I have learned that one of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success as a business owner is to surround yourself with people who are great at what they do. My seat at the table in the financial arena is as a CFO/Cash Flow Strategist. Take a moment to identify who your trusted advisors are in the financial arena. Once you have the right “subject matter experts” in your sandbox, you should be able to maximize profitability and optimize cash flow!
As a CFO, I can tell you that the most vulnerable area in the financial arena is bookkeeping. In my cash flow arena, I refer to the Bookkeeper as the “Keeper of the Cash Flow”!
Let me ask you:
- What is your relationship with bookkeeping in your business?
- You may think your bookkeeper is doing a great job, and “need” to trust that they are, but what if they are not?
- Are your financials up to date or are you “winging” it with making financial decisions?
Why do you need a bookkeeper?
You and your Bookkeeper:The bookkeeper is the keeper of the cash flow.This person is the “subject matter expert” of your books and records the day-to-day transactions accurately. Please, please do NOT minimize the importance of this subject matter expert.
Bookkeeping Hazards: If you are a business owner that has employees, has credit card debt, has a business loan, and/or has clients that owe you money; you can afford to have a bookkeeper on your team. Top hazards that business owners tend to tolerate:
- Doing your own bookkeeping! I encourage you not to try saving money by doing your own books.Why? This is the highest and best use of your time, and you are not a subject matter expert in “following” your own money.
- Paying Bills and Accounts Payable: A bookkeeper can set up a process for entering vendor bills and producing an Accounts Payable report for you to see what is on deck to be paid in the weeks ahead.Why? It is important to control the outflow of money against money coming in. Paying bills “carelessly” is not a good discipline in the cash flow arena.
- Accounts Receivable: It is a challenge for business owners to ask for money owed. Having a bookkeeper set up a process for collecting from your customers removes the uncomfortable feelings of asking for money.Why? You have a 45-day window to collect money from your customer. Each day after that it is harder and less likely that your customer will pay.
- Who Signs your checks? DO NOT allow your bookkeeper to sign or pay bills through your online banking account(s).Why? This opens a potential area of fraudulent activity (EMBEZZLEMENT) that you can easily avoid by having your bookkeeper set up the checks to be signed and you sign your checks or pay online with a credit card.
One of the “Dirty Little Secrets About Cash Flow” is that most owners are not holding their bookkeepers and other trusted advisors accountable. Having good processes to manage all the bookkeeping activities helps optimize cash flow and maximize profitability. Do not minimize the importance of bookkeeping in your business. You are as good as your team.