Bob Goldman

I don't like to criticize, but you've really been slacking off lately. And not in a good way either. Yes, you're doing fine slacking off on your work commitments, and you're a master when it comes to slacking off on staying conscious during business hours. But when it comes to submitting totally fake expense reports, your slacking off is not only embarrassing, but it's costing you money.

It's true! If you think that no one can match you when it comes to submitting bogus expense reports, you're as wrong as a $200 dinner tab dinner at McDonalds. Yes, the bogosity bar has been raised, and you just can't cut it anymore simply by adding a couple hundred extra miles traveled for work when your car never left the company parking lot.

If you don't believe me, surely you will believe Vanessa Wong who recently graced Bloomberg Business Week with an inspirational article, titled "The 10 Craziest Things Employees Tried to Expense Last Year."

(I can't imagine why Ms. Wong considers these noble efforts "crazy." The only thing that I would consider crazy is if you didn't put all ten on your next expense report.)

Or maybe you think that you're the only employee out to bilk the boss? You're not even close. According to Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, an expense management software firm, "even in these days of austerity and job insecurity, up to one-fifth of submitted expenses violate company policy."

This is a shocking figure, unless you remember that company policy is to wiggle out of paying every legitimate expense you submit. This makes it totally reasonable to strike back by submitting as many illegitimate expenses as you can dream up.

Your criminal imagination not up to the task? Fear not. Here are a few of the top ten expense account fiddles for 2012:

1. Goat. Employees at an energy supply firm claimed the goat was for a barbecue with goat-loving clients. Being a sensitive individual, it may be difficult for you to get billy onto the spit, but you can solve that problem by imagining the head of HR turning slowly as she roasts over a hot fire.

2. Deer urine. It's not cheap, especially for a decent vintage, but an employee from an agricultural products company needed the magic elixir for a hunting trip with a client. If the accounting department gives you a hard time, offer to bring in the two or three gallons left over.

3. Live baby octopuses. A Japanese client wanted fresh sushi. Your boss won't balk at this level of client service, though it may be difficult to explain why you had to fly to the Great Barrier Reef for a three-week octopus harvest at a luxury resort.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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