Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Law Firm Expensing: Playing the Game

Expensing is an art. just like michaelangelo chiseled a naked dude from rock, japanese ppl turned slutty carton characters into high priced commodities, and slinging together words that kind of rhyme monotonolsy to fantastic basslines and samples of random 60s-90s tracks rakes in billions, so shall the corproate monkey lawyer extract every cents worth of value from the pieces of shit he flings around all day. expensing aint just a tool for restitution, but it's a chance for you to really get value for your time; i.e., if you're working late or on the weekend, this is one way to make yourself feel better about it. the way you take advantage of it though depends on your individual firm or office policy. here are a few obvious or not so obvious principles i follow to maximize the shit out of this shit:
  1. Monetization. the major underlying principle for all things expense-related is, how do i turn a reimbursment, which ultimately is kind of downsidde cuz its a deferrd p[ayment, into an upside for me? generally spaking im talking about a) not a lot of money, b) not out of my pocket for that long, so the deferall doesnt affect me at all. but when it comes to the reimbursement, there are lots of ways to benefit. like using ur credit card, which gives u presumably some points or something. almost never use cash unless it's not an option - because then the only tangible benefit is the value of the good ur getting for 'free'. lets say u have a comp that u wdnt use urself but maybe u can use it to...donate. tax benefit. or maybe there's some other type of formal or informal rewards/partnership system u can pump into with ur comp. or maybe u can comp two cab rides or car rides or a meal and you just didnt get ot odo it or the client gave you a meal or you mooched off someone lese or something...theres gotta be someone else in ur city that u know that has a receipt u can have. now thats free fucking money. it depends on ur city, what's available to u, etc., but that's just general principle square numero uno primo.
     
  2. Always use. Whenever you have a comp you can use, use it.  that's just basics. If you are working OT or on the weekend, even if you have leftovers you are going to eat, end up walking places or someone is cooking for you or something, if you don't use your comp, you are basically throwing away ur money. it may not be much, but i think ever bit counts. So, even if you don't need food, buy something for tomorrow, buy something for next week, go get groceries, buy a bottle of win, a six pack, buy a food gift for your gf/bf or mom or neighbor, buy a lot of juice, buy snacks for the office, buy snacks for home, buy ridicluousy expeisnve hot dogs and churros at the ballpark, got o costoco and get a gallon of cream cheese, order something online, buy something that sounds edible, buy food and give it to a homeless guy, find a place u can buy food and donate it to charity directly. whatever.  If you didn't take a taxi or car to the office, but took one somewhere else for something else - save that receipt instead.  it's all about capturing your value. so on one level there's monetaization, creatinga tangible benefit for urself regardless by gettings ome sort of rewards points on ur credit card, at some shop/store/restaurant/hotel/partener program, tax beenefit, relationship cred or whatever, and then on another level there's like ur actual sustenacne. like if u ate already but always wanted to try that tiny $25 jar of gold flake-lined truffle oil-poached david hasselhoff-licked caviar garnish sold at ur neighborhod snootymart, its time to put that comp to work. no one wd ever ask you, if u even have to give ur iteimzd receipt, whether u really ate what u ate for whatever meal. and if they did, so the fuck what, just say u did. ur a snooty monkey bitch, u can do what u want!

  3. Maximize like maximus. Whenever you have a comp you can use, max it out. If your comp is $30, don't buy McDonald's (or don't buy just a little bit of McDonald's if thas what u want, or buy it AND get something else u will really comp). Again, what you don't use is just wasted. If it's more than you can eat, share it or save it. One time i heard a story of someone comping a SHITload of really cheap food and the expense approver person denied it because "there was no way one person could eat so much". WTF! well there are two things you can do if you worried about this: (1) if you keep a consistent practice of ordering a lot, you can build a history of eating a lot to back up your argument, and (2) get in good with the expense approver person - this has loads of benefits. or u can just stand firm and say u got fucking incredibly stoned cuz u ve been working so hard and ate all the dam n food so fuck off. that works 65% of the time id say.

