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Archipelago

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« on: February 09, 2019, 12:09:52 PM »
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« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 07:11:41 PM by Archipelago »

lhamo

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 12:43:51 PM »
I would not leap to conclusions about whether or not this is ethical -- perhaps there is a backstory that neither manager has the time/energy to explain to you right now.  For example, there may have been an understanding when the contract was negotiated that a certain level of overbilling was authorized. Or there may be an agreement that your company bills at this level, but the other company will only pay up to the terms of the contract -- this creates an on-paper loss that may be useful to your company in other ways. 

Keep an eye on it, though.  If you notice a repeated pattern of questionable behaviors that are not explained it would be something to be concerned about.

Archipelago

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 12:54:41 PM »
I would not leap to conclusions about whether or not this is ethical -- perhaps there is a backstory that neither manager has the time/energy to explain to you right now.  For example, there may have been an understanding when the contract was negotiated that a certain level of overbilling was authorized. Or there may be an agreement that your company bills at this level, but the other company will only pay up to the terms of the contract -- this creates an on-paper loss that may be useful to your company in other ways. 

Keep an eye on it, though.  If you notice a repeated pattern of questionable behaviors that are not explained it would be something to be concerned about.

Thank you for taking the time to write this. I'm definitely trying not to jump to conclusions. I will try to get the full story on Monday!

cchrissyy

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 04:51:42 PM »
Quote
I don't think it's right to charge the customer extra without their knowledge, and which was never agreed upon.
The customer receives invoices, processing on their end and sending payments. Right? I don't think you can fairly say anything is happening "without their knowledge".

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 05:15:46 PM »
If it were me, Iíd say this to Manager B: on its face, this looks a bit odd and being new, Iíd hate to have this blow back on me. Would it be possible to have you and Manager C sign off on it?

Thatís really the most you can do besides quitting if you feel there is a pattern of unethical behavior you canít tolerate. Youíve put them on notice. Keep email copies printed out at home to back yourself in case anything goes awry. Remember: shit flows downhill.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2019, 06:56:18 PM »
If it was me (I am not an analyst or otherwise held a roll where I was checking accountability in any way)...

I would write back per email (so I have written down proof and file it offline) asking for a basic explanation of why this is set up the way it is, as to you it is confusing and could be interpreted as your company taking advantage of their client's lack of oversight on their account. You welcome the manager(s) setting you straight, so you can explain things yourself if this subject/specifics ever come up again. It could be a verbal agreement that X amount of work (approved by C at the client company) is billed out additionally, or they get billed that extra amount annually if they exceed Y hours of billable time... and no one ever updated the accounts on your end to reflect this addendum because it's just gone on forever.  But it should be explained and then added to the internal record you mentioned you should do in option 3 - not just "we're billing them extra" but WHY they are billing them extra.

You know how best to phrase things to your immediate boss, so put it in friendly language and just explain that you're worried because your first reaction was something looks shady here, and you know it couldn't possibly be that... and you need it explained completely so you can add the explanation to the notes section of the account so no one in future auditing will miss that this is completely okay and approved by client company.

You'll either get the brush-off (shady business practices confirmed), or they'll explain that this is above board because of reasons, and either way, you're okay yourself.

So basically play dumb and ask for them to help you understand, and if there isn't a satisfactory explanation, then move forward based on your own moral compass and how much that plays a factor in your job satisfaction at that time.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 06:01:27 AM by Frankies Girl »

marty998

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 07:20:06 PM »
Quote
I don't think it's right to charge the customer extra without their knowledge, and which was never agreed upon.
The customer receives invoices, processing on their end and sending payments. Right? I don't think you can fairly say anything is happening "without their knowledge".

I can see this happening "without their knowledge", especially in a large organisation. After the first couple of invoices, accounts payable might not check back with the product or business team to review invoices in-depth back to contracts, especially if the invoices are within budget.

@Archipelago, I quite often have to contact customers to let them know we have incorrectly billed them, we always do this with a credit to the next invoice (plus interest if applicable), and we always notify our risk management / compliance officer of the problem and actions taken to address it.

Always, always, always cover your arse, especially if you work in a politically sensitive industry (like mine) where documents can be discoverable in investigations - google "Banking Royal Commission Australia" if you don't believe me.

« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 07:22:32 PM by marty998 »

Beach_Stache

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 05:10:00 AM »
Why did you give option C in the first place if you didn't think it was morally right?

soccerluvof4

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 11:13:15 AM »
If it was me (I am not an analyst or otherwise held a roll where I was checking accountability in any way)...

I would write back per email (so I have written down proof and file it offline) asking for a basic explanation of why this is set up the way it is, as to you it is confusing and could be interpreted as your company taking advantage of their client's lack of oversight on their account. You welcome the manager(s) setting you straight, so you can explain things yourself if this subject/specifics ever come up again. It could be a verbal agreement that X amount of work (approved by C at the client company) is billed out additionally, or they get billed that extra amount annually if they exceed Y hours of billable time... and no one ever updated the accounts on your end to reflect this addendum because it's just gone on forever.  But it should be explained and then added to the internal record you mentioned you should do in option 3 - not just "we're billing them extra" but WHY they are billing them extra.

You know how best to phrase things to your immediate boss, so put it in friendly language and just explain that you're worried because your first reaction was something looks shady here, and you know it couldn't possibly be that... and you need it explained completely so you can add the explanation to the notes section of the account so no one in future auditing will miss that this is completely okay and approved by client company.

You'll either get the brush-off (shady business practices confirmed), or they'll explain that this is above board because of reasons, and either way, you're okay yourself.

So basically play dumb and ask for them to help you understand, and if there isn't a satisfactory explanation, then move forward based on your own moral compass and how much that plays a factor in your job satisfaction at that time.



I'm with Frankies Girls on this one. Cover your a*s best you can via emails and keep them for your records along with any/all replies.

FIFoFum

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2019, 11:23:43 AM »
You've been there a month. You don't know jack squat about how they arrange things  to know if it's ethical or not.

You look like you're trying to damage your relationships with these managers before you even learn how the company handles things.

Going to Manager C? WTF? You've already connected with your own manager. You already have Manager B willing to talk to you and explain things - even though they don't technically "owe" you an explanation in your position. And, now, instead of waiting for that explanation, you want to go above everyone's heads to Manager C??? On what could very well be a standard billing/accounting practice at this company?

Let's face it - you didn't discover the smoking gun about car gas tanks exploding and it being covered up.

Sorry for the facepunch, but I think you need to look at why you are trying to sabotage your own employment at this company you just started working for, with people and work you seem to like. I'd examine how you're adjusting to the new job and your relationships with your manager to make sure you're taking the time to learn the company culture and build strong relationships that will help you out, whether you do or do not discover problems in your reviews in the future.

Archipelago

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Re: Moral quandary at work
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2019, 09:13:18 AM »
Update:

I followed @Frankies Girl advice closely. At the end of the day, I had a casual/lighthearted discussion with Manager B and it was productive. I think my initial reaction was a bit of an overreaction but it's good to think about these situations that come up. That way when something more serious comes up I will have some experience.

Thank you all for the advice.