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The fact that HMRC insists upon the six-year retention of paper receipts is a disincentive to organisations to adopt a wholesale electronic strategy for expense claims, despite the financial and productivity benefits. The technology is proven and organisations are keen - so what is the government waiting for?

From streamlined procurement to self-service human resource systems, the majority of organisations are using online technologies. Yet one area remains as inefficient as ever. Manual, paper-based processes for collecting and collating expense information form a significant overhea, especially in service industries. The business cost of such outdated processes is significant.

I estimate the cost of producing an expense claim is between £65 and £70, considering time, materials and paper-storage costs.

While increasing amounts of information, from reports to blueprints, are now scanned and held online, just how much storage space and administrative overhead is currently being wasted with paper-based expense claims and receipts?

Michael Sheehan, managing director, systems@work

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