It goes without saying as a business owner, partner, or manager you are consistently looking for different avenues to increase revenue, improve customer service, find talented employees, and the list continues to grow. We also depend on professional services we outsource to have “our back”.
Now, this doesn’t mean auto-pilot or what’s in your best interest, it simply means they are completing tasks that you either do not have the skill, time, and/or resources to complete.
Discovery of the BIGGEST F#@! UP
Over the years I have been very competent (or at least I thought) reviewing credit statements, understanding which charges need to be allocated to clients, expense accounts, etc. BUT, with all the distractions 2020 provided, a simple task I would typically stay on top of slipped through the cracks and cost us (drum roll please)..............
Small Amounts Add Up to Large Sums
After grabbing my cup of coffee this morning, I dug into my first task of the day - reviewing credit card statements for tax preparation. The statement for December was brief because the majority of our spending is dramatically reduced due to the holidays. One of the descriptions charged to the card caught my eye.
Upon checking Quickbooks, I realized the client was not charged in December for the pass-through cost. So, I started digging deeper, going back further, and by the time I was finished reviewing statements back to January of 2020 the lost revenue totaled over $25,000
90% of the charges were not over $25.00 per month, but when I added up our entire client base (and some former clients) we were losing.
After this great, extremely embarrassing discovery I reached out to my business partners and requested an immediate conference call. There was no need to wait until Tuesday of the following week; which is our weekly company meeting. I presented what I found, asked for their assistance to remedy the situation, and developed a plan to ensure this does not happen again.
As for our clients (or former clients), we will not tally up all of the missed charges and send an invoice. This was not a mistake they made, I made this mistake and will own it. But, moving forward, you can bet your last dollar that I will be checking every invoice before they are sent to our clients.
There is nothing worse than knowing you left money on the table and what you could have done.
In a very short period of time, I experienced a full range of emotions - anger & embarrassment primarily. Over the years I have taken great pride in managing our finances and weathering even tougher financial situations as we have grown as a company. This was a very humbling and valuable learning experience that I do not care to repeat.
I’m not the first person to say something along these lines, but do not put off the small stuff, which created your success in the beginning, because it will grow into a mountain and create more stress that neither you or I need right now.
Looking forward to 2021!
Brannon Williams, MBA, Managing Partner