Keep Your Name Clean – Conflict of Interest

Author: Dave Williams

Conflict of interest

Are you involved in corruption if the server at the drive-thru window slips you an extra piece of chicken 🐔 🍲 or more sides than the menu board mentioned? And does it matter whether it’s because you know them from primary school or that you’re cuter than the average customer?

In the micro-economic world of small island business, it’s easy to know or be known by or otherwise connected to other individuals or interests on a project. To make matters worse, the growing populations of cons turning pro are cause for concern.  With corruption already in the headlines daily, it’s worth reviewing how to avoid getting tied up in scandal.

One key recommendation is to document everything. Here are a few ways that may keep your good name out of those popular papers that begin with P (Pandora or Panama).

Cover your bases
Outside of full-on, ironclad contracts, provide some form of written document that memorialises business interactions — even a napkin sketch will do. A staple of the advertising business is the contact report. These brief, post-meeting documents capture quick notes on what was discussed and what actions will be taken by whom and when and are shared with all attendees for confirmation. In the video-telephony era, you can easily record meetings. Plus, there are a plethora of apps that inform everyone present that they’re on record.

Embrace Full disclosure
When taking on a project, as far as islandly possible, indicate up front those with whom you believe you may share any notable acquaintances, as well as any others who may also be involved in other aspects of that project. It’s amazing how fast things could appear to be like that extra piece of spicy. Here’s some free food for thought on conflicts of interest in work relationships.

Assure Confidentiality
Secrets mean many different things in a region where loose lips have been sinking ships long before Pirates of the Caribbean. So, keep a zip on it. Avoid disclosing to your current contractor confidential material that you may have acquired on previous and competing jobs. It could present you as a ship sinker. On the other hand, a quick browse of a non-compete clause or agreement might get you in gear for this comfy convo.

Invoice Accurately
Keep accurate records of invoices. Clearly differentiate between quotations or estimates and invoices. Invoices are for work done or agreements to pay for proposed work. Estimates do what there name says: They average what your fee might be. These have been known to be tampered with by recipients who may receive payments from others based on your documents. There are several applications available that can keep these records for you so you can cover your … ahem, ASSets.

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