How do you structure/run your company to ensure you maintain control over the finances?


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I've repeatedly heard the advice (from successful business owners) to not give up direct control over the company finances. It seems that enough founders out there have been burned by seemingly trustworthy employees effectively stealing money or making financial decisions that were quite detrimental to the company's long-term position.

How have you structured your organization so that the above won't happen but also allowed you to achieve some level of delegation? Or, are most small business owners still the ones up late at night working entering data into Quickbooks and generating invoices?

I know that some small firms go the spouse/family route, as a way to involve individuals in running the business that are (hopefully) more trustworthy. Not a bad strategy, but certainly not an option for many/most.

I'd love to hear details as specific as you're willing to provide (i.e. roles, responsibilities, reporting, checks/auditing, etc.), especially as the solution will probably be different for companies just starting out versus ones that have reached a decent amount of growth.

Thanks for your input!

Bootstrapped Management Finance Planning

asked Oct 24 '10 at 08:19
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Chris Hagner
881 points
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1 Answer


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I had a great loss by trusting finances of a large car dealership to family members. I had signifigant losses from vehicles being double paid for (20k losses each!), late fees, bad accounting and all. Since then i have learned that the most important thing to keep control of is your companies finances.

I maily work with web business now. Each has time dedicated to accounting practices and features to manage and view income and expenses. I use lessaccounting.com to keep a view of each of my accounts, and keep a close eye on a weekly basis for charges that are out of the ordinary.

I also have multiple accounts per business, with one master account. My merchant account feeds into the master account. Then i move money to a "marketing account" where my team can spend on advertising, or an affiliate earnings account where my team can pay out affiliates.

Its alot easier with the bsuiness that i am involved in now, because there is no exchange in cash, no credit terms and such. The main thing i would suggest are:

  1. Always make sure the buck stops wiht you in accounting
  2. Audit, Audit and Audit
  3. Value every penny, if you dont, then your employees dont
  4. Dont expose your employees to your earnings
  5. Make sure to have strict company policies for theft

Best of luck

answered Oct 24 '10 at 17:32
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Frank
2,079 points

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Bootstrapped Management Finance Planning