In business travel, most expenses are fairly routine matters and handled by the book. Airfare, hotel, rental car, taxi rides and meals. However, what about when an employee expenses, say, a goat? Unquestionably, these animals have been allies to humans for millennia, but it’s hard to envision a goat’s role in the context of, say, an onsite software installation.

The business travel blog Points, Miles and Martinis highlights its 10 craziest business expenses submitted in 2012, culled from a Newsweek report. Dominating the list are animal purchases: the aforementioned goat, a baby giraffe and baby octopi. Other reported expenses could — depending on your industry — fall under entertaining clients: a dunk tank, body oil and $1,300 of cognac. After all, there’s no accounting for taste.

Obviously, your company’s reimbursable expense policy probably does not include goats. However, it may be broader than you think, covering costs such as court fees, membership payments and home office expenses. For businesses today, a clear, enforceable expense policy is an important strategic document.

The main purposes of your expense policy may be to locate potential savings, ensure regulatory compliance and avoid risks, but a good policy — one that clearly is aligned with your organization’s culture and objectives — also can improve employee morale. Consistent rules help employees know what is expected and helps companies avoid the difficult position of enforcing a policy after the expenditure already has taken place.

A good policy balances the needs of employees with those of the organization and, as a result, ends up encouraging the right kinds of behaviors. And if yours happens to encourage expensing pink flamingo lawn ornaments, more power to you. With expense report software from Chrome River, you'll be able to warn users they are out of compliance long before the goat is a twinkle in their eye.

What is the strangest thing you’ve seen reported on an expense list?

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Expense Policy Compliance and Contentment

Expense Policy Compliance and Contentment

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