  4. Timing is everything. Rationalize everything else.  If your comp technically kicks in after a certain time on weekdays, and you have just ten minutes before that time, stick around! work on ur blog til u leave. watch movie trailers. take  a walk.do something else first. A banker friend told me his comp doesn't start til 9:30PM, so everyday after work he goes to the gym and by the time he's done he's ready to expense. most times tho, it shldnt even  matter if ur past the time or not as long as uve billd more than x hours per day. u can rationalize it either way if u need to. e.g., if u have to bill 8 hours on a weekday, lets say u like to eat at 6pm, and go home at 7. but u end up working at home til 10. can u comp taht shit? of course. and if anyone bugs u about it, u can tell them u were working til whatever time, u just were at home working late and u wd have had to take the same meal and car at a later time anwyay except u had to do X at some point, or work better at home or really had to feed ur fish or something. as long as u can make a good arguemnt in ur head u shld feel confident to do whatever u want. all of our expenses 99% of the itme r passed on to clients anwyay so no one cares as long as its under teh budget and theres some semblance of accountability and comfort u can give. Or, lets say you are working on the weekend and have 2 hours of billable work on each day, but your comp doesn't kick in until you get to 4 on one day...who's to say you didn't do both of those things on one day. nobody but ur lameass self. A variant is what if u have an easy day and r out of the office by 4 and have billed 6 hrs, but then at 9 something comes up and u work past11, so u have over 8 hours billed which may be barely enough for ur comp...but i think th fact u worked late is fair enough. i'd rationalize that during those hrs, u forgoed wat time u wd have had to make ur own meal, or get X so had to do with Y blah blah, or that u wd have had X anyway or something. most people won't look at the receipts anyway.
  5. As your subsidy.  a lot of times ill end up with a comp but then already have plans to eat with someone, or several people. sharing is caring dawg. pay for that shit  maybe ull get something else out of it or just score some borwnie points. if its under ur comp, amazing great. if its over, by some uve subsidied. i'd raher pay $5 for a great meal than lose 5 on a bunch of cheap take out. ive heard some place make u itimzie ur receipts or show how many people u ate with. heres wat u do, u submit it and just tell them u ate everything except the extra drink the other person had, because they alread y ate and were just joining u. OR u get the waiter to mark u down as one person. OR, you order take out and eat at home or something cuz then it wont show up. OR sometimes places will still do handwritten receipts. askt hem to let u write it up. going to a big birthday dinner? pay with ur credit card, get hella points, pick up cash for everyone else and comp ur own portion. u dont even have to eat ur own comp, u cd have jack shit and pick up someone else's tab (good idea if ur lookin for an extra receipt too...)
  6. Traveling. i had a post about this previously i think. basically expensing while traveling is a bit of a gold mine in terms of value to urself and tangible value u can pull down. bc a lot of times u dont have written or unwritten limits, no one knows where u r, when, what ur actaully doing, etc. u cd be in some  undergroun d bar sniffing coke out of a donkeys buttcrack getting  ahandjob from a midget prostitute, and comp the gourmet meal u eat directly afterwards.
  7. In addition to standard reimbursements for meals and transportation for ot, there are lots of other creative reimbursements that may apply too. 
    • Summers. we were all there. and it happens every year. belts have tightened a bit since the crash, but the golden goose still has some egss to lay i think. depends on ur office but almost everyone knows the game. lunch at all the places ud never eat on ur own. dinners, drinks, events at the playboy mansion. tangential stuff too shld always be treid to tie in summers...having drinks with some buddies? all up a sumemr to drop by to 'fit' the bill.
    • Bus Dev. it's like the year round summer. courting the business ull never stay around long enough to give a monkeys schlong about. some partners do this for a living but trust me they know (but sometims dont tell u) its actually much better for them and the firm if the relationships start out at the stage where its not obvious theyr playing the role of the obsequieus pussy licker they r now. so theyll encourage it. assuming u can find a banker that has time to spare.
       
    • Office Events. trying to build some team spirit? start a sports team? weekly happy hours? pro bono cause? plunder ur office coffers if its in the name of the firm they ought to pay for it. ur helping their image not urs. ur just reaping the benfit off of their dime and thier time.

    • Others. there are others. use ur own monkey brain!


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