Spend It Like It’s Your Own! (November 2007)

Last month, I challenged people to think about not just their actions in the work place, but more importantly, the result of what they (or their employees) were doing! This month continues on a similar theme (accountability) and suggests that everyone should spend company money like it’s their own! I constantly come across situations where employees are spending company money very much unlike it was their own.

While there are some people who treat company funds as if they were their own (you should value these employees), there are also those who don’t give much of a thought to how they spend the company’s money. The general attitude can often be described as “it’s not my money”. This is so common that there is a well recognized term for it in corporate circles. It’s called “OPM” which stands for “Other People’s Money”.

While the extreme example of this attitude is Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco International who spent company money lavishly (remember the $6,000 shower curtain) on himself and those close to him, most companies have small examples of spending that could be better managed.

More common place examples of this are:
• Company meals that are more frequent or more expensive than necessary,
• Travel accommodations that don’t consider reasonable or cost effective alternatives,
• Cell phones or internet plans that could be cheaper if only someone asked,
• Expense requests without reasonable alternatives or multiple bids,
• Company credit cards which go unchecked.

Now many are probably thinking that it’s at this point that I’d suggest a myriad of controls to prevent over-spending. Quite the contrary! Those who know me know that I really don’t like policies and procedures.

Years ago, a company for which I worked issued a new travel policy. It was so complicated, many (myself included) didn’t bother to read or understand it. When my boss asked me to explain it to him, I told him that the word within the company was that it was so hard to understand virtually no one had read it. He said to me, “But you just took a trip, how did you book your tickets?” My reply, “I booked the tickets that I would have booked if I was paying for the trip myself.” He thought for a moment and said, “Thanks, that’s what I’ll do!”

Rather than policies and procedures, I’d like to convince everyone that the best and simplest approach is for employees to act as if they are spending their own money. Because, in effect, they are! Face it, there is only so much money to go around, and money that is wasted in one area isn’t available to grow the business, provide employee raises, or make necessary capital improvements. Obviously, getting employees to understand this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

Do your employees spend company money like it’s their own?

If you need help with your business, financial plans, or goal setting, please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected] And, remember . . .
your cash is flowing. know where.

Last month, I challenged people to think about not just their actions in the work place, but more importantly, the result of what they (or their employees) were doing! This month continues on a similar theme (accountability) and suggests that everyone should spend company money like it’s their own! I constantly come across situations where employees are spending company money very much unlike it was their own.

While there are some people who treat company funds as if they were their own (you should value these employees), there are also those who don’t give much of a thought to how they spend the company’s money. The general attitude can often be described as “it’s not my money”. This is so common that there is a well recognized term for it in corporate circles. It’s called “OPM” which stands for “Other People’s Money”.

While the extreme example of this attitude is Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco International who spent company money lavishly (remember the $6,000 shower curtain) on himself and those close to him, most companies have small examples of spending that could be better managed.

More common place examples of this are:
• Company meals that are more frequent or more expensive than necessary,
• Travel accommodations that don’t consider reasonable or cost effective alternatives,
• Cell phones or internet plans that could be cheaper if only someone asked,
• Expense requests without reasonable alternatives or multiple bids,
• Company credit cards which go unchecked.

Now many are probably thinking that it’s at this point that I’d suggest a myriad of controls to prevent over-spending. Quite the contrary! Those who know me know that I really don’t like policies and procedures.

Years ago, a company for which I worked issued a new travel policy. It was so complicated, many (myself included) didn’t bother to read or understand it. When my boss asked me to explain it to him, I told him that the word within the company was that it was so hard to understand virtually no one had read it. He said to me, “But you just took a trip, how did you book your tickets?” My reply, “I booked the tickets that I would have booked if I was paying for the trip myself.” He thought for a moment and said, “Thanks, that’s what I’ll do!”

Rather than policies and procedures, I’d like to convince everyone that the best and simplest approach is for employees to act as if they are spending their own money. Because, in effect, they are! Face it, there is only so much money to go around, and money that is wasted in one area isn’t available to grow the business, provide employee raises, or make necessary capital improvements. Obviously, getting employees to understand this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

Do your employees spend company money like it’s their own?

If you need help with your business, financial plans, or goal setting, please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected] And, remember . . .
your cash is flowing. know where. Last month, I challenged people to think about not just their actions in the work place, but more importantly, the result of what they (or their employees) were doing! This month continues on a similar theme (accountability) and suggests that everyone should spend company money like it’s their own! I constantly come across situations where employees are spending company money very much unlike it was their own.

While there are some people who treat company funds as if they were their own (you should value these employees), there are also those who don’t give much of a thought to how they spend the company’s money. The general attitude can often be described as “it’s not my money”. This is so common that there is a well recognized term for it in corporate circles. It’s called “OPM” which stands for “Other People’s Money”.

While the extreme example of this attitude is Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco International who spent company money lavishly (remember the $6,000 shower curtain) on himself and those close to him, most companies have small examples of spending that could be better managed.

More common place examples of this are:
• Company meals that are more frequent or more expensive than necessary,
• Travel accommodations that don’t consider reasonable or cost effective alternatives,
• Cell phones or internet plans that could be cheaper if only someone asked,
• Expense requests without reasonable alternatives or multiple bids,
• Company credit cards which go unchecked.

Now many are probably thinking that it’s at this point that I’d suggest a myriad of controls to prevent over-spending. Quite the contrary! Those who know me know that I really don’t like policies and procedures.

Years ago, a company for which I worked issued a new travel policy. It was so complicated, many (myself included) didn’t bother to read or understand it. When my boss asked me to explain it to him, I told him that the word within the company was that it was so hard to understand virtually no one had read it. He said to me, “But you just took a trip, how did you book your tickets?” My reply, “I booked the tickets that I would have booked if I was paying for the trip myself.” He thought for a moment and said, “Thanks, that’s what I’ll do!”

Rather than policies and procedures, I’d like to convince everyone that the best and simplest approach is for employees to act as if they are spending their own money. Because, in effect, they are! Face it, there is only so much money to go around, and money that is wasted in one area isn’t available to grow the business, provide employee raises, or make necessary capital improvements. Obviously, getting employees to understand this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

Do your employees spend company money like it’s their own?

If you need help with your business, financial plans, or goal setting, please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to And, remember . . .
your cash is flowing. know where.

Copyright @ 2007 Homza Consulting, Inc.

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