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Please help me to word 'chasing' emails in my new job (finance admin)

(24 Posts)
MrsBosh Wed 22-May-19 14:15:43

I've just returned to a new PT role after mat leave. I'm working in a small, informal organisation (about 30 employees, many PT) in the finance department. I've not worked in an office for about four years and my confidence is pretty low following PND and a GAD diagnosis, which isn't helping me 'cope' with this.

Part of the role is collating receipts for managers' credit card expenses. Each single transaction needs to be supported with a receipt for our audit trail.

When I started I was given a pile of receipts for the previous month but was missing a few. I sent an email to each individual along the lines of:

Hi X,
I'm inputting the credit card transactions for this month. Please do you have receipts for the following transactions?
[...]

But only one person has actually responded with the info! It's not a new process for them so they know they need to provide receipts. I'm at a stage where I'm still awaiting receipts for January 2019! I've sent a follow up email which is very apologetic but I don't know how else to write it.

Hi X,
Sorry to both you with this again but I am still seeking receipts for these credit card transactions:
[...]

I find interactions like this difficult as I feel terrible for annoying/bothering people and implying they have done something wrong! I'm also going home worrying about it as my colleague keeps asking if I have the missing ones.

Can anyone help me with my wording to:
a) sound less meek and apologetic and more friendly but competent;
b) encourage people to come up with the goods (bearing in mind the organisation is generally very friendly and informal so Ccing managers wouldn't be the done thing!)

Unhelpfully, the worst offenders with the most outstanding are my own manager (who is very nice but seems a bit unorganised and very, very busy) and the big boss.

I should also point out that I am having to use email for the most part as I am very PT (one day) so not in the office at the same time as several staff members. I haven't even met some of them! I also like to have the paper trail for me and them to refer to.

Thanks so much smile

iklboo Wed 22-May-19 14:18:50

' Further delay in providing receipts may result in expenses not being paid as scheduled' usually puts a rocket up their arse. grin

Intothe Wed 22-May-19 14:20:05

Dear X

This is a final reminder that in order to be reimbursed for the following transactions on your card, I need receipts by COP tomorrow (Thursday). If you cannot provide me with the receipts for these transactions, unfortunately, per company policy, you will not be reimbursed this month.

List transactions

Yours

SlinkyDinkyDoo Wed 22-May-19 14:20:22

You need to give a deadline when you first contact them. If they don't get back to you by then email the next day or so later reminding them that receipts were due in.

In the meantime just start setting deadlines for reminder emails. Why shouldn't you?

You're not 'bothering', you're doing your job. No emotion, be concise and factual.

Good luck! Some people are so tardy they need to be spoonfed.

foreverhanging Wed 22-May-19 14:20:35

Dear x

I have emailed twice previously but I am still missing some information. Please respond ASAP as this is now urgent.

Or dear x

Please respond to my previous emails ASAP to avoid non payment for missing receipts


No sorry, just statements. Mark email as high priority. Second suggested email makes them search for the previous emails...

foreverhanging Wed 22-May-19 14:20:40

Dear x

I have emailed twice previously but I am still missing some information. Please respond ASAP as this is now urgent.

Or dear x

Please respond to my previous emails ASAP to avoid non payment for missing receipts


No sorry, just statements. Mark email as high priority. Second suggested email makes them search for the previous emails...

jazzandh Wed 22-May-19 14:21:30

What happens if you aren't supplied with receipts? Will they not be re-imbursed?

I would state the consequences as defined by the company for failure to be compliant.

You aren't making the rules up, you are implementing them.

PolarBearBubbles Wed 22-May-19 14:21:33

Definitely don't apologise for emailing them. You're doing your job and them not replying is the inconvenience, not you trying to get expenses sorted.

Word the emails more directly and make it clear that if they don't respond with the receipts, they won't get the money.

foreverhanging Wed 22-May-19 14:21:41

Sorry op, bloody MN app! @mnhq do you know why the app is saying it's not posted when it is?! Seen it on other threads too.

pinkcardi Wed 22-May-19 14:22:04

It's a difficult balance, to be assertive yet not too strong.

I would go with some consequences:

Hi X,

I'm afraid that further to my previous email dated X I'm still awaiting receipts for the following credit card transactions...

It is a company requirement to have these receipts and so if we do not have receipts we have to reconsider company credit card use.

Do let me know if I can be of any assistance or if you have any questions about the process.

Kind regards...

pinkcardi Wed 22-May-19 14:30:31

It's a difficult balance, to be assertive yet not too strong.

I would go with some consequences:

Hi X,

I'm afraid that further to my previous email dated X I'm still awaiting receipts for the following credit card transactions...

It is a company requirement to have these receipts and so if we do not have receipts we have to reconsider company credit card use.

Do let me know if I can be of any assistance or if you have any questions about the process.

Kind regards...

ArnoldBee Wed 22-May-19 14:32:42

Put action and or response required in the subject with the subject and by xxx date.

