Robert Half Management Resources Survey
Robert Half Management Resources Survey: CFOs Reveal Most Unusual Items Submitted on Employee Expense Reports
Costs for a family vacation, wedding anniversary dinner and pet food are items you'd expect to see on personal credit card statements. Unfortunately, they've also appeared on employee expense reports, according to a new Robert Half Management Resources survey. Chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed were asked to name the most unusual things they've seen employees include in expense reports, and the results are bound to raise the eyebrows of any financial executive. Here are a few of the most questionable items:
"A trailer rental for a family reunion"
"$12,000 for a family trip"
"A speeding ticket"
"A fine for crashing into a toll booth"
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,600 U.S. and Canadian CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies with 20 or more employees.
Gadget, leisure and hobby expenses also made the list:
"A person lost his personal cell phone somewhere in the office, so he submitted the cost of a new one"
"Hotel charge for viewing adult movies"
"Day at the spa"
"A golf trip for the employee and his three friends"
"Video game console"
"While these examples may seem incredible and in some cases humorous, they highlight a serious matter which can negatively impact a company's bottom line," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "Employees who are unsure if an item can be expensed should not include it on a report and hope it gets approved. Companies can help the process by writing clear policies, making them easy to find and keeping workers informed of any changes."
Personal expenditures were commonly cited by executives as questionable. Some examples:
"Replacement cost for a suit the employee lost on his own"
"Pair of socks"
"Hot tub supplies"
"Expensive lunch for the employee, without clients"
Expenses covering the cost of celebrations – not related to the office – garnered surprise:
"Flowers the employee bought for his wife"
"Expenses for his son's birthday party"
"Wedding anniversary dinner"
Anyone submitting an expense report should double and triple check their expenses to avoid this situation, which could definitely land the employee in hot water:
"The most unusual thing I saw was a submission for something that had already been expensed and reimbursed."