What the Muffin Saga Means for Those Who Don't Automate Expense Management
Recent controversy about a hotel allegedly charging a government conference $16 per muffin ended with the allegations proving to be inaccurate. Both the horror that the government overpaid for a solo treat and the fact that someone wasn't keeping an eye on excessive expenditures created a credibility issue for all parties involved, which should have companies taking note.
The error was listed on the books as $16 for an individual muffin when the charge actually included a complete continental breakfast with muffins. It’s the small stuff that can get blown out of proportion and make news headlines when systems aren't in place to readily audit expenditures. It can happen to any organization, large or small, and the consequences are far more damaging than overpaying the muffin man.
What's at stake is the trust factor. If the price of a muffin can't be monitored, shareholders and other stakeholders are likely to wonder what else is in the mix.
Now that this issue has been resolved, one burning question remains: Why did it take weeks to disclose the details? Sure, there's protocol regarding access to information, but an automated e-Procurement system, with e-documents for agreements, purchase orders and other relevant forms, would have immediately shown the newsworthy muffins made for a half-baked story at best.
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