Bill fails his screen test thanks to online expenses software

Bill came into the office with a face as long as a wet Sunday and announced to colleague Ollie: “I have to go to the electrical store right away.”

Ollie raised his eyebrows: “Now? But we’re in the middle of writing an important tender document. Can’t your shopping errand wait?”

“Not according to our manager,” said Bill. “And I’m not going shopping. Quite the reverse, in fact. I have to return something.”

“Even less urgent, then,” protested Ollie. “We have to finish the tender today, or we stand no chance of winning the business. What have you got to return?”

“A 70-inch plasma TV. I bought it for the office.”

Ollie furrowed his brow. His mouth moved, but no sound came out. Eventually he said: “What on earth did you buy one of those for? We have no need of a 70-inch plasma TV. There’s barely enough room for the two of us in here.”

Bill claimed he had been thinking outside the box, and went on to list a string of what he saw as advantages for having the big screen. He wound up with: “And I was told to try to see the bigger picture. Apparently, the TV wasn’t what was meant, as I found out when I put it on my expenses claim. The boss said the excuse was as lame as a one-legged man with a stone in his shoe.”

“It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment, if I’m honest. What I am,” said Ollie. You don’t see that kind of craziness on my expense claims, because using online expenses software means anything like that is going to get picked up. And kicked back. The bigger picture is about understanding what’s realistic and appropriate in running a business and allowing expenses accordingly. It focuses the mind and eliminates the opportunity for the wrong kind of spending, which can go on, and be unnoticed. And I’d say that buying a 70-inch TV was entirely unrealistic and inappropriate – an opinion underlined by you having to go on your ‘unshopping’ errand this very morning.”

“No need to rub it in,” said Bill. “Is there any chance you could help me carry this box downstairs?”