But out of fear of God I did none of that. I had work to do; I worked on this wall. All my men were on the job to do the work. We didn't have time to line our own pockets. Nehemiah 5:16 (MSG)
I travel on business frequently. In almost every case, my client is paying for my travel expenses. One of the ways that I try to serve my clients well and keep a clear conscience is by refusing to charge them excessively for my travel expenses and keeping my expenses to a minimum. I never charge a percentage on top of my travel expenses, asking simply to be reimbursed for the exact amount I spent (you'd be surprised how many consultants tack on a percentage to their expense reports). I don't charge for extras. I keep my meals reasonable. I stay in moderately priced rooms and will always stay where the client has a corporate rate established. When traveling alone I rent a smaller, cheaper car rather than the standard full sized car.
A few years ago my colleagues and I were out for lunch with our client. He was the Vice-President of a large company. He told us that he wanted to buy us a nice meal because he appreciated that we were the only consultants who didn't "line their pockets" on their expense reports. He then went into a litany of examples of consultants who expensed $200 bottles of wine, magazines to read on their flights, luxury hotel suites, and etc.
I often see leaders who use their position to line their pockets luxuriously. That disappoints me. It even angers me, as it did Nehemiah. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that we ultimately answer to a higher authority. Just because we can get away with something doesn't justify us doing it.