Golden Business Ideas


Car-Leasing Caveat

If you or your business leases a car for more than 36 months, it’s likely that the lease term will exceed the car’s warranty period and you will be financially responsible for repairs after the third year.

One way you can avoid that problem is to buy extended warranty coverage—but recognize that you’ll be charged not just for the extra months but for the full term of the lease.

Boosting Cash Flow—the Easy Way

You don’t need an advanced degree in accounting or management to know that cash flow is the lifeline of every business. Here are some simple and obvious ways to optimize the flow:

  • Deposited checks should be available in less than two days. If your bank freezes checks longer, you should do some serious negotiating.
  • Your bank may close at 3 p.m., but what time must a deposit arrive to be posted the same day? Find out the bank’s deadline so you don’t lose a day.
  • How long does it take your finance department to post a check before getting it to the bank? If it takes a full day, have the staff photocopy the check and deposit it the same day—then post it the next day.
  • Ask your bank for a monthly account analysis statement. It gives you the average and minimum balances required to pay for the services used during the month. A surplus (more than the minimum) means you’re overpaying, but if there’s a deficit (less than the minimum), the bank will charge you.
  • If you use a lock box, make sure your invoice lists only the lock-box address—not the company’s—otherwise, a check may go to the wrong address, slowing the process.
  • Set an invoice-paying policy: Pay within the terms, but not before. And increase the float by avoiding wire transfers.

Job Interview Tip

It takes a manager approximately 16 minutes to decide whether to hire a job candidate, according to a survey conducted by Accountemps, a temporary staff company in Menlo Park, California. How a job candidate should use that information: Keep your resume highly focused and concise. A personal impression (poise and enthusiasm) not only rates high, but forms the basis of the interviewer’s first impression. So act accordingly.

Tips for Spotting Lies

When people don’t tell the truth, the tissues inside their nostrils tend to swell in response and that often causes them to scratch or rub their noses when lying. According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation in Chicago, while it’s certainly not a definitive sign of deceitfulness, it’s a worthwhile clue.

Rewards of Nurturing Creativity

Some 75% of corporate innovations come not from top management but from frontline workers who deal daily with the company’s products and services, says Alan G. Robinson, a management professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Management at Amherst.

What does this say to management?

  • Listen carefully to frontline workers’ suggestions—and their complaints, because hidden in every complaint is the seed of a positive idea.
  • Provide timely feedback to such ideas—not in months, but in days.
  • Monitor feedback to be sure ideas aren’t rejected because of the “not-invented-here” knee-jerk reaction or because they threaten someone in management.
  • Reward good ideas with bonuses and prizes—and let the winner select his or her reward.
An Invitation

The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).

Send your ideas to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via either e-mail (zarowin@mindspring.com ) or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy, Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.

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