a nightmare to use and ended up with me getting late fees on my corporate amex every single month. When I left IBM I am sure they owed me 10's of 000's in expenses I couldn't claim such as late fees for their incompetence.

    I did once get a claim for less than $10 of laundry denied because I hadn't been travelling for more than the requisite number of days - because I did it the day I checked into a new hotel despite having been on the road around asia for 3 weeks by that time and having submitted all of the expenses for that trip in the same claim. Fighting for that $10 payment became a matter of principle and would have taken me 40+ hours and cost them thousands, but I wasn't going to let one more bloody legitimate expense fall thought the cracks.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Concur improves matters beyond belief

      My prof once did this.

      Went to London for some gov dept meeting and got a burger at the station. Claim denied since there had been refreshments provided (tea and biccies).

      So he refused to sign off on the official report.

      Eventually 2 civil servants were dispatched to our swampy outpost to reason with him. They made the mistake of saying how they had traveled first class .....

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Concur improves matters beyond belief

        Although.. he was going to eat whether he was travelling or not. He could've packed a sandwich.

        If you're staying overnight and have to pay for an evening meal I can understand claiming that but I do hate people that insist on claiming for every tiny little thing - like a cup of coffee or a burger - that their travel has had no influence on at all.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Concur improves matters beyond belief

          On the other hand.

          You are a lowly paid academic.

          You volunteer to go to the big city to provide expertise for free that would cost $$$$ if they had to pay.

          You sit in a meeting with a bunch of consultants/lawyers/PR who are being paid $$$$

          And then they nickel and time you on the coffee from the station

        2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Concur improves matters beyond belief

          Why pay for an hotel?

          You have to sleep whether you are traveling or not...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our outfit is funded in such a way that classification of capex and open is important. As such we are all encouraged (read, bad performance reviews) if you’re not booking large proportions of time and expenses to capital programmes.

    We had a SAP4/Hana “upgrade” about 9 months ago, and within a couple of months budget controllers figured out they could boot expenses and hours logged against their project back to opex. To make ‘their’ project look like it’s costing less than it actually is. Nobody can be arsed to argue over timesheets filed 18 months ago on other systems, to say nothing of missing the history of what was entered under the original.

    It is a Wild West crapshoot and the biggest waste of time and office politicking for all of the wrong reasons I have ever seen.

    It’s actually worse than Oracle Itime, for those that had the privilege of using that turd back in day when it was common.

    And in the meantime reporting, that much vaunted of functions is blatantly being skewed by bad systems. Or at least bad if you’re it in the position of abusing them.

  17. Big_Boomer

    Hypocrisy

    We are constantly told that we need to reduce our travel expenditure, but we are also told that we have to book all travel/hotels/etc. via a particular system. That system does not even have the option to book some of the cheapest flights/hotels/etc. On a trip 3 years ago, I tried to book via the system and total cost for the trip came in at £1500. I then went direct and the same trip (same airline, same route, same hotel) totalled £650. I presented the evidence to my manager and was told to use the system, so I did. So, I now laugh out loud whenever one of our managers spouts the usual "reduce expenses" company line, and if they query my laugh, I explain their hypocrisy to them,... again. That said, I have never been one to "game" the expenses system (I've never had an expense refused), and I avoid corporate travel these days if at all possible.

    As for our current system (Concur) it's way better than the 3 previous systems, but the oldest one where you submitted an Excel sheet printed out with the receipts attached, was the best of all.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Hypocrisy

      At a certain local authority we were told that train bookings could only be via Trainline. And tickets would then be posted to us to give to staff. Which created a several days' delay and anxiety every time someone needed to go to an important conference at shortish notice ( most of them tbh- though they didn't happen very often) ior some such. We were within walking distance of the mainline station, and staff could easily have collected prebooked tickets from the machines in the station. Often those tickets were also cheaper than the corporate price we had to pay.

      But then, in the past on El reg I've recounted how the approved supplier costs of stuff- especially tech- were often higher than I'd pay in the local chain store and took much longer to arrive.

  18. fpx
    Go

    Ah, the good old days when expenses could be approved by my immediate manager with a "be reasonable" attitude. I always was reasonable and got all expenses paid with no questions asked. Direct 2h flights when a 6h connecting flight was slightly cheaper? Check. Stay for the weekend, when the weekly car rental was about the same price as the 5 day rental? No sweat. Occasional $50 dinners? Fine, everybody did that. Oh, the flight is $200 cheaper with a saturday stay? Yeah, of course you can then expense the $150 for the weekend hotel stay.

    Now, at a consulting company where expenses are bounced to the customer that might ask questions? No way.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Had the opposite. Expenses were cost+15% to the customer, so if I took a 10e budget flight it cost the company money to process the expense compared to me booking 200e on big airline. Got told off for that one

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Polishing the bottom line

    I'm sure I once heard some saying about polishing something related to "bottom"...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do you get a 50p coin out of a Yorkshire person's hand? With a spanner...

    I worked for a Yorkshire-based, family-owned business who were incredibly tight with expenses. We had a client who we had a contract with - private bank in a pricey offshore location. When I did onsite work, there was a sandwich shop right next door that charged something like £12 for a sandwich. We had an £8 allowance for lunch, so my whole expense submission for the month would be stopped (flights, hotels, taxis, hundreds of pounds) just because the single line was "out of policy". I tried arguing to no avail. Next time I went, at lunch, I booked a taxi to take me to the supermarket and back. Lunch receipt was now <£5, but the taxi was >£15. My expense claim was paid no problem. I tried pointing out the sheer perverse folly of the whole situation, but it was pointless. From then on, I continued the taxi/supermarket lunch route, wasting company time and money, just because of the stupid policy. I would even bung the taxi driver a hefty tip each time, just out of spite.

