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Atkins battles expenses backlog

NEWS

CONSULTANT WS Atkins was this week struggling to clear a huge backlog of unpaid staff expense claims after introduction of a new computer based financial system.

NCE understands hundreds of staff across the UK are still waiting for payment for claims submitted before Christmas, when the system was installed, and some were experiencing financial hardship as a result. One member of staff told NCE: 'At the moment I'm out on site and my expenses are high, ' adding that he was owed over £1,000.

Another said that the change of system had also led to a backlog of timesheets waiting to be transferred. This could create problems working out charges for clients.

WS Atkins finance staff said this week that they were working until 9pm every night to shift the backlog and was now processing current claims as normal.

The new system, which replaces more than 80 time consuming paper-based systems, operates from a purposebuilt office in Worcester. It also introduced computerised timesheets for Atkins' 7,500 UK staff.

Atkins finance director Ric Piper said introduction had been 'a challenging and complex task' but would eventually give Atkins a competitive advantage in the future.

He added: 'The team is working exceptionally hard to establish 'business as usual' as soon as possible. Our priority remains to minimise any impact of the change on our customers, suppliers and staff.'

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