Numbers Game

Headline: “Autodesk Inc. reported its revenue for the fourth quarter on Tuesday, and also said it will restate financial results for past years.

The San Rafael company (NASDAQ: ADSK) hasn’t reported its profit or loss in recent quarters because it is looking into its stock option grants to employees. On Tuesday, the company said it will take a pre-tax charge of between $38 million and $45 million for the past 18 years because of such grants.”
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What’s the big deal? It’s only $7 million, give or take.

I know that I underestimated the importance of keeping good records for many years. “Just show me a growing topline” was my mantra. I focused on growing sales, achieving operational efficiencies, and growing the bottom line.

As we’ve grown, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of really good record-keeping. It serves (at least) two functions: giving the management team the context we need in order to run the business well; and keeping us out of trouble.

If nothing else, pay an outside accounting professional for a few hours of expertise reviewing your books and accounting procedures. Ask them to point out any serious deficiencies in your accounting systems. This is not an audit, just a quick once-over that will probably save you a ton of time down the road.

Entrepreneurs tend to underestimate the importance of keeping good records. Don’t make that mistake.

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