The spendvision blog

Why is Cabcharge misuse an issue?

I’ve been watching the news this week as the story about Peter Slipper’s alleged misuse of Cabcharge vouchers unfolds. The Speaker of the House of Representatives in Australia has been accused of paying for personal cabs using the government Cabcharge account and issuing blank dockets to cab drivers.

The story baffles me on several levels:

  • Firstly that there seem to be very few checks on this kind of expenditure, surely a limo for over $300 should have been flagged up somewhere?
  • Secondly that the minister has had to go back and get copies of the vouchers and dockets, why weren’t copies scanned and attached in the claim system?
  • Thirdly that these infringements occurred in 2010, why has it taken nearly 2 years for this to come to light?

Comments on Twitter range from those predicting the immediate collapse of the Gillard government through to many who see a harmless bit of Cabcharge fraud as a fact of life.

We’d all like to think our staff are trustworthy and beyond reproof but, as has been so well demonstrated by many of our public servants across the world, this isn’t always the case. We’re not naïve, we know this, it’s part of the acceptable face of expense fraud.

What really stuns me is that organisations aren’t doing anything about it. There are simple solutions out there to manage Cabcharge vouchers (paper and card) that give complete visibility of spend and make employees accountable. Receipts can be scanned and uploaded and transaction data is captured automatically, including things like pick up location, destination, time, employee and of course cost. It’s not down to analysing someone’s handwriting anymore and can also make processing these vouchers and payments much more efficient for everyone.

We have the technology so let’s use it to help us manage these challenges. After all you wouldn’t give an employee a credit card with no checks and controls, or would you ….

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