Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Expense Accounts: Are You as Frugal as Normal?

Do you practice being frugal at work? I haven't had an expense account at my current employer yet, but went on about 3 or 4 business trips while at a previous employer. Each time, I used my company credit card (with minimal guidelines) for all expenses. They were later entered into our company software, approved and the card was paid off at the end of the month. Keep in mind, at the time I did not practice a frugal mindset in my personal life.

On one particular winter trip, I was the lone company representative in a very cold part of Canada. Toward the end of the week, I was by myself and felt 'entitled' to enjoy dinner at a nice restaurant for working hard (and by myself in a not very fun environment). An appetizer, combo meal, and 2 glasses of wine later...my self-given 'reward' turned into a $60+ meal. After I returned, I felt pretty bad about it and was ready to pay for the excess if questioned by my manager. When my manager received the notification for approval, he questioned my categorization of the expense as 'dinner', instead of 'entertainment' which we are supposed to use when taking others out to dinner. I sheepishly explained that it was dinner for just me and he merely asked that I spend more cafefully next time and approved it.

I know there is a fine line between seemingly excessive and necessary business expenses, but some like my example are closer to the first. Sure, my management had no issue with me rewarding myself for 'a job well done' and the expense had virtually no effect when considering the overall budget, but I could've made a more fiscally responsible decision in working for our shareholders.

What other ways can employees practice being frugal at work? A few small ones quickly come to mind:
· Turning off your PC and other devices when leaving at night.
· Only using a printer (especially color) when necessary.
· Re-using cups (or bringing your own) for coffee, water etc during the day.

1 comment:

Deva said...

You write very well.