Do any of the following apply to your finance department?
- Unplanned leave by your head of finance cannot be taken due to no backup plan in place;
- Ongoing overtime being worked by the head of finance;
- You ask for financial reports and never get them on time;
- When you eventually get the financial reports, it is just numbers rather than information.
Whether or not you realise it, the above are signs of the perfect ‘storm’ of inaccurate results and possible fraud within your finance department. The storm could be brewing or well underway. As businesses grow in turnover, many business owners find it very challenging moving from having a bookkeeper as the head of finance to an experienced financial manager as the head of finance.
The common theme in these businesses is that most of these business owners have fallen prey to having the majority of their financial affairs in the hands of one person. This situation is despite their business having grown and being able to afford a more sustainable financial team. Business owners generally enquire from their head of finance if more resources are needed. In fact, they continue to ask this question over and over again as they endure more and more of the signs mentioned above. That is equivalent to asking a person drowning in a pool whether or not they need your help. Of course, they need help. Asking a rhetorical question is just a waste of time. Once you see the signs, take action. Engage the services of a financial governance expert to give you insight into what the best way forward would be for your finance team to support the business with accurate meaningful information timeously, with proper backup plans in place, and internal controls. Maintaining a sound financial department requires ongoing effort. As the business changes, so too must the resourcing and internal controls within the finance department.
So, make this part of your business culture and reap the pleasant rewards of peace of mind.
Published in KZN Business Sense
Written by Rajes Govender