ExpenseMatters : The Source for Expense Management

Canadian Businesses: Expense Account Dos and Don’ts

By on May 31, 2012 in Expense, General with 1 Comment

Canadian Businesses’ Sarah Barmak, with illustrations by Remi Geoffroi, wrote a humorous but appropriate list of Expense Account Dos and Don’ts. 

The Art Gallery of Calgary this spring filed a lawsuit against former president Valerie Cooper, seeking nearly $500,000 and alleging she’d improperly expensed massages, home repairs and clothing. Around the same time, Bev Oda, the federal minister for international co-operation, apologized for expensing a $16 orange juice, among other indulgences. Some expense claims are clearly misguided, many more fall into a worrisome grey zone. “Expenses aren’t something you want to ask forgiveness for later,” says Andrea Fraser, vice-president of human resources for DAC group. We asked Fraser and Fiorella Callocchia, the specialist lead of human capital consulting at Deloitte, to weigh in on some tricky situations. (Illustrations by Remi Geoffroi)

1. You only want a salad for dinner, but feel like having a couple of drinks. If it costs less than a regular meal, is it OK to expense extra alcohol?

The Experts: Fraser says she gets that request all the time, and has said yes, but it depends on your firm’s culture. “Lots of companies will not approve alcohol at any time,” says Callocchia. “It’s the risks of it. You decide you’re going to have a salad and five glasses of wine. You’re impaired; you slip on the way back to the hotel. Or you’re drunk at a meeting.”

The Bottom Line: Learn your company’s feelings about booze before you order that Pinot Grigio.

2. You only want a salad for dinner, but feel like having a couple of drinks. If it costs less than a regular meal, is it OK to expense extra alcohol?

The Experts: Fraser says she gets that request all the time, and has said yes, but it depends on your firm’s culture. “Lots of companies will not approve alcohol at any time,” says Callocchia. “It’s the risks of it. You decide you’re going to have a salad and five glasses of wine. You’re impaired; you slip on the way back to the hotel. Or you’re drunk at a meeting.”

The Bottom Line: Learn your company’s feelings about booze before you order that Pinot Grigio.

3. You got a parking ticket. Can you expense it?

The Experts: “I have not seen in my 30 years a company that would pay for a ticket,” says Callocchia. At most, a fine might be covered by whatever your company already allotted for mileage, says Fraser.

The Bottom Line: Unless a long meeting made the ticket unavoidable, this is a cost most employees will have to swallow.

4. An airline left your luggage sitting on the tarmac in the rain, and now your clothes are soaked. Can you expense a new suit for a business dinner?

The Experts: “Expense it but be reasonable,” advises Callocchia. “If it was a $100 outfit that got ruined, you can’t go out and buy Chanel.” And if the airline compensates you later, remember to reimburse your company for the expense payment. “You can’t double dip,” she says.

The Bottom Line: If clothing is damaged in the line of duty, the company should replace it. But it’s not an excuse to upgrade your wardrobe.

For full article and graphics, visit: Expense Account Dos and Dont’s

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

There is 1 Brilliant Comment

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Top