• Grant Sinclair

Have you hugged your bookkeeper today?

I will place a bet with you right now that not one entrepreneur got into business for the bookkeeping. Unless of course you have started a bookkeeping business but that’s a different story. The reason you started was to express yourself in the creation process. For the excitement of it all and to make some money. This is the way it should be.

A new business needs that person who will be the champion. Taking the business through the birthing process. Experiencing the labour pains and the joy of having brought something to life out of nothing. This is the entrepreneur.

Now look at your business and picture it as a three-legged stool. There is the production leg and where you will find The Tinkerer. This covers the process of making and delivering your product or service. Without them there will be nothing to sell.

The second leg is the marketing and sales leg. This is where you will find The Rainmaker. Without selling products or services there is no business.

The last leg is the accounting and administration leg. This is where you will find your Gold Nuggets.

The accounting leg is the ugly sister of the three and usually the one most people stay away from. It’s not very sexy. It is almost impossible to find all the role players in one person. It is often four separate people, as well it should be. They need very different personalities. But thank-you-God for making us all different.

There are some people who not only love accounting but thrive in it. Don’t ask them to chair a sales meeting or to fit a widget to a schism rod. They will usually start to sweat and bulk at the idea. This is not for them.

But give them their domain, their fiefdom and leave them to get on with it. Release them into the world of spreadsheets. Leave them with the dark arts of accounting. Petty cash. Fixed assets. VAT. PAYE. SARS. The Department of Labour, CIPC and annual returns. Don’t touch their filing, stapler, punch or mess with their pens. Never, I say never take anything out of the stationery cupboard without recording it. You will pay for this. No, really, you will get a bill for it at the end of the month.

The consequence of having them there? You will be able to focus on entrepreneuring, on making it rain and tinkering. The back-office will hum like a well-oiled machine. If you put your ear up to the admin office door and listen, you will hear it. Hummmmmmm.

You will never have to pay a penalty or interest to SARS again. The requested reports will be on your desk before you arrive. You will even get some you never asked for. You may not even know what they are. Don't ask lest you be made to look like a fool. Your customers will pay your accounts on time. You will never have your electricity cut off for non-payment. Load shedding yes, non-payment, no. You will never pay more than you should for stock or services. She will even remind you about your wife/husbands’ birthday, without being asked.

You may have noticed that I have used the feminine to describe The Gold Nugget. The reason is that they tend to be the most suited for the job. They will often take on the mothering role in the business for all the people working there. That’s the way it is. You may find some men in this position, but they are few and far between. Honestly, I don’t believe men are equipped to do this. Just like raising a kid. If this was left to men our global population would be half.

I have also experienced a team of bookkeepers and admin staff with the same traits. Usually however even in this group there will be one alpha mother who runs the show.

The sad part is that they are often overlooked and not looked after. They are under appreciated. The only time you see the real contribution The Gold Nugget makes is when they leave. Your business starts to fall apart. You start getting more and more difficult phone calls that were always handled by her. SARS is sending threatening SMS's and e-mails. Your customers are not paying. Now what? It’s too late. My recommendation? Look after your Gold Nugget. Give them a raise. Give them their birthday off and bake them a cake.

So, when you go into work tomorrow go give your bookkeeper a hug, then do it every day and be thankful.

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