Does Your Business Get Unpleasant Financial Surprises?

by Rich Bond

In your role as the head of a privately held company, do you sometimes get unpleasant financial surprises? They could be an earnings shortfall, running out of cash, or something else.

In my conversations with many business owners and presidents, I get the sense that such surprises happen far too often. Even worse, many of these problems are more serious than you think. But they are preventable. I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who’s run businesses and has been a financial recruiter for over 25 years.

The reason you get unpleasant financial results is that the person who’s in charge of finance for you is more of a bookkeeper than a finance person. They’re recording what happened, rather than telling you what is happening and will be happening. You can’t change the past, but armed with the right financial information and analytical insight, you can improve the future. You can take corrective action.

I have an example from a company we worked with.

Their business was great. They had just had a record quarter and had a major capital project under way and were going to do some significant hiring. But the controller pointed out that their orders for the last two months had actually gone down. The financials looked great only because it took a long time to produce and deliver their product. With this insight, management reluctantly put the project on hold and put off the hiring. Within three months, industry sales were down by over 25%. Because of the early warning from the controller, this company weathered the storm much better than their competitors. When they came out of the downturn, the company gained a lot of market share.

So bad news is bad news. However, if your financial person is looking to the past, present and future, they can add a lot of value to your company. They can help you improve your results and give you ideas for how you can make your business better.

If you get unpleasant financial surprises, you can step in and try to work with your controller to get them to do a better job. But if that doesn’t work, you can replace that person.

Over the years, we’ve replaced controllers who are backward-looking with ones who look forward. When we’ve been called in to help do this, our clients’ profits have increased between 50% and 100%.

That’s why I call my practice “results-based recruiting.” We help our clients recruit and retain professionals who add significant value, make the business more profitable, and more than pay for themselves.

I’d love to learn about your business, how you’re doing, and how we could possibly work together not only to prevent some unpleasant surprises, but to make your business more fun to run and more profitable going forward.

Give me a call at 203-221-3233 or email me at

You can see who I am at my website,



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