This week, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about expense reports. It focused on how people use their expenses and what their use says about their personalities. Admittedly, I’ve never spent that much time thinking about what an expense report says about an employee. But many of the businesses I work with confront the issue of employee expenses. I’ve even got a litigation ongoing now dealing with whether the expenses of one of the owners were appropriate or not. And if interns are even getting non-compete agreements, maybe expense accounts are next? So as your business grows and your employees begin to charge expenses back to the company, it’s an issue you’ll need to confront.

Expense Reporting Profiles

Sue Shellenbarger identified five “profiles” of employees based on their expense reports:

  • The Sidestepper: these folks don’t file for reimbursement even if they are entitled to it. They may be anxious or impatient about the paperwork and they’d rather just eat the money. It may even get to the point where they hide it from their spouses.
  • The Martyr: these folks apparently don’t seek reimbursement as a way to support the company. To them, the company is like a charity and they are supporting its mission.
  • The Payback Artist: they are conscious of fairness and see money as an instrument of power. When they feel undervalued, their expense reports may include every dime they’ve spent.
  • The Rookie: commonly, these are younger or new employees who’ve never had access to an expense account before. When traveling for business, they may share rooms with other employees or book ultra-cheap flights with lots of stops in the mistaken belief that saving money is the ultimate goal.
  • The Grifter: this becomes a tough call when it’s the rainmakers submitting the expense reports. They often push the envelope with their expense requests and can cause some resentment among the other members of your team.

No matter how you set up your business, chances are you will run into one (or more) of these personality profiles with your employees when it’s time to submit their expense reports.

Next Steps

If you’re hiring employees and need some help with the documents for them to review and sign, give me a call and we can sit down to discuss the process and some next steps to get your company’s documents in order – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.