Here are some major things you definitely can’t expense this season

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It’s holiday business travel time and, these days, AI catches the too-expensive cigar celebrations and hearty lobster dinners (for people who aren’t even on your team!) much better than human eyes. Even so, some people might try to sneak these charges by accounts payable.

Appzen, a leader in AI-powered audits, rounded up a list of the nuttiest business “expenses” they’d caught via AI for the third quarter. There were some howlers in there, as well as some common minor grifts. (So rest assured, even a small Starbucks gift card scheme will be caught)

  • A receipt for gold-plated cufflinks. When called under questioning, the employee said they were a gift for a well-known rapper. (Who knows if the musician ever received them).
  • A night out at the strip club (with the receipt under their DBA name). Strip clubs like Scores and Spearmint Rhino don’t just show up on your credit card as “Scores” and “Spearmint Rhino.” Instead, they usually have DBA (“doing business as”) names so they remain on the down-low from expense report approvers – and protect their clientele. They can’t get past AI, however, who knows that “K-Kel, Inc.” is totally the DBA name of Spearmint Rhino. Surprisingly (or not) this is flagged often.
  • Cute workout gear from Luluemon! Receipts from clothing stores are apparently quite common. In this case, an employee submitted $250 worth of clothing from yoga brand Lululemon. There was no business reason included – a bold move.
  • Starbucks gift cards. In a common routine, employees will add a $20 gift card to the morning coffee on a business trip, which is then reimbursed by their company. Smooth move, guys. A human auditor might not catch this, as it would pass the meal limits set by the company, but AI flagged the word “gift card” every time.
  • A private helicopter ride. Whether it’s AI or an old-fashioned human audit, this business expense takes chutzpah, as “helicopter ride” is impossible to slip past your company – even if you are using it as an alternative to being stuck in traffic.
  • An switcheroo Airbnb scheme. This one took partners. One employee put their home up on Airbnb, listing it for a price so high, so one would pay it. That employee’s associate would stay there when he happened to be in town and submit the listed price for reimbursement. The two compadres would then split the money between the two of them. This sky-high room rental rate was noticed, flagged, and brought to an auditor’s attention.

Here’s to Q4 – where we’ll keep our noses clean, our business receipts all-business, and our shenanigans to a minimum.