Botox, a dog, cigars: Canadian employees’ odd expense claims revealed

Cute? Yes. But your new dog is likely not an appropriate expense claim.
Cute? Yes. But your new dog is likely not an appropriate expense claim. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Having great benefits can be a huge perk of any job, but it seems some Canadians like to push the limits to see what they can get their employer to pay for.

A survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) from 270 Canadian companies reveals a long list of wacky expense claims, far beyond massages and dental work.

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Among the unusual expense claims:

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • A pair of socks
  • Toilet paper
  • Lottery tickets
  • Tennis racket
  • A dog
  • Flowers an employee bought for his wife
  • Speeding tickets
  • Video game console
  • Sweet 16 birthday venue rental
  • Hair supplies.

While the list is amusing, reimbursing inappropriate expenses can take a financial toll on a company if there is a lack of oversight.

More than a third of the CFOs agreed they’ve seen an increase in inappropriate expense reports in the last three years.

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“Companies should ensure that employees are well educated on the reporting process, and receive regular updates on how to use and access the tools available,” David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources, which conducted the survey, said.

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“Simplifying the system as much as possible, and clearly defining expense approval expectations, will help cut down on inconsistencies and questionable requests.”

Employees might also take a hit to their professional reputation if they are called out for their questionable claims, King added.

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