Sixteen years ago, I took my first business trip to Europe. After two weeks of customer visits I returned home and proceeded to do my expense report. Back then, I had to itemize my expenses using a spreadsheet and then submit all the original receipts, along with the spreadsheet, to our office administrator. She would then mail them to our headquarters located 2,000 miles away. Typically, within two weeks I would receive a check in the mail reimbursing me for business expenses.
On this particular occasion, our headquarters claimed they did not receive my expense report. Was it lost in the mail? I know I gave it to the administrator and she claims she sent it to our headquarters. My company quickly resolved the matter by sending me a check; however, the missing expense report was a mystery for quite some time.
A year later, I received a large check in the mail for business expenses. After looking at my records, I realized the amount of the check was the same amount I had received the previous year from my trip to Europe. The new office administrator found the lost expense report that had fallen behind a desk, so she submitted the expense report through the normal process. The accounting department at headquarters processed the expense request, unaware they had already paid for these expenses the previous year.