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Apparently, Quite a Few People at Ernst & Young Have Been Fired for ‘Flagrant Disregard’ of the Firm’s Expense Policy

On Monday, we had a very serious discussion about business expense abuse. Who’s committing it? Why are they committing it? Can the fun be stopped? The discussion must have made its way to the hallowed hallways of Ernst & Young because yesterday an email went out to all FSO employees (and subsequently forwarded to us) reminding them that such “flagrant disregard for our firm-wide expense policy” would not be tolerated. Because items of “flagrant disregard” are subject to wide interpretation, the team at E&Y sent out some examples of some very recent infractions:

Like many of our clients, we are paying closer attention to expense management – a critically important priority for all of us. However, in recent months, we’ve seen multiple incidents of flagrant disregard for our firm-wide expense policy. In some cases, these offenses have even resulted in job terminations. [This is my emphasis but you just know someone wanted to bold this.] Take the time to review the smart spending tips below and make sure that you understand and adhere to our expense policies. Recent employee expense audits have revealed some serious misappropriations, including:
  • Treating meal allowances as a per diem
  • Purchasing non-meal related items and submitting them as meals (duty free items, gift cards, etc.)
  • Submitting expenses just under $25 to avoid submitting backup in GT&E – and in some cases, making money from the firm
  • Adding attendees to reach per person allowances, while these attendees are submitting other expenses and physically in other locations [My personal favorite]
  • Entertaining clients at establishments not conducive to doing business, such as gentleman’s clubs and other similar venues [Can someone elaborate on “conducive to doing business”?]
  • Adjusting incur dates when submitting GT&E that are different then the dates on the receipts by more than one day
  • Incorrect meal averaging, including breakfast and lunch
  • Personal meals incurred in town that do not meet the requirements of an overtime meal
  • Submitting multiple meal and lodging expenses per month under alternate weekend travel
All of these examples are prohibited. To avoid an audit and demonstrate compliance with our policies, please use your AMEX card for all business-related purchases, even those less than $25
Now, there’s no way for us to know how many people have been dismissed for doubling up on strip club lunches with phantom attendees after stopping at the duty-free shop but “some cases” clearly indicates that more than two have been asked to pack their shit and never come back after pulling a stunt of this magnitude.
And because FSO professionals may need additional reminders to what is kosher and what is not, the email also laid out several allowance guides including event planning and travel which seemed pretty standard but we’ve got a couple of examples to share with you.
Starting with “Telecom Allowances” for each level:
  • Staff/Senior Associates/Associates  – $75
  • Seniors/Supervising Associates – $100
  • Manager/Senior Manager/Assistant and Associate Directors – $150
And meals, by rank, by location:

Please make the necessary adjustments. Or else.