Market Overview

Conferma: Employees Are Lending Their Employers over $1.6 Billion Through Expenses Every Month

  • 2-in-5 have experienced cashflow issues due to slow expense
  • 42 percent have been caused stress due to the time it takes to get
    their expenses repaid

Employees in the US are effectively lending their employers $1.6 billion
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 38
percent of employees in the US use their own money to pay for
work-related expenses at least once per month. The average individual
expense claim is $110.90.

The problem of reimbursement is a big issue for many, so much so that 45
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 (38 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. The majority (60
percent) of 18-34-year 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 $116.30).

This is undoubtedly taking effect on employee mental wellbeing. Over
half of employees in this age range (58 percent) admitted that the
combination of these factors caused them stress and almost half of male
of employees also cited regular stress (47 percent) because of the

A detrimental impact on employer productivity

The issue is as much of a concern for employers as well, with 49 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, 1-in-5 said they would stop undertaking business
travel and a shocking 51 percent 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 online at

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: 1,001 U.S. adults (18+) currently in employment.
  • Sole traders and self-employed excluded.
  • This report is based on the results of an online survey.

Calculation: America'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.

  • US working population employed by enterprises: 115,938,468 (US Census
    Bureau, 2015)
  • % of people who pay for expenses using personal means at least once
    per month: 38%
  • Average expense claim on a monthly basis: $110.90
  • Expenses repaid in less than a week but not immediate: 33%
    • $110.90 * ((44,436,618 x 33% = 14,664,084) / 4 = 3,666,021)) =
  • Expenses repaid in 1-2 weeks: 27%
    • $110.90 * (44,436,618 x 27% = 11,997,887) / 2 = 5,998,943)) =
  • Expenses repaid in more than 2 weeks: 11%
    • $110.90 * (44,436,618 x 11% = 4,888,028) / 1 = 4,888,028)) =
  • TOTAL: employee ‘lending' to business of $1,613,927,900

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