Comefromaway Wed 22-May-19 14:37:12

Its really hard woth company credit cards becasue the company pays the bill regardless BUT as you know, you need receipts both to account for VAT and to audit they are genuine business expenses.

Depending on your level of seniority you may need to speak to your bosses about potential consequences. This may range from the employee being taxed on expenses for which they cannot provide a receipt or the company card being taken off them.

I think though to start with your emals need to be much more businesslike and to the point.

Email 1:
"I am missing the following receipts for purchases on your company credit card. Please can you forward these to me by XXXX

Email 2: A reminder that I am still missing x, Y Z receipts. I need to receive these by tomorrow for auditing purposes.

Email 3 Despite myprevious emails I have still not receiveed.....If I do not receive these by the close of business this will be passed onto XXXX and the consequences may be YYYYYY

MrsBosh Wed 22-May-19 14:39:30

Thank you for your ideas.

I will definitely lose the 'sorry' as I can see that is unhelpful to how I'm coming across. I like the idea of mentioning a deadline too and trying to keep the emotion out.

Unfortunately, they are not expenses to be reimbursed to the individual (funnily enough people always are quick to provide me with those grin) but things bought for the organisation with their company credit card e.g. our ops manager bought loads of lightbulbs for the building last month and another person bought a gift voucher online for someone's leaving do - for organisation to pay for. I think you're right that this makes it tougher as it's not their money!

I'm not sure what would happen if a receipt wasn't provided so I will ask my colleague.

I think in many case, receipts may have been mislaid or someone doesn't want to trawl back through their emails (or thinks 'I'll do that later!') to find a payment confirmation for an order, however I just wish people would actually respond to me, instead of ignoring the emails hmm.

MrsBosh Wed 22-May-19 14:45:49

Sorry - spent ages typing a reply to then find a load more responses. Thank you! Can I come and work with you all?

ArnoldBee, 'response required by' in subject line is a great idea, cheers.

pinkcardi, you've nailed how I want to come across - assertive but not too strong, so right.

Comefromaway Wed 22-May-19 14:50:09

Hmmm - that seems a very inefficient way of using company credit cards. In our company all of those things would be purchased via finance department Company credit cards are only used for things where managers are out and about on site that can only be done in person.

Zarara Wed 22-May-19 15:02:35

Could you perhaps give them a call
to confirm if they’ve received your email “ Hi, just calling to confirm if you have received my last two emails regarding... as I still haven’t received a response.., that usually shames people in to taking action

horizontalis Wed 22-May-19 15:10:09

Oh dear - in the past this has been the bane of my life too grin

After trying twice, just post them into Sundry Expenses gross (inc the VAT as you can't recover it) as a zero-rated transaction, and keep copies of the statements and emails etc. Put the narrative 'receipt missing'.

At the end of the financial year the accountants are going to ask what they are for, and you can give them all the paperwork you have. They will then have to bring it up with the boss who will have to go through the whole lot.

They do learn, in the end wink

Iamgoingtobehonestwithyou Wed 22-May-19 15:13:11

I would advise putting in the subject line "Chase #2". I am yet to have to use "Chase #3".

MrsBosh Wed 22-May-19 15:13:28

Thanks, Zarara, it can be tricky to catch people as I only work one day a week and the staff are generally out and about quite a bit. I can certainly try phoning around if I know people are in though! I have spoken to people in passing about it a few times ('I sent you an email about a transaction in January I don't have a receipt for yet...') and just get interrupted and brushed off with 'oh yes, I'll have a look for that later' and then never hear from them again. Sigh.

cornflakegirl Wed 22-May-19 15:15:09

I would have a call with your line manager and explain the problem (including that they are one of the worst offenders). Discuss if there is a materiality limit below which you should just code to sundry if you haven't had a response within eg 3 months. Sometimes processes are set up in a way that doesn't actually add value to the business - eg requiring highly paid and busy people to account for trivial amounts of money.

MrsBosh Wed 22-May-19 15:19:02

horizontalis, grin

Yep, I am coding them under 'sundry' or guessing the nominal codes. Excellent idea to print my emails to them and attach to the paperwork though and make a note in the transaction memo as that covers me too. The completer-finisher side of me just wants them all sorted and ticked off!

I'm yet to experience the stress of an audit!

MrsBosh Wed 22-May-19 15:22:13

cornflakegirl, yes, I think I do need to chat through it with my manager as you're completely right that it does almost seem a waste of people's time to find a Tesco receipt for £3.77! I've not actually had a catch up with her yet (or an induction, but that's another story wink) and I've been there two months!

stressedoutpa Wed 22-May-19 23:36:16

Ha ha! Don't be apologetic.

It's your job to collect the receipts. It's their job to send them. Just forward the email each time, "Further to my previous email...."

I always used to get stuff in because I consistently and repeatedly chased people. I was a pain in the proverbial arse for some people. Serious offenders got reported to the boss for a rocket..... grin. Most staff realised it was easier to supply what I was asking for.

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