How to… give a corporate gift (without breaking the rules)

Make sure you follow these golden rules for gift-giving, says Tendayi Sithole, financial crime consultant at Capita

Treating customers over the festive season? Make sure you know the golden rules of corporate gift giving

Treating customers over the festive season? Be sure you know the golden rules of gift-giving

Consider your reason for the gift

When sending a corporate gift, such as a bottle of champagne, make sure it has a clear business reason, such as promoting a new product. You can’t give anything that could be construed to be a bribe, or intended to influence a business decision.

Here at Capita, each business unit has its own price limit; check with your company compliance team what yours is.

Make sure the timing is right

If you are going through a bidding process or making a business decision, it would be inappropriate to give a gift at this point. For example, taking a customer to the races at Ascot just before a contract is due for renewal could easily create the impression of a bribe. 

Log your corporate gift if necessary

At Capita, when corporate presents are worth more than £150 in Europe they must be logged on the gift and hospitality register. Items worth more than £500 require pre-approval. Check your own company’s policy on this, and make sure you are not exceeding sensible limits.

Know the consequences

Undisclosed and inappropriately lavish gifts can result in internal investigations and employee dismissal. Your company could be fined by the Serious Fraud Office and barred from bidding for government contracts.

Think about the recipient

Some gift-giving carries greater risks. For example, it’s important to find out if your intended recipient is a government official. Giving gifts to government employees in jurisdictions that are considered high risk for bribery and corruption carries greater risks for your company. This is because government officials may be in a position to make decisions such as approving contracts or awarding permits. Any gift received (or given) by such officials may create the impression of a bribe. Use your common sense, and think about how a gift might appear to an outsider. 

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