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Expense policies, like the organizations who develop them,
are wildly unique and evolve to reflect shifts in the culture
of spend. Emburse asked for the craziest expenses that
submitters and finance professionals encountered
throughout the year. They did not disappoint.


See where 2021’s best of the worst landed on our scale
between eye rollers and mind blowers.

Speedo

$13.25

Gag gift for a departing coworker to
ensure they went out in style

Long-distance call

$0.14

Short call to check in on a client
…a very short one

White carpets

$11,297

Dress up a tradeshow booth and threw out
the same day when they got too dirty

What the hay?!

$1,250

Due to its (alleged) separation anxiety,
a GM hired care of his horse through PetSitter.com while he was away on business

How does your organization
currently manage expense reporting?

48

48

25

25

16

16

11

11

Dedicated solution

Manual process

ERP

Homegrown solution

Facelift

$10,000

Categorized as “repair and maintenance” by the company’s owner

Nail

$0.53

An office construction project was missing a nail to be completed…just one

Tattoo removal

$1,000

De-inked an incoming employee’s skin art (we didn’t dare ask where or what) before they started

A wheel deal

$25,000

With the promise of a company car,
a new hire visited a dealership and charged a new ride to his corporate card

Has your organization revised its
T&E policy in response to Covid-19?

50

50

45

45

5

5

NO

YES

I DON’T KNOW

Carpet cleaner

$100

A tray of baked beans headed for a work function spilled in an employee’s car

Grass seed

$85

Repair lawn damage caused by a visiting coworker attending a private dinner party

1960’s railroad carriage

$45,000

Purchased to showcase at an event with the intent to sell afterward

Fill ’er up!

$0.31

In error, an employee topped off their gas tank with a personal card, then submitted the expense report through the mail

What percent of your week was spent in the office over the last three months?

45

45

55

55

In-office

Work-from-home

Too good to be untrue

Participants were also asked to share some of the most legendary expense submissions they may have heard about.
Would you have approved these?

Steam away
the stress

During his onboarding for a new position, a man expensed $5,000 in spa treatments for his spouse because she needed the extra support and rest

Worse than a fly in your soup

After seeing a cockroach climb out of her purse at home, an employee expensed $500 for pest control services to spray her house

1000 watts of
bass…and shame

Over two years and piece by piece, an employee expensed $75,000 of home theater system components; he was fired but not asked to repay

Put it on my corpse-rate card

In preparation for an upcoming study, a bioresearch facility employee expensed $15,000 to purchase human cadaver

Survey participant demographics

Emburse collected data for its Craziest Expenses
survey in the fourth quarter of 2021

Organization size

57

57

25

25

18

18

101-999
Employees

<100
Employees

1000+
Employees

Role in expense processing

30

30

29

29

27

27

14

14

Accountant

Combination
of all

Approver

Submitter

Existence of a written T&E policy

95

95

5

5

YES

NO