View Full Version : Expense Account Drinking
I travel a fair amount on my job, and I'll typically eat dinner in the hotel bar. Though my employer has what I would consider a very liberal expense policy, I personally don't feel right when I get to around $20 on the drinks part. But in many hotels that's just about two quality bourbons. My question to those fellow travellers is: Does your company limit what they will pay for alcohol? Or, do you have a personal limit on how much you will spend/expense? I'd be interested in any comments.
Early during my productive, or at least employed, days I worked as a field engineer for a company that did 99% of its business with the government. It's an iron-clad rule that the gummit will not reimburse a contractor for the purchase of alcohol. They called it an "unallowable expense", or something like that. Therefore, the company would not reimburse an employee.
Of course, if I had money left over from my $25/day (IIRC) per diem after paying for three meals in, say, D.C., then I was free to spend the remainder as I chose.
I travel some on business. My take has always been that the company should cover costs to the same standards as if I was at home. This means I expect to stay someplace clean, safe and with comfortable bed (these days typically along lines on Marriot Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inns, or Hampton Inn).
Some nights at home, I will drink 2 quality bourbons. So some nights, I do the same will traveling. Last week while on the road, I had a dinner that was just myself that after 2 drinks (Knob Creek) came to $47. The next night, I grabbed a bite at a Taco place for $6, so it does average out.
If I'm out with customers, then it is a different story.
I have been self-employed for 20 years and my employer has an extremely generous policy about paying for alcohol.
With my company you only need to supply receipts for expenses over $25 so you only need to spend a few of your own dollars per day on drinks since your typically eating $12.65 lunches and $24.39 dinners every day. :)
I don't travel too much, but have in the past and found is long as it was reasonable and wasn't an itemized receipt no questions were typically asked. I also found that the the higher up in the company the more you could get away with, I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone!
One specific occasion I recall was a trip to Colorado Springs for 'programming' (the beginnings of a new project where all the parameters and the initial building design for the project are set). On this trip I happened to be turning 21, not my idea of how I wanted to spend my 21st, but when the project director says you're going you don't say no. Anyway after working our butts off for close to 72 hours straight, we were taken out to a very nice dinner to celebrate. There were of course drinks before and then IIRC about 7 rounds of drinks after dinner followed by a trip to a local club/dive bar where we continued the celebration of my 21st bday and ended up drinking way more than I cared to remember the next afternoon. I don't remember what the total came to but I know it was a lot and the drinks were probably more than the meal, but because he was the one in charge of the huge budget it all got expensed.
I still see this today in the same company, some people are given pretty much free reign and practically live off the expense accounts...
From one that has managed people with expense accounts and also kept one of my own. The object of the company's use of this account was clearly stated, if It will bring sales in, use it...wisely. Of course there will always be people that will attempt to take advantage of it, but that responsibility falls to me as the host. I always stated that my clients were free to order what they wanted, but had to answer with a bottomn line that substantiated that cost. Luckily my boss loved Good Golf, Fine Food and he did love his whiskey.
I miss that man and his business acumen. The term business lunch or dinner always had a purpose.
I'm in the broadcast industry and once a year I travel out to Las Vegas for the NAB convention in April. We normally stay at the Bellagio. About the cheapest drink of whiskey is $12 for the house brand which I don't know what it is.
My company doesn't have a policy and they have never questioned anything I've ever turned in. I may order a decent $15 to $18 cocktail but only one.
I just have guilt feelings about running up a tab higher than that for booze.
If I'm with my boss I'll order drinks all night and let him pick up the tab. He doesn't bat an eye when it comes to that. One night at the Petrosian bar there in the Bellagio there were five of us and in no time we ran up a $250 tab
before going to dinner! Didn't bother him at all.
And there were many drinks during dinner! So bottom line is my company is pretty good about all of that. Oh......we put cigars on the tab also.
I used to work for a company that had very strict rules on expense accounts. Viewing a $7 pay-per view movie in your room was absolutely forbidden. But sitting in the hotel bar and running up a $100 tab was never questioned. Go figure.
Thanks for the input. As some have said, with customers, there's no issue. Heck, the more the merrier, I say. But, there seems to be a personal, if not dictated, limit on drinking alone. It's just a matter of how you deal with it when turning it in (or not in).
i have no clients to schmooz. i just get reimbursed automatically for the per diem rate when i travel, for the larger cities that's about 45$ per day. if i eat and drink like a waif, then i come out ahead. that usually doesn't happen. so i just eat and drink whatever i like and know that i am getting some of the money back.
Alcohol-related expenses are not chargeable to most if not all federally funded grants or projects, e.g. National Science Foundation, NOAA, etc.
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