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How a llama and a blowup doll ended up on business expense reports

How a llama and a blowup doll ended up on business expense reports
Llamas along the Inca Trail leading up to Dead Woman's Pass in Peru. An expense report to rent a llama for a photo shoot was one of the craziest expenses for 2016. (Mike Morris)

A llama, a blowup doll and a bagpipe player all appeared on business expense reports in 2016, and you may be surprised to learn which of the three was approved.

Each year, U.S. businesses spend about $310 billion on travel and entertainment expenses, according to the Global Business Travel Assn. Most of those expenses are sensible and boring, like airline tickets to a business meeting in Scranton, Pa., or dinner with a client at TGI Fridays.

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But some expenses are more than a bit strange.

Certify, a cloud-based travel and expense report company, surveyed 430 business travelers to report the craziest business expenses submitted for approval in 2016.

The craziest expense, according to Certify, was $150 submitted by a marketing executive to rent a llama for a photo shoot. The expense was approved.

An IT team leader submitted a $59.95 expense report to buy a blowup doll for a retirement party. That expense was denied.

As for the bagpipe player, the vice president of finance for an unnamed company hired the musician for $250 for a customer picnic, but the expense was denied.

Other expense items cited by Certify include a $30-a-month membership to an online dating service (denied), $5,000 for tires for a chief executive's personal car (denied) and $2,100 in losses at the racetrack, submitted by a company treasurer (denied).

Among the strange expense items that were approved: $6.36 for a bag of wax lips, $250 for personalized bobblehead dolls and $1,100 for a tailgate party that a client was attending.

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.

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