Thought the days were gone when a worker could subsidize crazy living with the company Amex? Oh, you naive paragons of corporate virtue. Even in these days of austerity and job insecurity, up to one-fifth of submitted expenses violate company policy, says Robert Neveu, chief executive of Certify, an expense management software firm based in Portland, Me. The violations can range from minor sins like late receipts to the truly mind-blowing—suffice it to say, not one but two live animals (as well as some fake ones) made the list. “Crazy expenses do get submitted more than one might expect,” Neveu says.
Certify shared with Bloomberg Businessweek 10 examples of the more brazen expenses it has collected, based on some 1,000 surveys asking about employees’ outrageous submissions in 2012. Due to confidentiality agreements, the companies were not disclosed, nor were details on which of these expenses were actually paid and which were rejected. (Also no word on who got dunked most in that rented dunk tank.) “They might be crazy,” Neveu says of employee expenses, “but some are legit.” Look, deer urine can be a godsend in the right situation—take a client hunting, win more business. Small price to pay, as long as you’re not the deer.
Goat. Some employees at an energy supply firm apparently decided that, at least in Mexico, a little cabrito was needed. Yum.
Body oil. Someone in retail must have a great body, although it’s unclear if his or her employer wanted to foot the bill for the oil used in a bodybuilding competition.
Deer urine. The urine was an integral prerequisite for an agricultural products company employee’s successful hunting trip with a client. Our question: Who or what got shot?
Baby giraffe. The young giraffe was brought to an office party for a restaurant/hospitality company. We suspect there was plenty of booze there, too.
Live baby octopuses. A Japanese visitor to a pharmaceutical company wanted sushi. What are you gonna do, go to a restaurant or something?
Dunk tank. The dunk tank was rented to boost employee morale at an auto parts supplier. They used it to dunk their boss, which was actually probably pretty good for morale.
Pink flamingo lawn ornaments. The employee of a medical device manufacturer needed four. For the home, it’s tacky, but for the office? That’s so fun! Umbrella drinks for everyone!
Laser tattoo removal. Submitted by an IT industry worker who decided that tattoos did not fit his/her professional image and sought to ”appear more professional to clients.” Sounds reasonable enough, especially if you’re this guy.
$1,300 for Henry IV Cognac. After dinner, the Masters of the Universe in finance like to have drinks. One employee decided to sample one of the world’s most expensive liquors on the company dime. Nothing about this should really be all that surprising.
A trip for a job interview. Yes, someone apparently hated his telecom/ISP gig so much he decided the company should pay the cost for seeking a new employer. Call it the audacity of hope. Good luck, friend. You—and your brazen expenses—will surely be missed.