If you are concerned with enforcement and escalation for all areas and your company is trying to drive accountability, this indicates support at the executive management level, which is critical. Unless business unit managers and those below are held accountable, policies are meaningless. Here are a few key points:
- Typically enforcement & escalation are incorporated in a company's policies & procedures
- Employees should be required to sign a form stating that they have received, read and understand the policies manual
- Policies must have teeth – for example – in the case of T&E, if receipts are not forthcoming, reimbursements are not made, or if on a company-liability card, reimbursements can be included in the paycheck, with tax withholding (also see IRS guidelines on accountable and non-accountable plans, and its definition of "a reasonable period of time" in IRS Publication 463).
- In the case of vendor payments, if policies are not followed, vendors are not paid on time (helpful here is to measure and report payments on time by business unit or manager -- it is then clear that the problem is not in accounts payable but with certain units. This only works if you have some units that actually follow procedures and their payables are paid on time.)
- You must have executive management support to back you up in enforcing policies. Check your accounting system. Some electronic workflow systems have escalation built into them; somehow when it's automatic, it's easier for you and accepted by your business partners.
You may want to plan a communication campaign where you notify employees what the policies are, what the consequences of non-compliance are, and when enforcement will begin. Consider an initial grace period, and also include in the communication the importance and benefit to the company of compliance (e.g. vendor invoices paid late mean missed discounts, poor vendor relations, and bad credit & reputation, whereas invoices processed in accordance with policy may mean discounts, which mean dollars to the bottom line, etc.).