Half of Singapore business travellers forfeit expense claims: Global survey

Getting a cavity filled at the dentist is a dreaded activity, but one in five Singaporean respondents in a survey said they would rather do that than complete a travel expense report.

So much so that more than half, or 56 per cent, of the Singapore travellers polled forfeited expense claims last year either because they did not want to deal with the paperwork or because they were not duly reimbursed.

On average, based on estimates, each traveller forfeited some $1,317.90 in the past year.

The findings are from a global survey conducted by market research firm Wakefield Research from July to August this year. The results were announced last Friday.

The survey found that employees faced many challenges when travelling for work, including a lack of support from companies in terms of expenses, administrative tasks and safety.

Among the 7,850 business travellers polled from 19 countries, 250 were from Singapore.

The top priority of nearly half (42 per cent) of Singaporean business travellers was their personal safety, although almost a third (31 per cent) felt that their companies prioritised meeting business goals instead.

As a result, the majority (78 per cent) have gone ahead to change travel arrangements when they felt unsafe.

Administrative tasks, both before and after the trip, were another common pain point.


Some 43 per cent of Singaporean business travellers felt stressed planning, booking and organising their trip. A total of 28 per cent of respondents were vexed by having to catch up on e-mail messages and complete expense reports post-trip.

Business travellers from Singapore were also found to be technologically savvy, with 79 per cent preferring to re-book their trip online should their travel arrangements fall through. Only 21 per cent did so on the phone via a travel manager or representative.

Moving forward, an overwhelming 73 per cent suggested that their companies could improve their booking and expense reporting tools, while 71 per cent hoped to see better travel safety tools, such as timely advisories and safety alerts about their destinations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Half of Singapore business travellers forfeit expense claims: Global survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe