17 Simple Business Truths I’ve Learned from CFOs and Controllers

Here they are…

  1. The accounting profession has as many specialties as medicine. Don’t expect everyone to be an expert in everything. Hire the essentials, outsource the specialties.
  2. Bookkeepers can not take your company public. CFO’s don’t do payroll. Hire the right person to accomplish the right job.
  3. The good accounting & finance professionals pay for themselves. The bad ones can bankrupt your company either intentionally or unintentionally.
  4. Address poor performance promptly. Bad accountants do not get better with age.
  5. 40% of small businesses experience fraud and embezzlement. Trust your internal controls and intuition, not your personnel.
  6. If your company does not have timely & accurate financial statements, departmental and or project accounting, budgets, and a meaningful forecast process, you have the wrong Controller!
  7. If your company does not have budgets and departmental or project accounting, no one is in control of expenses.
  8. Controllers don’t do marketing well. Marketing Managers don’t make good accountants. Keep the marketing in Marketing and the accounting in Accounting. Your company does not need a duplicate set of books nor a second marketing plan.
  9. If the financial statements don’t make sense to you…they don’t make sense! Find someone who can properly design them.
  10. There is no excuse for errors in accounting! Insist on error-free work! It’s a non-negotiable.
  11. Some of the best accountants & accounting managers do not have 4 year degrees. Some of the worst accountants have MBA’s from expensive schools.
  12. Accounting professionals can be paid to say No; they are much more valuable when they view their role as a business partner.
  13. Good Controllers find resources for non-mission critical projects without exceeding the budget.
  14. Controllers that view themselves as the corporate police are left out of all the important decisions and never understand why.
  15. If your Controller spends all of his/her time on spreadsheets, you have an analyst, not a Controller.
  16. The best CFOs, Controllers and accountants have a great sense for business, understand people and know their numbers!
  17. If your financial statements are printed in cents, you have a bookkeeper, and not a Controller!

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