Leaders, how do you decide what goes on your expense account? We’ve all heard and read about high ranking officials that use their company expense account for personal trips, luxury items, gifts for family and friends. Just like sin, it starts small then grows. It happens again and in increased frequency and amount.
I was hired by a major corporation to review all their agencies in the Northern part of our Province. It would be a great contract. I’d travel, meet and interview staff, review records, assess results and make recommendations to increase or decrease funding, reorganize or terminate a contract. It was a great opportunity. While waiting for a meeting to start, I used the time to review the complicated Expense form. While reading, a Senior Consultant advised me that the first rule of expense accounts was to put my conscience on hold and charge everything. As you can imagine this didn’t sit well with me. I was new with this corporation and he was respected and would be advising me on a variety of issues. What made this most frightening was, I later discovered he was a former Pastor. Obviously a Pastor who hadn’t spent much time reviewing Christ’s admonition (1 Corinthians 10:31) to “do all to the glory of God”.
So what do you do? It may be a part of your job to take others to lunch. Your Job Description may require and allow you to golf with the local business association as a way to make contacts and build relationships. You may be allowed to purchase books for your own study and learning. But how do you decide when enough is enough.
I take the concept of leadership transparency seriously. No secrets! I asked my son, the Pastor responsible for the Next Gen Team, at one of our larger churches, how he decided what to claim on his expense account. He is always on the go, meeting youth at the mall, the local restaurant, the corn maze or on the golf course. I was thrilled with his response. He said when he completes his expense account he imagines that the form would be pinned on the bulletin board in the foyer of his 3000 person church. Then, anyone and everyone is encouraged to read and question anything on his form. I love the idea.
Leadership is being honest and transparent in all your activities. Would you be comfortable if all your staff and associates could review your Expense Account on the bulletin Board?
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy