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Firing On All Cylinders – Part 2

Finance / Accounting: The Unsung Heroes

It cannot ever be overstated how important it is for a business to have all its departments and employees working from the same page. Clearly, no one wants little robots which all think the same thing at exactly the same time but there is a lot to be said for understanding and buying into the goals and direction of the business for which one works (and, presumably, from which one collects a pay cheque!). In the first article of this series, Communication and Marketing were discussed. Well, now it’s the turn of the equally important Finance/ Accounting sector of any business.

If getting the word out to employees and customers is vital to a company so is having enough money to even operate it. If a company has only been up and running for a short period of time, the challenges might be greater than for a well established one simply because they haven’t yet gone through all of their growing pains (it’s kind of like having eyes bigger than one’s stomach when you see that fresh pizza). It takes time to figure out what is possible financially and what isn’t. So let’s shed a bit of light on this truly important department and why all employees should have a healthy respect for and understanding of what it is that this group does.

Let’s look at this very simply, shall we? If a business is poorly managed financially, pretty soon there will be NO business and you will be OUT of a job. There must be money coming in ALL the time. More money in than going out means the company is successful and you get paid. So, when someone says all it takes is love to make the world go round, they are lying- without money nothing goes around! So, having said this, a company must have financial stability and if the owner of the company is an idealistic dreamer with no money sense (or has no sensible money manager), good-bye and nice knowin’ ya!

Think about what needs to happen from a financial perspective in a business. If it does not bring in enough business, it will not bring in enough money and employees will not get raises and, perhaps, will not be able to keep their jobs. Fulfilling payroll requirements doesn’t just happen by wishful thinking and the snapping of one’s fingers. And not only do the employees have to be paid but so does the government and try not paying them! In addition to payroll and taxes, for every purchase made there is a bill to be paid. Whether you use a pencil and eraser or a computer, they have to be paid for. Everything from supplies large and small to services the company needs itself, all have accompanying bills that just scream out “pay me or die!” (not actually, you know that, right?). Then there are the payments that come in (and there had better be ones coming in). The company provides a product or service and gets paid- that’s business! And, all those payments, both in and out, must be processed and recorded in some fashion. Can you imagine if they weren’t? Just stop for a minute to bring up that image - ooh, pretty ugly. There must be order and organization and that means some real live person has to actually be responsible for this. One tiny error might be worth big bucks so never startle the money people or they might input something incorrectly and you could be out of a job! In addition to this, there are Financial Reports to be prepared, Balance Sheets to balance, Profits and Losses to sort, and Budgets to make. If you know what all that means, you must be a financial/accounting person and if you don’t, pay proper respect because none of it is easy or fun to do! (think Math and school). Finally, there must be financial controls as well to avoid errors, fraud, and theft. Yes, those are all nasty things that every company, unfortunately, must worry about and if the Accounting people get a little testy from time to time, cut them some slack because you need them.

No doubt this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of financial duties and challenges that a company faces each day but, truly, every employee not in this department should be sympathetic to those working in that department because they need friends. Let’s face it, everyone thinks they’re too tight and mean and imagine how they get chewed out by the boss if there’s a mistake. So, be nice to them - it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.