    1. Paul Garrish

      Re: How do you get a 50p coin out of a Yorkshire person's hand? With a spanner...

      My ex employer was like that. They'd put you in a cheap hotel miles from site and pay a fortune in taxis or mileage but wouldn't budge on allowing a more expensive hotel to save time and money because of the 'policy'. All the processing was outsourced to eastern Europe and they had no leeway to deviate from process - an they applied it to the penny, regardless of the cost of dealing with it all.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: How do you get a 50p coin out of a Yorkshire person's hand? With a spanner...

        Ah I've come across this one. It's not about cost savings. It's about power and position.

        It's saying "First class for the bosses, second class for the peons".

        They'd rather spend an extra £50 in travel than put you in a hotel room that's £30 better.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The joys of running your own business

    After many years of petty expense rules it's such a pleasure to have a policy of "do what works for you, just don't take the piss"... In 8 years I don't think we have had a single query from a client either (an example: the remotest one is very happy to pay for a hotel the night before being on site; they see that as far better value than being on site after a 5 hour morning drive...)

  22. Dave Null

    11 years MSFT here

    and it's really not that bad. I mean, any filing of expenses is a PITA, mainly due to having to find your receipts and work out what was for what - but the current system works, there's an app that improves on the old webinterface of //msexpense2 and there's no actual paperwork needed any more, it's all done on photos of receipts etc.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a SME peon who likes to move about regularly (hence AC), the nicest expense app I've experienced is Expensify, The receipt snapping app is run of the mill these days, but the mechanical turks behind the scenes always had the donkey work of filling out the forms done in a few minutes and the money back in my account in a few days.

    I always like to ask about expense claiming before starting a new job. Any company which makes you wait a month to see your money again is going to take the piss.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Lazlo Woodbine Silver badge

    10 years ago I worked for a small UK arm of a US megacorp.

    Their expenses system was seemingly designed to make you wonder whether it was worth the effort claiming, but when you put the effort in it was worth it.

    You had to file every line of your expenses online, so 1 coffee, 15 miles etc. making sure all items from a single receipt were grouped together.

    For each receipt a sheet was printed with a barcode. the receipt was taped to the sheet then faxed, yes in 2012 we still used a fax, to a processing centre in India.

    The sheet and receipts were also sent by post to another processing centre in High Wycombe.

    If the people in India were happy, and they usually were, the money would hit your bank in 30 minutes.

    If the people in High Wycombe were unhappy, and they sometimes were, the excess expenses were whipped out of your next pay packer. Something a colleague found out when he tried to claim 6 months worth of coffee in one go, India paid out, High Wycombe disagreed and his next pay packet was almost empty to cover the over-payment...

  26. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Timesheets

    Let's hear it for timesheets, too. When you work on contract you usually have to do one timesheet for the client plus one for every intermediary. The bigger clients usually have Oracle or SAP timesheets, but most agencies seem to use something knocked up by an unemployed developer that they couldn't place because of general incompetence. There's also the problem where access to the timesheet system is terminated the second your contract ends, so entering your final week or querying errors can be difficult.

    I've recently had experience at two big banks where timesheets have to be completed weeks in advance so they can do their month-end bean counting. Weird.

  27. Grumpy Scouse Git
    Facepalm

    Expenses misery

    A hotel I stayed at once charged my corporate card a sum to cover the bill for damage to a room that I had allegedly caused. It was refunded after an angry complaint to the manager.......and that was were the trouble really started. The AI expenses system assumed that the company was owed this refund, and started to deduct it from future claims.

    In the end, the only way to make this refund disappear was to NOT CLAIM a NEGATIVE amount for the item!

    The same AI expense system once recorded a photo of a McDonalds receipt as a flight somewhere!

    Often it took longer to confirm that the AI had correctly assigned everything than it ever did filling in the old paper system, photocopied receipts etc.

  28. TomPhan

    There was a remote office I needed to be at for a few weeks, and I spent hours each day on the train travelling even though a hotel would have been cheaper - the problem was that the expenses system would have treated a hotel stay as one event which went over an arbitrary limit, whereas the travel was multiple daily events and so allowed.

  29. Willie T

    Seriously?

    Total rubbish. Talk about taking a grain of sand and polishing it into a pearl - well done Reg!

    I have worked in corporate IT for over 35 years, in all of those roles I did extensive travel and filled out numerous expense reports. I’ve seen the spectrum from reasonably efficient to utterly infuriating.

    The last 10 years I have been with Microsoft in a role where I have expenses to claim almost every week. I have never used an expense system that is easier to use, simpler or more efficient use of my time to satisfy the requirements for accurate reporting.

    Of course once a year you come upon an edge case where you need to ask a few questions to get it right, so maybe that was the situation that prompted the original post. But then again, the poster even admitted this is just not a strength of theirs.

    Oh well, should have expected nothing less from you on a slow news day. :)

  30. Colin Bain

    Its not just expenses

    Its also payroll. "recently" (5 years) installed system still takes more time to process payroll than the old system and often gets it wrong anyway. And no they did not pay for the onboarding module preferring to save a.minimal amount in the purchase and lose thousands of hours of muddling through and more importantly trust and motivation in the long term.

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