The Monotonous Machine – Part 1

When accounting is done right, it should be boring.

The expectation of most people outside of accounting (and administration) is that things should be done right. Paychecks must be accurate, financial statements must be free of mistakes, vendors must be paid on time, documents must not get lost, procedures must be followed, reports must be ready on time, employees must get correct answers about their benefits, customer invoices must be sent promptly without error, laws or regulations must be complied with. On and on it goes. It’s just the way it is. A mind-numbingly boring machine that runs constantly, always dispensing what is needed without error on demand and without complaint. That is the expectation.

If your machine is running like that, someone deserves a lot of thanks. It takes a lot of work and insight to build and manage a machine that works so well. It does not happen on its own and it is NOT automatic. To paraphrase Buzz Lightyear, “this isn’t boring, it’s accounting with style”.

A couple of things to note if you are a business owner and this is your situation:

1. Don’t take it for granted. You might hear others complain about how much the person supposedly running this boring machine is getting paid. Since all they see is the “boring”, why not save some money and get rid of that person who must not have anything important to do? Don’t buy it. If you do (or if you all ready have), guess who’s now going to tend the machine? You might get some mileage out of the staff, but it is YOU that they are going to be coming to when they run into something they can’t handle, or when they have a tough question, or when something goes wrong, or when a customer or manager calls with a complaint.

2. Keep in mind the “invisible benefit”. When things are working this well, you can bet that some pretty significant problems are being avoided. You MUST put value on this; out of sight should not be out of mind. The people outside your business can help you get a grip on how valuable this is. Just ask your CPA, attorney, banker, insurance brokers, customers, suppliers and vendors. They’ll tell you how much they appreciate your boring machine. They will also tell you how messed up some of their other clients are because they don’t have their machine under control and how much time and money that’s costing them because of it.

All this brings to mind something I saw years ago on TV. Remember that guy who would spin six or eight dinner plates on top of those skinny flexible poles? He’d go through a lot of work to get things up and running and once they were how it didn’t take much effort to keep it going. It looked like things weren’t even moving…sort of…boring! But do you also remember what happened when he walked away?

NEXT TIME – WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE MACHINE?

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