How to Minimize Your Company's Meal Expenses and Reimbursements
Keeping corporate expenses in line isn’t just good business; it can make or break a company. According to fraud expert Jim Marasco, in his StoneBridge Business Partners article, "Expense Reimbursement Fraud: Ten Ways to Protect Your Organization," “One of the easiest ways to steal from a company is through expense reimbursements.” Marasco cites Association of Certified Fraud Examiners research proving that about 22 percent of fraudulent corporate claims involved expense reports. By 2011, expense padding remained a problem for both private and public sector firms.
急速PC28彩票Draft strong policy language. The more detail you employ when writing meal and reimbursement policies, the better. Use your employee handbook to articulate your policies and hold meetings to discuss meal and reimburse expense parameters so staff can seek more clarification. Ask an attorney to vet your policies before they go into the handbook and consider including a warning such as “Personnel caught violating company reimbursement policies will be terminated.”
Use corporate credit cards. It’s easier to see whether a line item charged to the room of a sales director at a trade show is that night’s room service dinner bill or an adult movie if a corporate card is used to track incurred business expenses. You may even wish to add to your corporate policy a statement about the use of personal credit cards if you feel strongly about staff using only the card issued by the company. Set expense form deadlines, too.
急速PC28彩票Communicate. It’s easy to mediate frustration by “sticking it” to the corporation, but you can help employees think twice before reaching or surpassing per diem limits. Savvy administrators might inquire of employees teetering on the edge of splurging whether they would have run up repeated tabs if they were spending their own money. You can add that as meal and reimbursement filings mount, the company’s ability to give raises can be affected and you certainly shouldn’t be embellishing in a lagging economy.
急速PC28彩票Contract with large restaurants to bring down meal costs. You probably already use a travel agent to book all of your flights and you may have a corporate account for lodgings, so opening a corporate account with a restaurant chain makes sense. For example, chains such as Wolfgang Puck, Lettuce Entertain You, Red Lobster and others might be willing to handle the entertainment needs of your staff members when they travel and give you a discount for frequenting their establishments.
Keep tabs on IRS expense laws. Staying abreast of new business-expense laws is extremely important. Adjustments for meal expense reimbursements, for example, are regularly recalculated. In 1994, deductions for meals went from 80 percent to 50 percent and while that percentage was modified in the early 2000s, all it takes is one fiscally conservative Congress to change the landscape.
急速PC28彩票Exercise control over internal expense tracking so improprieties or mistakes are caught quickly. Some firms schedule annual audits of employee expense reports just to make certain there are no unusual signs of activity. That stated, it’s possible to become so fixated on meal and incidental expenses that management literally nitpicks expense reports in the name of instituting reforms. Stingy and unreasonable expectations don’t win over hearts, minds and new customers. Meal and other reimbursement expenses remain part of the business culture.
Get creative. Offer incentives to personnel who find ways to cut their meal and other expenses and then hold that staffer up to the rest of the company as a role model. Business types tend to be competitive and such a program can be a fun way to keep a lid on expenses while rewarding those who do take the corporate bottom line to heart.
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