October 07, 2007

Expenses Claims

Why does everything have to be so bureaucratic and petty and time-wasting? Case in point: expense claims! Here's how my latest claim went:

I submit the expenses claim to the finance person, same way as I have always submitted my expenses (make photocopies of receipts, fill in details on the form, attach carefully-numbered originals of receipts).

Two days later, it arrives back in my pigeonhole, complete with a little post-it note telling me that it's not been coded and authorised and I didn't fill in a travel authorisation form.

Travel authorisation form? Huh? One quick computer search of my archived emails later, I find that travel authorisation forms were announced to us academics as a bureaucratic hurdle for us to jump over seven months ago. However the expenditure in question occurred eight months ago. I email the finance person, pointing out that I couldn't possibly have filled in a travel authorisation form before travelling, when such forms didn't exist at the time of incurring the expenses. As far as the coding and authorisation goes, I say that I have no idea what to do about this, the previous finance person (now retired) took care of it.

Finance person emails me back, telling me I still need to do the coding and authorisation.

I say again that I don't know about the coding and authorisation, so I will have to be informed.

Finance person tells me that I need to get it authorised by my head of department.

I ask whether the head of department will know the code.


I put the form in my head of department's pigeonhole with a little postit note on it asking for a signature and the finance code.

I get the form back, signed, with another little postit note disclaiming any knowledge of the code, but pointing out that the previous finance person knew it.

I pass the form back to the finance person, with authorisation signature but no code. I explain that I don't know the code, my head of department doesn't know the code, the previous finance person knew the code but is gone now and said finance person is our best source of information for finding out the code.

Finance person finally accepts defeat (and the form), but resorts to much tut tutting that the form was not submitted by the payroll deadline this morning so it'll have to go in next month.

I. Don't. Care.


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