Eliminating opportunities for fraud

Bruce Schneier’s excellent blog drew my attention to an interesting web site that prints copies of expenses receipts “for novelty use only”. Perhaps our members of Parliament might find this useful. But to be honest they were unlucky to be so heavily scrutinised, because in practice expense claim fraud is a much more widespread practice than many managers realise.  

Submitting paper receipts is irritating and far from foolproof. Personally I’ve always believed that life would be much easier if we replaced these paper trails with an agreed allowance. Many organisations pay set allowances to staff for business travel. This is much easier to administer and less open to uncertainty or fraud. A further example of smart design is the UK flat rate scheme for calculating input VAT for small businesses, based on a set percentage for each category of business.

We should design more systems on this basis. Not only do they make our lives easier, they can also reduce the temptation for small-time fraud.

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