Saturday, November 21, 2009

Follow the bouncing budget

To anyone who thinks that the current healthcare debate is actually about treatment and not about policies and processes and redtape and bureaucracy, I offer the following example from corporate America.

First off, I want to put this caveat out there -- I love the company I work for. By all evidence, it truly does care about its employees and the greater good. The CEO legitimately cares about the mission of the corporation - to spread learning and education around the world - and, while being a shrewd business woman is also a philanthropist -- and a truly decent human being -- at heart. But, still...

When the recession hit, we were informed of a "Non-Overnight Delivery" policy for any shipping. Anything we wanted to ship overnight had to be authorized at the VP or above level. If you know anything about me and my job, you realize that this has a HUGE impact on my life. Welcome to marketing lackey 101.

I have a vendor in England who kicks butt. Unfortunately, due to some mitigating circumstances, they have outstanding invoices over A YEAR old. Obviously I want to get them paid.

Of course, CBL has been travelling. So, I filled out the forms electronically, emailed them, CC'd CBL and asked for permission. I was told by the AP department - in no uncertain terms - that that was not good enough. So, to expedite the process, I walked the envelope down to the Post Office, overnighted the form, had CBL sign it and then overnight it back. I signed and then I walked again back down to the PO (all this to avoid filling out the Overnight Shipping Approval Form) and sent off the form to Accounts Payable.

So, to pay an invoice for 1200 GBP (Sterling) I just spent about $50 in shipping. Because electronic approval is not good enough. Because we're in a recession and need to closely monitor our expenditure.