One of the big benefits of working for a large employer is having a big expense account. At least if you are part of management or in sales or something nice like that.
Every employer will tell you how tight they are on expenses and their employees will tell you how miserable their employers are with expenses. Is this true and how does it work for small businesses?
A friend of mine was in charge of a pharmaceutical company. At least of the national office of a large worldwide pharmaceutical company. They had a rule that country managers could fly business class.
He had a company conference in Tenerife, which was only accessible by tourist style flights, which only had cheap seats. So he chose to fly via Madrid (with his wife), have a 4 hour layover, all so he could fly business class.
I never forgot the story and it taught me a lesson. Never set silly rules like this but to somehow engender a spirit of treating company money like it was your own.
In one company I worked with we had a lot of company travel. Our projects took us all over the country and later Europe. Everyone stayed in Travel Inns (when they were still cheap) or similar. Some chose to stay in rooms over pubs, but everyone always looked for low cost accommodation.
It saved the company a fortune.
We see the problems arise in the public sector also. I don’t want to talk about David Laws or on his colleagues residing at our expense in some prison, but they are all examples of an attitude problem. They feel they have a right to spend someone else’s money for their own comfort and the sky is the limit.
The problem for the public sector is that everything they do is so visible and the population is justified in questioning this apparant extravagance. The net result is that nobody trusts the whole system anymore.
As a manager or entrepreneur this does mean you have to set an example. If you travel for the company and stay in Marriotts, your team will soon feel they should do the same. After all, we are all taught if you want to be the boss one day, start behaving like one.
What you do privately is your business. What you do in the business is an example to everyone.