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I apologise if my language is a little unclear on this question, I've changed a few details to make the situation more generic.

I'm a Software Widget Expert for department A at a medium/large organisation. It might be relevant to mention my department is known as a bit of a 'maverick', and has a reputation for going against the usual processes of other departments. One online widget I manage relies on a subscription to an external software. Now this external software is inexpensive (around £30 a year, nothing for a large company) and functions by use of a special key file that acts as a licence. A few weeks ago, I made an error and overwrote that file, I assumed it wouldn't be a big issue and reported it immediately in the hopes that we would have an appropriate backup. For reasons that I don't think are relevant to the question and due to the nature of the external software the vendor is unable to refund/give us a new key.

Unfortunately, because I'd overwritten the file the same day as it was created, the backup didn't cover the period where it existed. This is somewhat of a problem. Purchases for this external software are managed by department B, so I contacted them via the usual channels to raise a new purchase.

This is where a problem begins. Department B rejected the purchase because while our online widget is not functional, it is indicating an error unrelated to the external software. Therefore, according to them that's not the problem. I explained the reason for the misleading error, and the reasons for needing a new purchase of the external software. They refused again, with the backup of their department superior. My own superior has agreed to back me in my request, but so far we are at an impasse.

How do I protect myself in the resulting fallout?

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    How did you originally acquire the special key file? – sf02 Apr 29 at 17:02
  • sf02 it is created during the purchase process, when raising the request the key is created on my end and only the one copy exists – Charles H Apr 29 at 17:06
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    That is an awful business model if a replacement key can't be generated for paying clients... – Myles Apr 29 at 17:07
  • Is department B simply a purchasing department or are they technical? It's odd that they would reject a purchase based on an online error. – sf02 Apr 29 at 17:17
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    @sf02 they are under the same umbrella as technical support, the reason they are responsible for software purchases is largely historical. I'm not sure why they decided to verify the need for this particular purchase, it's certainly not typical – Charles H Apr 29 at 17:27
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How much money has already been spent on internal hours arguing over £30? It's clearly not in the best interests of the company.

I'd suggest asking your boss if there is anything to be done to make this problem go away without further involvement from Dept B. A maverick department manager likely has quite a few ways that this can be fixed if procedures aren't a concern.

If it can be fixed without further involvement from B then there is no fallout to dodge.

  • I've accepted this as the best solution, even though it wasn't exactly how the situation played out. It turns out there are underlying problems in department b that only came to light as a result of this incident. They are now being addressed. – Charles H Apr 30 at 11:36
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So spend the 30 bucks and purchase it yourself.

I understand that typically it is the businesses responsibility to handle expenses however, sometimes in the spirit of simply getting things done you have to throw a little cash at a problem to get it taken care of.

Think of this as the fluidity of your relationship with your company. there have been days when you roll in 15 minutes late, and no one bats and eye. Or how about that time you had to leave early for an appointment or you slipped out early to get a jump on the weekend.

Life is about give and take. Sometimes you take from the company, and sometimes you give. Its all done in good faith that things will typically even out in the end (gods willing).

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    Agreed. People are going to complain saying yadda yadda its company problem, they should pay. It is and they probably should but the mistake is yours and is causing civil war. I would just rat the $30 for your career's sake. – Jack Apr 29 at 19:48
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    I totally disagree. Yes, it is only 30 bucks, and yes this employee made a mistake. But this is also part of the cost of doing business, this should be treated as any other non-financial screw up. And what when if the employee leaves ? Since they paid for it, does it mean they take their subscription with them ? Nope, employees shouldn't pay business expenses out of pocket. – MlleMei Apr 30 at 8:44
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    without an explanation, this answer may become useless in case if someone else posts an opposite opinion. For example, if someone posts a claim like "Resist temptation to spend the 30 bucks and purchase it yourself.", how would this answer help reader to pick of two opposing opinions? Consider editing it into a better shape, to meet How to Answer guidelines – gnat Apr 30 at 9:19
  • Where I work we are absolutely forbidden to use personal software. I doubt I'd be fired over this but my boss would certainly give me a stern talking to. – Paul Cezanne Apr 30 at 21:38

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