Does your latest expense report include a llama rental? No? That's probably a good thing.
Travel and expense management firm Certify polled 430 business travelers for some of the oddest expenses they or a colleague had tried to push through this year — including not just the llama, but a $28,000 bottle-service tab, a blow-up doll and personalized bobblehead figurines. (See the top 10 list below, with details on which were ultimately approved or denied.)
It's no laughing matter. Experts say there are real risks to workers trying to expense something offbeat or expensive, or pass off personal expenses as something related to work.
"You might think of it as a joke, but it could come back to haunt you in the office," said Dan Schawbel, author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success."
First, don't think you're pulling off a fast one. Companies often have expense guidelines setting out what's a reasonable expense and how much employees can spend — and they pay attention to patterns that might indicate abuse or excessive spending, said John Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
"If you're overspending, the company is probably aware," he said.
It's worth noting that depending on your industry, company and position, "reasonable" doesn't always mean "cheap." A big bill to entertain clients, for example, may be green-lighted as something that will bring in more business, Schawbel said.
"You have to justify why you're spending it," he said.