Protecting the public purse part 2

 You couldn’t make it up…..

Just when you think systems can’t get any sillier, an organisation ups the ante….

Dear John

We work in a paperless office here so finding a stapler, or sellotape, to attach receipts to an expenses form is problematic so it’s a task that I do at home.

This month I had three small taxi fares and a professional subscription to claim.  Note – we are only allowed to claim one of our professional subscriptions even though the company expects us to gain and promote our membership.  Taxi journeys always come under extreme scrutiny as the assumption is that we can use bus or train so carefully worded explanations are required.

So the process is:

  • Fill in the form electronically.
  • Print a copy and take it home.
  • Attach receipts.
  • Bring it back.
  • Put it in the signature book for line manager to sign.
  • The team organiser passes the signed copy to finance.
  • On the same day as it reaches the finance dept I have to send them the electronic version.
  • If they don’t arrive together they are likely to be rejected.


This improves the company’s cashflow for four weeks.

I could do similar calculations to your academic version but have already lost the will to live.

It has occurred to me that people create these systems to put people off claiming.  That’s where the money is – an effective reduction in salary.



What I wonder on reading this is how much it tells us about the culture, values, organisation, efficiency and effectiveness of this employer? Just imagine for a moment what it might be like to be their supplier, or their customer?