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Battle of the sexes over travel expenses


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What to claim or what not to claim, that is the question.
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LONDON, England -- When it comes to claiming corporate travel expenses there is still a gap between the sexes.

In a recent survey of European business travelers, women were queried more regularly about expense claims than their male colleagues.

Women were also more likely to regularly choose four and five star hotels when they are away on business than men.

The results are part of Visa's EU Business Travel Survey 2004, which included responses from 901 executive travelers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

In total 33 percent of female expense claims are regularly queried, compared with just 25 percent for male claims.

"The questioning of expenses has a direct impact on personal authority; an impact that the male ego might find difficult to weather," psychology professor Cary Cooper told Business Traveller magazine.

"These findings may also be illustrative of women's role within the workplace. It is really only in the last 18 years that women have entered the management arena."

However, it is not all bad news for women -- 76 percent of female travelers now regularly choose four star and five star hotels. Fewer men (69 percent) do the same.

The 2004 survey also shows that each year female executives spend almost as many nights away from home (average 15.1) as men do (average 15.9).

The study also found that finance industry professionals are the most likely to stay in pricey four and five star hotels (79 percent) compared with the average (69 percent) for all business travelers.

People from this industry also take more time filling out the expense claims than their colleagues, taking an average time of 32 minutes a month for creative accounting.

Only 27 percent of room service bills and only 19 percent of minibar claims are reimbursed without query for finance professionals, compared with an average of 39 percent.


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