Scottish Government expenses and invoicing systems: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. What finance system do you use?

2. What system do you use to manage and process your staff’s expenses?

3. What is the expense process?

4. How many expense claims were made in FY22/23? And what was total value of expense claimed in FY22/223?

5. Can you submit expenses remotely?

6. How are you claiming VAT on mileage? Do your staff have to deduct commute from mileage?

7. What percentage of expense claims are you auditing?

8. Which department is responsible for managing the expense process?

9. Do you have full autonomy for managing your organisation’s expense policy and process? If not, which organisation oversees this?

10. How many FTEs (full time employees) do you have processing expense claims?

11. What is the average time to reimburse your staff’s expenses?

12. How are you reporting on expense spend, PSA expense types and scope 3 emissions reporting?

1. What system do you use for managing/processing invoices?

2. What is your current invoice process for handling supplier invoices, from receipt to when it is posted in the ERP/finance system and ready for payment?

3. How many invoices were processed in FY22/23?

4. How many FTEs (full time employees) do you have in your accounts payable team who process invoices?

5. What percentage of invoices were paid late in FY22/23?

6. Do you use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to scan invoices?

7. Do you have to manually validate the scanned invoices from the OCR capture?

8. Do you currently have a PO system or a non-PO system? If you use both types – what is the percentage of PO invoices vs. non-PO invoices?

9. Are you claiming VAT on invoices? If so, are you doing this in-house?

10. How are you currently reporting on invoice spend?

Note – If data is not available for FY22/23, please provide data for the last complete financial year on record


1. Oracle Version 12.1.3 - SEAS R12

2. iExpenses

3. The claimant keys the claim into the system, which is automatically sent to the countersigner for approval. The claimant also sends the countersigner their receipts. If approved by the countersigner, it is sent for onward transmission to accounts payable. Records are kept by the budget centre liaison officer. Some claims are randomly selected for checking by the travel and subsistence team – once checked and approved, the claim will be passed for payment.

4. The total number of expense claims paid through iExpenses was 19,137. The total value of expenses paid through iExpenses was £1,447,888.57. 

5. Staff require to have an Scottish Government device and access to SCOTS in order to submit expenses so claims can be submitted remotely if using these secure routes.

6. VAT on mileage: The Scottish Government, in line with other section 41 VAT registered bodies, is not eligible for recovering VAT on expenses.

Commute from mileage: If the journey starts or ends at home, the number of miles which can be claimed is the lesser of the actual miles travelled or the notional distance between the permanent workplace and the place visited.

7. 5%

8. Employee Relations, Reward and Expenses; Directorate for People

9. Yes we have full autonomy, but are subject to audit checks by Internal Audit, Audit Scotland and HMRC.

10. 3

11. After approval by the countersigner, 4 days.

12. Expense spend: travel and subsistence spend via iExpenses is incorporated in the operating costs within the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts.

Scope 3 emissions: Scope 3 emissions are published annually in our Public Bodies Climate Change report which is published on Sustainable Scotland Network website Reports (

PSA Expense types: for those individuals who have received an advance of salary for house purchase which they repaying if the outstanding balance is in excess of £10,000 then this is reported via a P11D each year. With regards to all the other payments which are made to or for individuals who have either moved within Scotland or those working overseas this would be done by the PSA Settlement agreement we have with HMRC. All the payments are broken down and our Relocation Contractor totals all the payments made in the year, then at the end of the tax year this amount payable to HMRC is calculated and payment issued as per their timelines which are issued each year.

1. Oracle 12.1.3

2. Invoices are receipted on our Procurement system (pecos). Once the receipt is interfaced into Oracle, the invoice is matched using the PO number. 3 way matching takes place and the invoice is validated for payment.

3. The core Scottish Government processed 129,648 invoices in FY22/23

4. There are 4 FTEs in central Accounts Payable Invoice processing team.

5. 0.6%. The core Scottish Government made 99.4% of all payments within the terms of its contractual 30 day payment policy.

6. Yes – use of OCR in respect to 5 specific supplier invoices at present.

7. On occasions where the output of the OCR results in any mandatory information not meeting predefined and agreed rules with the Accounts Payable team – the invoice is validated manually.

8. The Scottish Government uses a PO system for invoices.

9. The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) VAT section provides guidance on the application of VAT to relevant public bodies. The VAT ACT 1994 section 41 states that the “Crown Body for Scotland” is the Scottish Administration (the Scottish Government is one of the bodies within the Scottish Administration). As a “Government Department” (GD), the Scottish Administration is entitled to reclaim (or deduct from the output tax they are due to pay), the input tax they incur on purchases for their business activities. GDs can also reclaim the input tax on those non-business activities specified in HM Treasury’s Contracting-Out Directions. VAT processes are managed by a specialist team within Scottish Government Finance Directorate.

10. Invoice spend is incorporated into the Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts. We report payment performance as a percentage paid on time, and not as value of invoices. Reports are run in Discoverer software.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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