Insolvency firm spends oodles on 'doodles

Generally speaking, if you find a £2k puppy on your company credit card bill, there's something a bit funny going on.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 25 Jan 2012

Now you might think, given the state of the economy, that the insolvency biz is not short of lucrative work at the moment. But not lucrative enough, judging by reports of recent events at insolvency practice Bridge Business Recovery. According to the Telegraph, the company’s senior partner is ‘helping police with their enquiries’ over allegations of fraud – supposedly, a cool £2.5m of company and client money has gone AWOL, while administrators have uncovered a series of dodgy expenditures on a company credit card – including £2,500 on jewellery at Tiffany’s – and £2,000 on a labradoodle puppy….

Naturally, MT’s first thought is that the individual concerned should have shopped around more (that’s oodles for a ‘doodle). But either way, that’s quite a hefty expenses sheet. The fraud allegations (which the company’s spokesperson confirmed to MT, although she wouldn’t go into any detail) emerged after Bridge was put into administration on Friday. Apparently the company recorded a profit of £2m on revenues of £4m last year – but according to KPMG joint administrator Colin Haig, who’s quoted in the Telegraph, ‘unfortunately the administration was triggered by unforeseen circumstances’. Puppies?
                                                 
There’s a certain irony in an insolvency practice going into administration (had it not been for the labradoodal element, it might have otherwise seemed like a good sign for the economy). But it does highlight the importance of transparency in the expenses process; of businesses needing to have processes in place to ensure even the most senior people are held accountable for their expenses. After all, as research by Global Expense showed back in May, when it comes to expense (or company credit card) fraud, managers are actually 30% more likely to break company expenses policy than their employees – perhaps not surprising, given that almost a quarter of senior managers are getting £5,000 a year in expenses.

Still, it’s all relative: on the MP Scale of Expense Fraud, a labradoodle is a little worse than a duck island, but not nearly as bad as a moat.  

- Image credit: Flickr/byr105063

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