A side of beef, summer camp fees, a dog sweater, a parking ticket, jewelry, guitar strings and bubble bath. Those are some of the odd expense requests that have raised the eyebrows of managers and chief financial officers (CFOs), according to a recent survey reported in a SHRM HR News article by Kathy Gurchiek. While some of the requests may prompt chuckles, improper expense report requests are a serious problem for many businesses because they drain company funds.

Organizations with 100-259 employees and those with 500-999 employees saw the most significant increase in such requests—5 percent—over the past three years, according to the survey that was created by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm. Findings were based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

According to the Robert Half report, employees are not paying attention to company guidelines and managers are not communicating guidelines effectively to staff—particularly to new hires. At large companies with thousands of employees, going through each of expense report affects productivity and ultimately impacts the bottom line, as accounting staff must reconcile inappropriately expensed items.

The onus is really upon the employee to be a good corporate citizen. Before submitting an expense, employees should ask themselves:

  • Is this within the company policy?
  • Could there be any confusion about this expense?
  • Would Grandma approve?

Read the complete article for more detail.

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