city illustrationIn a survey of the top five expensed restaurants, cities, airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies among its list of clients, cloud-based expense management software provider Certify LLC has shown a level of predictability in how employees use their employer’s expense accounts on travel and entertainment costs. Among restaurants, Starbucks collected almost 8,000 more expense reports than did McDonalds, attributed not only to its food and drink options but its atmosphere and Wi-Fi access. Chicago topped the expense report list for U.S. cities probably due to its geographic location and travel-hub states.

Topping the travel listings were airline Delta, hotel chain Hilton, and rental car agency National. The highest two-month average for total expense reports, recorded for the period between February and March, was $943 while the lowest occurred during the August to September period at $864. According to Certify, “The late summer spending dip is consistent with Certify data from years past, as this is a popular time for employee vacations.”

The results have even been interpreted as a sign of economic recovery along with the return of annual company holiday parties and increased travel and entertainment expenses.

“Employee spending on travel and entertainment rose just over 1 percent in the past year. Increases in travel budgets means companies are more willing to go out and spend more money on potential customers,” Robert Nevue, CEO of Certify, said.

However, not all sources are convinced of this conclusion. John Lyday, vice president of human resources at outsourcing company Bunzl, said, “[Nevue’s belief is] a supposition. We always try to be frugal.”

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