Expense Reports

8 Aug

Ah, the most basic tenant of working life–the dreaded expense report. Now that I finally have more than five minutes of free time (which is already getting boring…) I can catch up on all the little odds and ends that have slipped through the cracks the past few weeks. O joy.

After my business trip a few weeks ago, I had taken a cab from the airport to avoid spending three hours trying to get back to Brooklyn–a 20 minute trip by cab would’ve involved a shuttle bus to a bus stop, a bus ride to the subway, 2 subway transfers and a 10 block walk. Don’t ever ask me to do anything but bemoan the public transportation system in this country, I swear.

I think I’ve taken a cab maybe 3 times in my life, basically because I am cheap. But I was tired and starving, so I hopped in and watched the world crawl by in rush hour traffic as the ticker shot up at a disproportionate speed. I figured I’d be able to write it off as a travel expense, which I can. That is, unless I go completely insane first.

Filling out an expense report is perhaps the most confusing and unnecessarily complicated thing I have ever had to do in my life. The sheer number of codes and 5-digit passwords for one single expense is ridiculous! In the past hour, I’ve emailed the finance person a whopping 6 times to ask questions about a $50 charge! And after I fill out these countless forms, explaining the purpose of my expense (I’ve written “Cab from airport” ten times so far…), it has to get signed by 5 people, and then processed for a month before I see that check. Phew!

What I am learning though, aside from confirming I was never destined to do anything in my life that involved numbers, was that you can write off A LOT of stuff.  Next time I go on a business trip, I’m going to make long distance calls, stay in hotels, rent a car, and eat out at every meal. On second thought, if that means these expenses are even more confusing than they are right now, I’ll drive myself, sleep in my car, and eat trail mix from Costco!

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