Expense Report Double-Takes - Robert Half Management Resources Survey: CFOs Reveal Most Unusual Items Submitted on Employee Expense Reports

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - 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:

-   "Cosmetic surgery"
    -   "Lottery tickets"
    -   "Pet food"
    -   "A trailer rental for a family reunion"
    -   "$12,000 for a family trip"
    -   "A speeding ticket"
    -   "A teepee"
    -   "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"
    -   "Movie tickets"
    -   "Hotel charge for viewing adult movies"
    -   "Day at the spa"
    -   "A golf trip for the employee and his three friends"
    -   "Video game console"

"Although these examples seem unusual and humorous, this issue can be quite serious and affect the organisation's bottom line," said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. "Employees who are unsure whether or not to expense an item should take the initiative to ask before including it in the report. Companies can also assist employees with this by frequently clarifying policies, making sure they are easy to locate, and communicating any changes to avoid misunderstandings."

Personal expenditures were commonly cited by executives as questionable. Some examples:

-   "Grocery receipts"
    -   "Cigarettes"
    -   "Replacement cost for a suit the employee lost on his own"
    -   "Pair of socks"
    -   "Toilet paper"
    -   "Hot tub supplies"
    -   "Golf clubs"
    -   "Expensive lunch for the employee, without clients"

Expenses covering the cost of celebrations - not related to the office - also 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."

About Robert Half Management Resources

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.

For further information: TO SPEAK WITH A LOCAL EXPERT, CONTACT: Robert Half Management Resources, Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com