Each day, there are individuals that get into trouble by unethically using expense accounts. Expense accounts are set up, to assist an employer, CPO or employee with seen and unseen business expenses. They are to be used to help an individual avoid a hardship, of using their own money for the benefit of their job or business.
Corporate executives sometimes set these up to benefit themselves in the operation of their corporation or organization that they work for. This is not a good thing. Expense accounts need to have a set of strict rules that are often checked by an outside auditor. Any discrepancies are then handed over to the board of directors or trustees of the corporation.
However, many times there are no audits or established rules for individuals to follow. They simply have to use their own judgment in deciding what is and isn’t an expense. So here are a few rules to follow. These rules will help you from getting into trouble, losing your job or worst going to jail.
Expense Account Rules
1. Always be truthful. If you are questioned about a certain expense, explain your reasoning or understanding of how you used the account. Being untruthful will lead you deeper into trouble.
2. Spend the corporation’s money as if it was your own. Most people are very frugal with their own money. Be the same with the corporation’s money.
3. Keep receipts, copies of purchase orders and invoices. Treat them like cash itself.
4. Use cost cutting and cost saving strategies. Do whatever you can to save and help your corporation. Always make a notation, whenever you do this.
5. Do not charge items that do not relate to company business. Even very small inexpensive items should be avoided.
6. Know what limitations you have. Stay within those guidelines and you will be okay.
7. Don’t fudge on expenses. If something is $10, don’t make it $12.
8. Turn in expenses on timely manner. Don’t let expenses add up. Tardiness can add to your problems as well.
9. It is not your money. It is to assist you with office or corporation expenses. That means it is their money, not yours.
Another area to consider is mileage and travel expenses. Get your travel expenses approved in advance. Don’t wait until to return to turn them in. For mileage, use a mileage form. Know what you are allowed per mile traveled using your own vehicle. If possible, use another individual to check mileage before and when you return from your trip
If you follow these rules of ethics, you will avoid getting yourself into trouble. It will also establish your strong ethical morals for yourself as a person.