Finance manager sacked for misusing employer's funds

Published 28 November 2023 | 2 min read

Credit card shenanigans and miscommunication

In a turn of events, Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) recently bid farewell to its finance manager, who was faced with being struck off as their accountant. The reason? Misusing the organisation's funds for his personal gain.

Where did it go wrong?

The journey from a trusted contract accountant in October 2021 to a full-time finance manager in April 2022 took a turn in April 2023. A disciplinary process exposed a string of misconducts, including using a corporate credit card for personal purchases, splurging $4,581 on personal fuel using the corporate fuel card, and even a personal Air New Zealand Koru Club Membership worth $949.

The plot thickened as SLSNZ reported the employee's conduct to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) under the Institute of Chartered Accountants. However, during the investigation and the subsequent Tribunal hearing, the employee attempted to downplay their actions, claiming a colleague had given them the credit card and citing miscommunication with their manager.

Tribunal decision

The Tribunal saw through this smokescreen, labeling the employee's defense as nothing more than an attempt to mitigate their conduct. The evidence presented showcased repeated dishonesty for personal gain, leaving the Tribunal with no choice but to find him guilty of misconduct.

Despite the employee's plea for a mere suspension and promises of remorse, the Tribunal deemed removal from the accountant register as the most fitting consequence. In addition, the employee was slapped with a bill of $7,744.25 to cover the costs and expenses incurred during the investigation and Tribunal hearing.

Integrity and financial responsibility

While it's tempting to cut corners or take liberties, the fallout can be severe, damaging both personal and professional reputations. As Kiwi leaders, we must prioritise transparency, accountability, and adherence to ethical standards. Emphasising these values within our organisations not only safeguards our financial resources but also upholds the trust our stakeholders place in us.

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