Computer Says No

Fans of Little Britain will be familiar with Carol, the inflexible Administrator played by David Walliams who uses her Computer as an efficient tool of inflexible bureaucracy.

I was in Ireland this weekend where a minor political scandal (Salongate) and recent revelations about Employee Expenses at FAS has reopened the debate about the most effective ways of managing the process of Authorising and of course Rejecting employee expense claims.

Our work in implementing Expense Management Software Solutions around the world has inevitably led us to discussions on this subject with all of our clients. While there is no hard and fast rule to cater for differing organisational cultures, my belief is that where at all possible, the system should impose the rules rather than relying on a Manager or Administrator to catch and challenge.

Whilst undoubtedly frustrating on occasions, the “Computer Says No” approach avoids the inevitable pitfalls inherent in a system where a junior Administrator or Colleague has to challenge a friend/colleague/manager regarding line items of expenditure.

Our own Expense Management Software expense@work will allow organisations to impose limits on expenditure at a group or individual level so that £400 Hair Cuts, £2, 500 per night hotel rooms and First Class Air Tickets simply wont get through the system. Challenges can be soft “are you sure” or hard “no!” and reports can be produced to show the big spenders (compared to a company average for example).

It is not for me to question whether it’s a good use of public funds when our Politicians travel the world in comfort to promote State Enterprise, however with the proper systems in place one can ensure that their expenditure is at least in line with policy (however tight or generous that may be).