FORTUNE -- Ah, the corporate expense account. It's one of those traditions, part necessity and part perk, that has hung on through the worst of the recession -- and even serves as an informal gauge of economic recovery: As the U.S. economy keeps climbing out of the doldrums, Certify, a provider of electronic expense-account systems, reports that employee expenses overall rose about 3% in 2013, or slightly ahead of the official inflation rate for the year.
"At the same time, though, companies are still trying to keep expenses under control," notes Robert Neveu, Certify's CEO. "They're urging employees to limit airline travel and use teleconferencing instead wherever possible, and look for bargains like the lowest car rental rate."
That didn't discourage some road warriors from asking to be reimbursed for expenses you might call, umm, creative. Certify asked about 60,000 accounting staffers at big companies what were some of the weirdest expenses people claimed this year. Here's a partial list of the answers they received, and from whence they came:
Clearly, lots of people are going above and beyond for their clients. Moreover, says Neveu, "Not all of these expenses are as outrageous as they seem. For instance, the guy who expensed the $91,237 fishing trip may have been trying to sell a $2 million boat."
Even so, Neveu is the first to point out that the Internal Revenue Service demands a "business reason" for each expense. "You can always submit an expense," he notes. "But that doesn't mean it will be approved."
That's usually no big deal but, every now and then, the consequences of overspending are severe. Last year, for example, Certify's survey turned up a financial services manager who treated himself on the company dime to a bottle of Henri VI cognac that cost about $1,300. "Take that, recession!" he was heard toasting -- right before he was fired.
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