If you’re a CFO who has been doing a double-take at some of the expense reimbursement requests submitted for your approval, you’re not alone.

Only 11 percent of executives reported a drop in inappropriate requests over the past few years in a survey conducted by Robert Half Management Resources.

Robert Half CFO Survey Expense Requests

While items like new cars, rental homes and flat-screen TVs were among the bigger-ticket items that CFOs cited as inappropriate, others included these more unusual entries:

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

Smaller but nonetheless wacky requests that didn’t escape the CFOs’ attention included these:

  • Toilet paper
  • Doggie day spa
  • Rent
  • 10-cent parking-meter charge
  • Taxidermy

A Robert Half Management Resources blog post has even more examples.

Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, notes that iappropriate expense reports are not just costly to a company’s bottom line. They are also blemishes on the careers of the people who submit them.

Among his recommendations to CFOs: Make the expense reporting process as simple as possible. “Ensure your policies are clearly communicated and accessible to all employees,” he said. “Take a big-picture view of the program. Is it spelled out completely? Are you using the latest tools available? Removing ambiguity can help reduce the number of problematic requests.”

As for workers, Robert Half Management Resources offers three questions they should ask themselves before submitting an expense report:

  1. Is this within the company policy?

Review the organization’s guidelines before completing an expense report, and directed any questions you have to your manager or human resources representative.

  1. Could there be any confusion?

If your boss doesn’t know the baseball tickets you bought were to entertain a client, don’t unnecessarily put yourself in hot water. Clear any request that could be interpreted as a personal expense with your manager beforehand.

  1. Would Grandma approve?

If it’s an item that’s on the border of being inappropriate, don’t try to expense it.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half Management Resources

Robert Half Management Resources provides senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 145 locations worldwide and offers assistance to business leaders and consultants at roberthalfmr.com.

Source: Robert Half Management Resources