Expense Account and ethics

You would have heard of the IBM sales rep joke who padded his expense account when the boss disallowed for the Hat purchase he had to make. In real life we often tend to go to upscale restaurants, open expensive wine bottles (often multiple) and splurge when given the freedom and access to corporate Amex expense account. However often we don’t realize the long term ramifications.

If you want to screw up your opponents chances of promotion, dig into their expense account and raise objections backed by facts and signatures. No matter how good their achievements are or how much politically connected they are, they can never recover from the embarrassment.

Company expense account is like a blank cheque. If your job responsibilities involve traveling and client interaction, then one can ideally charge almost anything under this account. I have known a few of my friends in sales and marketing who practically live off the expense account.

Almost everyone pays for hotels stay, fancy restaurants, taxis and designer gifts from the expense account. However the problem comes when:
1. We over spend because we are not paying
2. We inflate the bills and expenses
3. Sometimes people even create fake bills. I have known so many people who can get fictitious bills for fuel or medicines from the nearby shop.

What we fail to realize is that just because the expense was approved, does not mean that your misdemeanor went un-noticed. Everyone knows how much a taxi ride from the airport to the hotel costs. So just because one has the receipt, does not mean no one will be suspicious.

Whats worse is that these days data is being stored for eternity and can be retrieved in a jiffy. Back stabbing and office politics has gone so competitive that if someone wants to check the honesty and integrity of an employee, the expense account is the place where they start. Few of the British MP recently woke up to this embarrassing surprise recently.

Just because its allowed, does not mean it is permitted. Spend the corporate money like the way you would spend yours and things will be OK.

Advertisements