Ever since I was a kid, I asked a lot of questions. I was the girl with braces, a backpack full of books, and a never-ending arsenal of questions that made even the most patient of adults have to take a deep breath before they answered yet another inquiry from my curious mind.
This trend continued into college, when my “I-have-to-make-the-most-of-my-education-because-my-parents-are-paying-for-it” mentality took my curiosity to new heights. I didn’t care what anyone thought or how many eyes rolled. I was going to ask any and every question that popped into my head during lecture, professor office hours, and in study groups. I would also answer the professor’s questions when no one else was willing. I didn’t want that poor professor to be up there in awkward silence. All of that to say, crickets don’t get the chance to chirp when I’m around!
One afternoon, as I was waiting for the class before mine to let out, I was standing in the hallway when a fellow classmate approached me.
“Hey, how did you do in the intermediate accounting class?”
My response was a simple, “I think I got a B+.”
“Really? We all figured you had the highest grade in the class because you are always asking questions.”
I remember first being flabbergasted that my classmates were having a discussion about me getting the highest grade in the class. My second thought, which has stuck with me as clear as a bell to this day, was that people thought I was the smartest kid in the class simply because I asked questions! Wow – what a revelation.
The Best Financial Question Every Entrepreneur Should Ask
So, what is THE BEST financial question every business owner should be asking?
It doesn’t matter what the question actually is…just ask it!
If I didn’t care what other people thought about asking questions then, I certainly don’t now. I see so many business owners who are afraid to ask questions out of fear: fear they don’t know the “right” questions to ask, or for fear of looking foolish in front of their employees. As a business owner, there are many reasons (outlined below) you should be asking any and every question that pops into your mind. If you need support in putting together a financial strategy that includes asking the best (read: all) questions for the success of your business, contact me today for a consultation. I’d love to help you chase those chirping crickets away – in the name of your healthy business!
“The important thing is to not stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
Business Benefits of Asking Questions
As a business owner, you should always feel comfortable to ask questions of your employees – especially your financial staff. In the opinion of this zealous question-asker, it’s your right and your duty as a business owner to ask questions regularly. Even if you hire people to be responsible for your business’s finances, you should always have a good handle on the processes in place, regularly check in on the status of your financial health, and keep an eye out for red flags.
Here’s why it’s always a good idea to ask questions:
- Asking questions can help locate financial errors. For example, let’s say you notice that your company’s cell phone expense is three times higher this month than last month. What happened? Hopefully it’s a bookkeeping error, and one that is an easy fix. And who knows, this might not be the only time this error has happened, so it’s worth looking into to ensure your bookkeeping is accurate.
- Asking questions can highlight or find fraud. When you ask questions, it usually means you noticed something that doesn’t seem to be quite right. Hopefully it’s just an error in bookkeeping, as we mentioned above, but it could be something else: a red flag that fraud is happening. If something looks weird on the books, it might be a sign that someone is stealing from you and trying to cover their tracks. Asking questions is one of the first steps in uncovering the problem. If someone other than you has access to your books, bank account, and other financial information, fraud is possible. To reduce your risk of fraud, ensure you have the proper internal controls set up to protect your business.
- Asking questions tells your staff you pay attention to their work. Asking questions and acknowledging your employees’ work will make them feel valued and seen, which is always a worthwhile endeavor. They will in turn do a better job, make less errors, and… are less likely to steal. As already stated – asking questions is a great fraud deterrent.
- Asking questions gives you a high level overview of financial health. Is your general feeling of how things are going with the business matching what you are seeing on the books? There shouldn’t be a big difference between how you feel it’s going and how it’s actually going. Asking questions can help you balance the meter, and if things look off, then you can ask more questions to get to the bottom of the issue. In my experience, some business owners don’t keep a regular eye on their finances and struggle with this balance. They don’t know what to ask or what to look for. Bringing in high-calibur expertise and experience can help you gain a clear vision on how it’s going, and what type of questions to regularly ask going forward. If you need that type of support, Huxley CPA is here to help.
- Asking questions alongside an expert’s guidance shapes you into a well-rounded leader. Your questions are fantastic, and a financial expert can guide you to ask even more strategic questions that will get you to the answers you need quickly and concisely.
When you first start asking questions, you may not know where to start. It can feel like you are looking at an iceberg and only understand what’s peeking above the surface. Hiring a financial expert to help you decipher what’s under the water’s surface is a great way to not only put together a healthy financial strategy for your business, but will also give you the space you need to become more comfortable asking the very best financial question every business owner should ask: YOUR question. Contact me today to start planning your financial strategy.