Taking the Wheel: Business Organization

Business organization is a key factor in keeping everyone in your workplace on task and working together for the big picture you have envisioned. Business organization includes everything from segregating duties, empowering employees and being observant of office supplies.

It may sound like personnel control, but it is a different factor. Administering control over your business organization sets a standard of quality and becomes a model for anyone you hire to work for you. Planning for the worst case scenario can keep your business from going off track.

In part two of a three part series, O&P Business News presents tips O&P business owners can follow to keep their practices well organized.

Smooth operations

Business Organization“Oftentimes, [business owners] want information but they don’t empower anybody to go get it,” Robert Benedetti, controller for Delatorre O&P and consultant for Promise Consulting said. “They don’t give them the tools…the software applications or…the training that they need.”

As a business owner, you need to initiate organization in your office or appoint someone trustworthy to do so to ensure that operations are smooth and problems are dealt with in a timely fashion. That may feel like giving up control, but really it might be the kind of letting go that can help your company thrive.

Assigning tasks

It may seem simple, but assigning different people on your office staff to handle different tasks can help you rest assured that your business is in good hands. Business owners do not expect employees to be dishonest, but giving them as few chances to do so will minimize the temptation.

“Will it happen to your company? Probably not,” Benedetti told O&P Business News. “But you don’t know what your employees are going through or what kind of stress they’re under.”

Especially in smaller companies where one person is often responsible for multiple steps of the accounts receivable and accounts payable processes, segregating duties might be a helpful step in safeguarding your business.

“You don’t necessarily want a front office person getting the invoice, cutting the checks, having the authority to sign checks and then reconciling those checks once it has cleared to the bank,” Benedetti said. “That is a situation where one person is doing all four or five steps of the accounts payable process with the opportunity to have something fraudulent happen.”

Secure Your Signature
Safe combination dial
© 2007/iStockphoto.com/Robyn Mackenzie

You may not have given this much thought due to time-saving and ease of use, but rubber stamp signatures employed by many business owners are a hidden danger in your office that can devastate your business at any time.

If you already have a rubber stamp signature, remove it from the workplace. This may mean that you have to stamp checks while watching the evening news at your home, but it is better than leaving it in the workplace where that one little imprint can do serious damage to your business.

Even better, sign the checks yourself and eliminate the problem all together.

The price of convenience might be more than you are willing to pay in the long run.


Be observant of your funds

Leaving accounts receivable and payable aside, being observant of office supply expenditures can lead to some interesting discoveries, explained Benedetti.

Some companies install cameras around the workplace or use sign-out procedures to hold all of the tools while they are not being used as ways of controlling workplace theft. While these sound like excellent organizational procedures, consider the message you are sending your workforce. These methods only reinforce a state of distrust and deceit that can foster more negative feelings than positive.

Instead, watch your funds through monthly snapshots, compare them to past reports and ask yourself some questions based on your findings.

“What are my office supplies? What have they been running for the last 24 months? Why is there a spike this month?” Benedetti said, giving some examples of the appropriate responses to peculiar findings. “Why are we buying 14 printer cartridges when we only have one printer?”

Owners need to be ahead and aware of business purchases so that in the event something unusual comes up, they can act accordingly.— by Jennifer Hoydicz

For more information:

  • Part three of the series will be published in the November 1st issue of O&P Business News.

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