Expense This

Have you ever been tempted to put through personal expenses as professional ones, and get your company to pay for them?

Many people do this with things like meals, or toiletries bought on business trips. But what about your car or your rent? Now, that would be going over the line.

Yet, when staffing firm Robert Half surveyed chief financial officers, they found that workers had tried to expense all sorts of things over the years.

CFOs cited the most egregious examples, including:

  • New car
  • Rental homes
  • Vacations
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Toilet paper
  • Doggie day spa
  • Loans
  • Rent
  • 10-cent parking-meter charge
  • Medications
  • Taxidermy
  • Dance classes

Robert Half said that some items were truly strange, and defied categorization:

  • “A side of beef – somebody bought half of a cow”
  • “A welder”
  • “Somebody else’s salary”

Around 20% of the CFOs have seen some increase in these types of bizarre expense requests in recent years.

Is this a sign of the times? Is it a sign that workers are getting more unreasonable and demanding? Or is it perhaps that the nature of work has changed, and the line between personal and professional has become somewhat blurred?

We’d argue that it’s probably a combination of things. While some of these items are things that should never be expensed (rent, new car), others are things that might be legitimate, given the tendency of companies these days to ask their workers to drop everything and fly off to see a client.

If you had such an unexpected trip, would it not be legitimate that your dog boarding expense be covered by your company? Maybe yes, maybe no – it’s up to accounting to determine such things. But it wouldn’t be outrageous to ask.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions