Expense Audit
November 19, 2018

The Most “Creative” Expense Report Stories of 2018

Josh Anish

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and all their related madness, are nearly upon us. What better time to reflect on a tremendous year for acts of expense report… creativity?

The first trend emerges from an epicenter shared with Black Friday: the mall. In February, we flagged an employee who bought a pair of $1300 cufflinks and claimed in an expense report they were purchased for a very famous rapper. No sign if the artist ever received the cufflinks. The expense report was approved by a manager.

“Expensing” gifts for celebrities like this happens quite often. A married A-List couple was the recipient $238 in shoes again, from a local mall according to the expense report of a Hollywood employee. There is no record of the couple ever co-starring together (i.e. needing the shoes for a shoot), or for that matter ever receiving the footwear.

There was also the employee who decided to expense herself a farewell party for more than $900. Anecdotal evidence shows she then had the temerity to ask attendees to put their drinks on their own cards. The receipt for the party was merely (and literally) an animated headshot of her, without any details or numbers. This expense report was also approved by a manager.

Then there’s old faithful: one company had so many employees expensing stuff at Starbucks for exactly $20 (and thereby transferring wealth from the company to their Rewards cards, minus the cost of a cup of coffee) that it was losing $2800 a week from this micro-scam alone.

As AppZen’s platform extends into invoice auditing we’re also seeing crossover dubious behavior. One gentleman at a large internet company attempted to expense an invoice from an outside vendor. He literally took an invoice and, instead of passing it along to the company’s AP team to pay it, he expensed it in the apparent hopes that he could keep the money and his employer would simply pay the vendor after it sent a second invoice.

A final example happened at a minor league baseball park in Michigan. An employee expensed two six packs for $68, and seemed to leave a $20 tip; this is of course a bit generous but nothing to raise hackles over. The only thing is that, several days later, on his expense report the employee apparently added a “1” before the tip, bringing the total from $88 to $188. In other words, he misrepresented the amount left to the server and attempted to pocket the difference. What happens in a private cabana suite at a Single- A baseball game stays in the private cabana suite, until AppZen arrives on the scene.

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