Strippers, Botox and a Hotel Room For GarlicBy Mike Baker
Welcome to Lola.com’s Expensing Hall of Shame
Love them or hate them, business expenses are part of the corporate world. Visiting a customer? You’ll need to submit an expense report for the travel costs. Taking a prospect out to dinner? That’s another expense report. Grabbing supplies and refreshments for a meetup? You guessed it: expense report.
For the most part, these expenses are approved no problem. But every so often, the finance team is forced to question the validity, necessity or accuracy of an expense. That’s when things can get dicey.
New clothes to impress a client? Not sure that’s going to pass muster. A 300-mile Uber because you missed your flight? Not so fast.
At Lola, we thought it would be fun to collect some of the craziest real-life expenses, so we started the ‘Lola.com Expensing Hall of Shame.’
Here’s the inaugural class.
A dangerous dance
If you’ve ever thought about expensing a trip to the strip club to entertain clients, you might want to think again. Last December, a Silicon Valley CEO was fired for trying to get reimbursed for more than $75,000 worth of expenses incurred at a local strip club. Needless to say, the company’s finance department and board were none too pleased with the CEO, Eric Gilmore — he was unceremoniously removed from his post in May..
What’s worse, it wasn’t even an isolated incident. According to Bloomberg, strip clubs represented more than half of the $125,000 in entertainment charges flagged by the CFO.
Gilmore’s replacement, Scott Lang, started his new position with the scandal’s fallout landing squarely in his lap. He’s now had to make it explicit company policy that employees can’t entertain clients at strip clubs (let alone bill them to the company).
Not your typical T&E conversation with finance.
Face of the company
Everyone knows the value of first impressions, but one executive took that desire to the extreme. According to Reader’s Digest, a finance leader revealed the craziest expense that ever crossed her desk: a corporate executive who was moderating an industry panel and wanted to look her best so she had her assistant file an expense report for Botox injections.
“The executive insisted [the Botox injections] should be covered by the company so she could represent us looking her best,” she told the outlet. “Still denied.”
Hold the Garlic
Some expenses are really out there...but also understandable? In 2015, a food supply salesman submitted an expense for not one but two hotel rooms. Why did he need two rooms, his finance team understandably wanted to know.
His reason: “I wanted a separate room for garlic samples,” he told USA Today. “Couldn’t stand the smell.”
Unfortunately his expense reimbursement for $85 was denied, but maybe it was still worth it for the extra night of non-malodorous sleep he got.