Expense reports with invoices printed from the internet. We reimburse for internet connections for those that work remotely. Suggestions on how to handle printed receipts?

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Such copies are acceptable from an IRS standpoint, however the problem is from a duplicate payment and fraud-prevention standpoint, since an invoice or receipt of this type could be submitted more than once. The hazards are fictitious expenses, where the receipt is created by the employee, and multiple reimbursements, where the same receipt is submitted more than once. Here are a few thoughts concerning expense reimbursements:

First, it’s very important to have and follow a T&E Expense Policy and communicate that policy throughout the organization. As part of the policy, managers should review and approve expense reports—the front line managers are in the best position to know the what, where and when of an employee’s travel and reasonable expenses. So require the manager of each employee submitting expense reports to review reports for irregularities. Have them (and auditors per below) review electronic and laser-printed receipts carefully, matching dates, locations, etc. to travel itineraries.

If you have an audit department or even an outside audit firm consider engaging them to do periodic expense report audits. If this is publicized through out your organization and even if you only do them infrequently it still sends a signal to all your employees that their expense reports are being reviewed for reasonableness, accuracy, and potential fraud. The perception of these types of audits is often significant enough to help prevent fraud.

You may consider using commercial cards as part of your expense reimbursement management process. These C-cards not only itemize out what was spent where, when, and how, they can also restrict the cardholder on the type of transactions, the spend limit, and how many transactions they can do with any one vendor. TAPN has articles on commercial cards (see Commercial Cards Greatly Simplify Expense Processing).

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