One of my main tasks is making sense of my husband’s expenses and billing the correct clients. When I first took on the role I realised that if he incurred an expense on behalf of a client or employer and subsequently lost the receipt, we paid for the expense! He only claimed for those where he could find the receipt. The CFO of one of his former employers, and a good friend, confirmed this to me!
I confess that in order to perform this task correctly one requires the skills of a forensic accountant. It takes me back to my early years training to be an accountant and incomplete records! However, nowadays, this exercise is spread across numerous currencies, cash and credit cards. I try to ensure he pays for things by credit card so that there’s an audit trail, it’s harder when he pays for things with cash. I have to go back to the sum withdrawn, deduct the sum in hand and try and account for the amounts spent. It’s often a thankless and frustrating task.
I frequently have to quiz him as to how he got from place to place and what and where he ate his meals. As we all know, he’ll never willingly forgo a meal. Mind you, his memory, never good at the best of times, rarely reaches back more than a few days. If he can’t find a receipt, I can often get a duplicate, particularly from hotels or restaurants, but not before I’ve had a thorough search of his belongings. I often find receipts in the oddest of places.
My insistence on a receipt is founded on the principle that if I don’t have a piece of paper to justify the expense, there’s no tax deductability! The French tax authorities are very strict.
Of course, my beloved doesn’t care, because he doesn’t have to sort out the ensuing mess. You’ll notice a recurrent theme here. My beloved doesn’t do something properly and I swoop in and sort it out! He knows this is going to happen, therefore doesn’t care. If I allow him to do his expenses, it’ll cost us money! What’s a girl to do?
I schedule, analyse and invoice his expenses with the relevant supporting documentation on a monthly basis. Depending on how much he’s travelled, this can take anywhere from 1-2 days of solid detective work. I take the company’s expenses to the accountant every quarter but still check them monthly as it’s then easier to chase up missing receipts or obtain duplicates. This is one job I won’t miss when he finally retires.