Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do you trust who is writing your checks?

As a small business coach I get to see almost everything in my office. The one issue I see over and over again is financial infidelity by an employee. I have seen so many small business brought to their knees by the person who is writing the checks or has access to writing the checks. I my opinion this kind of theft hurts more than just financially. I see the emotion wound that goes deeper than the money. The bleeding of this emotion wound drains the energy out of the business owner and they are not able stay focused on leading their business, or have the energy to stay in the race. So many times the owner spend time and emotional energy being upset with the employee and themselves. It is like driving down the road at 100 MPH and taking your eye off the road to see what is happening in a lane going the opposite direction. These can only lead to a second collision. 

If this has happened to you, I feel for you. My accounting friends tell me that for every dollar you can document they have stolen from you they may have taken three times that.  Having been in business 28 years and owning two business currently, one of the first pieces of advice I would give a small business owner would be to write every check himself or at least sign and or look over every check. This may sound like a huge burden but think about the alternative. Secondly, I always take the time to reconcile my checking accounts on a regular basis to make sure I have recorded and deposited everything correctly. And finally, it is imperative to have a close working relationship with an accountant you feel comfortable with and trust. I have seen so many sets of books walk in my office that are missing huge chunks of financial information such as debt and debt payments and IRS debt. The best money I spend each year is for business coaching advise for my business and my accountant. If you cut corners in either of these areas or do not trust or work well with them, things can become difficult. Be proactive, do not delegate check writing to someone without having several checks and balances. This makes good business sense and helps me have time to work on my business not just in my business.

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