13 Banker boxes, no taxes filed for 2 years,  and a missing bookkeeper


April 23, 2018

There are so many times when I have started working with a new client and they say “I have to be the most unorganized
business you have ever worked with…” I smile a little when I hear that because no situation compares to this one I worked with back in 2012.

I get this phone call one day from a business owner that was running three businesses and had been circling the drain for several years with all of his ventures.

The back story was that his bookkeeper of several years became pregnant and later went on maternity leave.  During that time nothing was done in the way of his bookkeeping.  Nothing.  The bookkeeper then came back some months can back about months later, then got pregnant AGAIN, only to never come back.

Finally by the time I got the call, he said I really need your help…can you come over here to take a look at what I have going on?

Keep in mind there were three businesses. This was everything from commercial real estate (with tenants), event planning, and a restaurant.  There was no bookkeeping for a couple of years, and he was attempting to manage it all by what I call COH accounting, (cash on hand) and then would login into his bank everyday to see what the balance was before making a business decision.

All of the monies were co-mingled.  Deposits from one business were used to make payroll for the other. Monthly rent payments from the commercial property bought produce for the restaurant. Nothing was separate, yet there was 3 corporations that each has a corporate tax return that was to tie out to a set of company books in QuickBooks.

Do you do this?

My wife, Andrea, helping out

(I had no idea what I was getting involved at this point) I finally agreed to drive over to his operation and I am immediately greeted with “Todd, I am glad to see you! Here let me get you a hand truck for all of the banker boxes for you to go through”. (what?!)

What I soon discovered what how he was organizing invoices, contracts, and checks, etc was a combination of stuffing clear plastic freezer bags with receipts and labeling with a marker and then having an executive suite filled with 15 grocery store courtesy baskets (you know the kind that you would use for the quick checkout for 10 items or less…)  used for sorting mail and business documents.

In any event, we loaded up my Honda Accord and I was about ready to head out and asked him for a backup copy of his QuickBooks file.  He said, “I couldn’t figure that part out so…here just take the entire computer tower!”

It took nearly 10 months to go through everything getting everything entered, reconciled, and all of our questions.  The final outcome to all of this was that he was able to get his taxes filed and was able to show a loss and qualify for the FASFA program to get his daughter’s college tuition paid for through a grant.

I share this story with you as an example of what losing sight of your company’s financials looks like and end up costing tens of thousands in fees, penalties, and lots of unnecessary stress.  There are lots of businesses every years that file for bankruptcy because of poor cash management.

While this was an unbelievable stressful experience, and while I was willing to help, we were not there to work as a charity.  Since then I have become much more wise to such situations and have concluded business owners that always seem to attract chaos and friction tend to have a ‘know-it-all-mindset”, and that’s expensive!

If there is anything I can say right now about this is DON”T put it off, it only gets worse and more costly.


Chief Experience Officer

“Know Your Numbers, Know Your Business”