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I have been working for a small startup in bangalore(1.7 years), The team size in India is about 6 personal and Until recently we had a senior guy who used to take care of all the logistics , such as getting a internet connection, deciding which workspace we work in(We work in a shared workspace) etc.

Now recently this guy quit and now i am the most senior guy who takes care of the basic stuff. Ofcourse there is nothing much to do , except inform the seniors (The CEO) if there is something the indian team needs , Now recently the net connection needed to be changed and i asked the CEO about this and he told me that i can get the connection and pay for it myself and that he would refund the amount in my salary(The amount i need to pay is about 20K INR), which is close to what my salary is. I am a bit uncomfortable doing this. Also the seniour guy who left the company, his salary for the last month was't paid , so that gets me a bit worried too.

I know the decision is dependent on my personal judgement, but is this something ok to do in a small startup ?

closed as off-topic by Chris E, mcknz, gnat, Mister Positive, Masked Man Jul 24 '17 at 16:41

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  • Not, apparently, in this small startup. - There's no reason why your company should think you have this amount of money on hand. – A. I. Breveleri Jul 24 '17 at 15:57
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    This is a personal judgment call. I would not do this even if it weren't for the fact they didn't pay the last month's salary of a colleague. However, it's your money, so no one else can tell you what to do. – Wesley Long Jul 24 '17 at 15:58
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    No, do not pay that bill. – Mister Positive Jul 24 '17 at 16:15
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    Thank you guys , i know this was a bit of a tricky question , but TY for your advice ! :) – Alexander Solonik Jul 24 '17 at 16:28
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    Your CEO can just pay the bill with his credit card and be done with. Why would he bother reimbursing you instead? Hmm, wait ... that's kinda the point. :) – Masked Man Jul 24 '17 at 16:44
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It is reasonable and customary for companies to reimburse smaller expenses (e.g., lodging and food for business travel) that are variable.

Core infrastructure costs such as office space and utilities, even in a startup, should be handled by the CEO or co-founders. This is especially true for cost commitments, such as a lease, where you are required to pay several months or more.

As an employee, and not a CEO or co-founder, you will not share in the benefit of making investments in fixed costs of the company. You will only bear risk. And the more risk the CEO or founders can transfer, the better it is for them.

I would tell your CEO that you would be happy to make the arrangements, but require a company account for billing, since you cannot afford to make payments yourself. Another possibility is to ask for reimbursement in advance, so you only pay for the expense once you actually have the money to do so.

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That would be cause for me to find another job. If their money is so tight they expect employees to do things that are not appropriate like pay their bills and get reimbursed, especially when the bill is your entire salary), that that company is going to fail(I'd estimate the chances of failure at close to 100%). Get out as fast as you can.

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This is a very unusual request.

Being reimbursed for expenses is not unusual, but these are cases where the logistics just makes it easier to reimburse you instead of paying themselves - the company's own internet should absolutely not be considered such an expense.

I would treat such a request to be equivalent to being asked to invest one's own money into the company and do whatever you'd do in that situation.

If you'll only be paid back the same amount, this is a terrible investment at a 0% interest rate - the only exception is if you own a significant portion of the company (in which case you can consider this part of that).

If the company goes under, you can assume you'll never see that money again. If the company doesn't go under, you might still not see it again (because someone might just conveniently "forget").

If you want to do it, absolutely get a commitment from their side in the form of a signed document committing to repaying the money by a certain date (and including some amount of interest), or trade it for shares in the company.

If you want to decline, you can probably say something like:

I'm sorry, but I don't current have the cash flow to allow me to do this.

Or even just simply:

I don't feel comfortable doing this.

(Although this latter option might not go so well)


Is it a good idea to invest (an arguably small amount) in a company that doesn't have enough money to pay their internet or salaries? I wouldn't, but that's your decision.

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It all depends on how much trust you have in the company. If you trust that the company will pay you back as they say, then go ahead and pay for it and get the reimbursement later. If you do this you should definitely make sure you get the request in writing just to be on the safe side.

However, it sounds like you really don't trust the company that much and don't want to risk the money. Tell your boss that you are not comfortable (or possibly not able to) putting that much money on your personal credit card, and ask for alternative methods. Perhaps you can charge a company account directly, or maybe the CEO will hand you his personal card and have you put it on that. The exact method will vary from company to company, but the CEO cannot expect you to pay for something that large with personal funds. If he puts up a fight, stand your ground, but you may need to start brushing up your resume.

  • thank you for ur subtle hints ;) haha , i appreciate your answer ! :) – Alexander Solonik Jul 24 '17 at 16:33

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