What you can learn about finance from the Tudors

18th May 2022

I’ve always been interested in the Tudors - and over the past few months, I’ve been learning a lot more about them.

It’s because I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts in the car - I still do most of my reading when I’m driving! And I was looking for a subject that isn’t business-related.

I’ve learned enormous amounts about the War of the Roses and the wars of the 15th century, and even plan to visit Hever Castle, where Anne Boleyn spent her childhood. It’s beautifully preserved.

But what really astounds me is the amount of information still available, despite the distance of five centuries!

For example, Elizabeth I is famous for her Tilbury speech of 1588, in which she told troops, “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.”

I saw the original script at a special exhibition in the British Library, together with Elizabeth’s own corrections and changes.

Some of Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne Boleyn still exist too, although oddly they’re in the Vatican.

Which makes me wonder...

If someone came and took a look at your financial records from just two years ago - May 2020 - how much information would they find?

And how easy would it be to find exactly what they needed?

You see, we often go into companies and look through their financial records.

It may be that we’ve taken over their financial management.

Or perhaps we’ve been asked to conduct a Business and Financial Management Review, to uncover hidden financial issues in their business.

I’m often shocked at how difficult it is to uncover exactly what’s been going on with their finances over the past few years...

Too many companies still keep some of their financial records on paper.

Essential documents - like receipts, purchase orders and invoices - get lost...

Or they’re stuck on someone’s desk for months, completely inaccessible to everyone else.

Other times, financial records are scanned, filed and stored randomly, in places that make no sense to anyone from the outside. Or only select records - the wrong ones - are kept long-term.

In short, it’s often a mess. We feel like detectives, trying to piece together what’s been going on...

Now, I realise that this sounds like this kind of bureaucratic issue that makes you want to scream - and to ignore...

Certainly as CEO, it’s not your job to keep these records.

But you must make sure that *someone* in your organisation is doing it. Ideally every relevant piece of financial information needs to be immediately scanned electronically and filed correctly.

If it’s not happening, that’s a basic sign that your finance department is not being run in a professional way and that you have deeper financial problems.

After all, if your numbers and records aren’t reliable, how can your accountants do their work? If you can’t check what’s behind the numbers that appear in your accounts, how can your finance department help you make good financial decisions?

They can’t. Companies where financial records are treated casually are inevitably financially weak.

In addition, there will come a time when you’ll thank your lucky stars for having well-organised records...

...For example, when you’re audited!

You’ll also need outstanding records if queries ever arise on your financial transactions...

...And if you ever want the option of selling your company. Your buyer will want to pore over your financial records, and if they’re not water-tight, your sale could easily fall through.

When we manage your financial affairs, swiftly scanning and correctly filing all your financial documentation is part of our work.

No, it’s not the exciting part of the job. But it’s part of running a grown-up, smooth operation and it’s essential to your success.

To find out more about our Outsourced Finance Department and how it can help you maximise your revenue and your growth, get in touch with me today.

Simply email me or call us on 01279 647 447, and let’s arrange a time to talk.

Warmly,

Garry


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