Golden Business Ideas

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Get Controls Under Control
Every business needs some controls and supervision to enhance performance and monitor effectiveness. But too many controlsfor example, requiring multiple signatures before any action can be takencan be counterproductive. Costs go up, performance drops, and employees get the message that management distrusts them and might ignore or even subvert the rules.

This top-management problem usually comes from controls initiated by middle managers trying to protect themselves against criticism from their bosses.

Only three business areas generally need controls to ensure performance and effectiveness: customer satisfaction, corporate integrity (safeguarding against any outside illegal activity) and internal fraud prevention.

So limit controls to business-critical areas and give employees the responsibility and incentive to succeed.

Its All in the Details
When preparing job descriptions, its OK to list the specific tasks employees are expected to perform, but its better to include the outcomes for which they will be held accountable. In todays business environment, responsibilities and priorities change quickly. Job descriptions should keep up with those changes and be clear about whats expected.

Stanley Zarowin

An Invitation
The JofA publishes a monthly collection of business tips and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).

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

SPONSORED REPORT

Revenue recognition: A complex effort

Implementing the new standard requires careful judgment. Learn how to make significant accounting judgments and document them and collaborate with peers for consistent application.

VIDEO

How to Excel pivot a general ledger

The general ledger is a vast historical data archive of your company's financial activities, including revenue, expenses, adjustments, and account balances. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, shows how to prepare data for, and mine data with, PivotTables.

QUIZ

News quiz: Taking an economic snapshot and looking to the future

Recent news included IRS actions that affect individuals and partnerships and a possibly influential move by a Big Four accounting firm.Take this short quiz to see how much you know about the news.