The recent charges brought against a senior executive at Lloyds TSB Banking Group make for interesting reading.
Jessica Harper, a former head of digital banking fraud and security at the group, is alleged to have abused her position for over three years to submit false invoices totalling almost £2.5 million. This demonstrates that even organisations with the most robust policies and procedures and the most secure systems are vulnerable to “an inside job”.
Many organisations place their trust in senior managers; after all it is necessary for authority to converge with budgetary control and sign off for payments. However, as the Lloyds’ case seems to demonstrate, this can be a serious single point of failure.
But what are organisations to do? If unquestioned trust of senior executives is a culturally embedded attitude, it is not easy to change. There is an enormous risk that senior managers could interpret expense claims checks as distrust, damaging loyalty and performance.
The answer is to focus on governance. In its most basic form corporate governance is about how well the organisation is run. Ensuring good governance is a board level responsibility and extends into all areas of the business, including finance matters and expenses. Under good governance there is fair and equal treatment for all, where no one is a special case and no one is above scrutiny.
Robust expense management is a strategic element in ensuring good corporate governance. Expense On Demand wraps in compliance and auditing while closing fraud loopholes. The solution protects loyalty and performance by enabling expense claims checks at executive level to be characterised as improved corporate governance rather than a lack of trust.