Whether you are a manager or a sales professional, the company that employs you may recognize that you sometimes have to spend money to do your job. Allowing you to submit receipts for reimbursement is one way for the business to help you cover those costs. Many companies will give those in certain roles company credit cards.
If you have one of these expense cards, you can directly charge expenses related to your job, like a tankful of gas or supplies for a training session with new hires, to a company account. However, if you misuse the company card, you can find yourself accused of embezzlement.
What are two common reasons that the company might penalize or prosecute you for how you use an expense card?
They can’t write off your charges or face an audit
The internal accounting team may review charges at random to make sure that the company complies with tax law. Attempting to write off expenses that do not qualify could trigger an audit or expensive penalties for the company.
If an internal accounting review or efforts by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determine that your expense charges were inappropriate and not eligible for a write-off, your employer may treat those charges as a violation of company policy and penalize you.
Someone notices flagrant abuses of the company card
Maybe the person who trained you told you quietly that most people in the department write off a date night with their spouse a few times a year by claiming it was a client meal or pay for a tank of gas for their own vehicle every few months. You may have viewed making such discretionary charges as one of the perks of your employment.
However, if the company discovers obviously inappropriate charges maybe using the business account, they may look more closely at all of the charges you have submitted historically. If they find multiple charges that are inappropriate, the value of all of them added together could lead to very serious charges.
You don’t have to steal money or assets from the company to face embezzlement charges. Misusing company resources, such as using a company card for personal expenses, could lead to charges as well. Learning more about what puts you at risk of white-collar criminal charges can help you better respond to criminal allegations or an internal investigation at your place of employment.