A consultant advises small-business owners on managing cash flow and combatting fraud.
In this book, King (The Courage to Be Profitable, 2013, etc.) presents stories of company owners who have encountered careless cash-handling practices; employee theft; ineffective accounting; and problems with inventory management that have hampered their financial success. In short, first-person accounts, the author presents each tale in its own chapter (“My Bookkeeper Had Too Many Excuses”; “I Was Losing a Nickel for Every Dollar I Generated”) along with an accompanying bulleted list of tips and action items based on lessons learned by the section’s narrator. Most of the vignettes have happy endings, with the business owner able to make good on the loss and avoid the difficulty going forward, though a few conclude with a sadder but wiser person learning a painful lesson. King does an excellent job of presenting helpful information with clarity and without jargon. But the tips presented in the book vary in usefulness and applicability, ranging from the fundamental (stories that show the dangers of failing to understand profit margin or the accrual method of accounting) to the practical (repeated reminders to establish safe and effective procedures for managing cash payments) to the almost paranoid (“If you can’t log into your employees’ computers, walk to the person’s desk and ask that person to print out the report you need while you are watching”). Some of the business owners featured in the anecdotes recommend extreme micromanaging to the detriment of employee morale: “I never realized how much eating at their desks actually cost me. When I calculated the number, I stopped allowing eating at their desks and enforced the lunch hour policy. The employees weren’t happy about it but complied.” But readers who judiciously evaluate the advice, avoiding the more extreme methods of employee control, should find a number of valuable ideas for improving profitability and increasing cash flow in small and closely held businesses.
A wide-ranging collection of cautionary tales for business owners along with tips and suggestions of mixed quality and efficacy.