The crazy world of fraudulent expenses

12 April 2011
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementDespite the new age of austerity in which we’re now all supposed to dwell, UK businesses lost £1.3 billion to dodgy expense claims last year, according to the GlobalExpense Employee Benchmark Report 2011. I would have loved to have been at the party that resulted in a client entertainment claim for £58,000, and am sure that even the cheekiest MP wouldn’t file a £26,000 claim for a holiday to Las Vegas under “sundries” – probably closely followed by a bill for treatment for gambling addiction! However, these appear small potatoes compared with the maximum amount received for expenses over the year by any one employee  – a staggering £333,000. Not so much claiming on expenses for a second house, as putting the entire sale of the property through.   Living off the  fat of the land Although hardly regarded as being part of the most creative of professions, accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has come up with an innovative concept to help reduce the size of its carbon footprint. It’s currently in talks with a London oil refinery over a plan to power its new multi-million-pound offices on biodiesel sourced from the kitchens of the UK capital’s restaurants and hotels. As this would essentially entail running the firm on chip fat, I wonder whether this would result in its employees being known as baked bean counters. But surely any company worth its salt (and vinegar) would see this as an excellent idea.   Having a beef about pork Sticking to the culinary theme, anyone out there in the business of procuring foodstuffs would do well to take note of the recent campaign by British pig farmers, who have been encouraging the purchase of what they call high-welfare meat. Entitled “Pigs are Still Worth it”, the initiative is designed to get people thinking of the history behind the “pork on your fork”, through the unveiling of huge banners along major roads boldly branded with a specially designed red tractor logo. Rumours have been circulating, however, of a rival campaign run by the pigs themselves, which have always been viewed as the most intelligent of farm animals, aimed at further increasing their welfare, entitled: “Get the pork off your forks”.   A fine day  for parking A procurement professional from Stretford in Greater Manchester had a parking ticket slapped on his car despite displaying a visitor’s permit, while visiting his parents with his 10-year-old daughter. The reason given by Trafford Borough Council for issuing the penalty notice was that the permit had been completed in pencil and not ink. I recommend the buyer in question turns his attention to the procurement of a number of ball-point pens before his next visit – and probably red ones, as his parents live round the corner from Manchester United Football Club’s stadium in Old Trafford. Under no circumstances should the buyer be tempted to use the blood of the traffic warden who issued the original ticket.   Taking PC thinking to another level Wholeheartedly embracing the “bring your own” culture, Australian insurer and bank Suncorp is inviting its staff to take their own computers and smartphones to work, rather than purchasing the technology internally. We believe strongly that IT infrastructure shouldn’t constrain employees’ innovation and that they should be able to work with the IT device they feel most comfortable with,” said a spokesperson for the company. Nothing to do with saving money, then. Perhaps the company should prove that the initiative is not just about cost-savings by encouraging its employees to bring all their home comforts into work, from comfy chairs to TVs, video games and crates of beer – Aussie lager of course!   Tweet of the month - If looks could kill... @lovelyjojo Typically, I had several meetings with the lovely Frenchman from procurement today.  He didn’t tell me I looked crap, but I know he  thought so. ------- You can follow me on Twitter too – @sainthomobonus
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