ANZ's parting of the ways with former chief executive David Hisco over an expenses dispute should serve as a wake-up call for employers and employees, say experts in the field.
ANZ announced on Monday that Hisco would be departing his $3 million plus a year job immediately after an investigation which alleged he "mis-characterised" certain personal expenses as business expenses.
Those expenses, which ran into the "tens of thousands of dollars" over Hisco's nine-year stint as chief executive, included personal use of chauffeur-driven cars and storage of wine in Australia - his country of birth.
Danny Gelb, an employment law advocate, said: "I think this is a wake-up for employers to make sure they have the right policies in place. And for employees to make sure they are clear on those policies."
ANZ New Zealand chairman Sir John Key has said Hisco believed he had an agreement with the previous group chief executive of the Australian bank over the use of chauffeur-driven cars.
"David is adamant he had authority for the expenditure undertaken, if he did have that authority is it oral in nature. It is difficult to establish one way or the other."
Gelb said oral agreements were difficult.
"It is always dangerous to operate with a verbal agreement."
While they were binding that was only the case if they could be backed up which required written documentation, he said.
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Gelb said for most employees the rules on expenses were fairly clear.
"When you get to the likes of executives it has got to pass the sniff test. Before you commit the company to any expenses is there some written document that can be referred to?"
He said at the heart of any conflict was whether the expenses were for the benefit of the individual or the company.
Max Whitehead, a human relations consultation, said he had already received a call from one client wanting to go over its policies in the wake of the Hisco fiasco and he believed others would be doing the same.
"From both an employer and employee perspective you want it to be very prescriptive in terms of the parameters that can be utilised."
The challenge was the higher up the organisation a person was the higher the level of trust, which had to be the case because they had access to company finances, he said.
"The CEO should know better and show by example."
The lower down the chain the more prescriptive it got although some organisations gave certain staff like sales representatives more freedom.
"If they have got someone going off to China they will say make sure you wine and dine the potential customers."
Whitehead said what had changed in recent years was the level of monitoring companies now had regarding staff.
"In the past it was a lot of trust and done on a handshake. What is more sophisticated now is the monitoring."
He said employers could track vehicle use, phone use and even the location of their employees much more easily now.
John McGill, chief executive of Strategic Pay, said the biggest change over the last 10 years was transparency.
"The general nature and scope of executive remuneration hasn't changed."
"But there is a lot more transparency expected particularly from listed companies and big corporates."
Last year the NZX introduced a code of conduct for listed companies, catching up with Australia and other countries, which had already moved on this, McGill said.
"I think it is up to the organisation to get policies right and explain them."
"This was avoidable for the bank."
McGill said it was a reminder for companies to look at the transparency rules in New Zealand.
"This is a clear example of publicity you don't want. I'm sure they [ANZ] would rather be talking about the bank and its products."