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Control Over the Paperwork

By: Robert S Curry  If you don’t have control over the paperwork, your company will lose money! – The owners of an HVAC company hired me to do a profit improvement engagement. The company designed and installed HVAC units for commercial buildings. The company also had 25 service engineers in the field servicing heaters and air conditioners. This client had annual sales of $14 million, $4 million in new installations and $10 million in service revenue. The three owners started the company 20 years ago. They hired me because the owners believed that the business should have been more profitable. They had no idea why the company was not profitable.

Initially, I reviewed the financial statements to determine where the profit leakage may be. The accounting systems and reporting were not adequate. The financial statements did not provide the information to the management team to support the decision-making for their respective functional areas. The financial statements were prepared and distributed 45 days after the close of each month. Once I discovered this problem, I knew that it was time to replace the Controller and update the accounting systems. The Controller was an issue, but he was not the only problem.

Control Over the Paperwork.

After reviewing the billing (revenue) for the service department, I discovered that there were significant peaks and valleys each month. The company, based upon the current annual service revenue, was averaging $1.3 million per month. According to the accounting records, the range of posted service revenue was between $500,000 and $1.7 million. The company did not have control over the processing and reporting of the service revenue.

I sorted the database of the service orders by serial numbers and discovered large blocks of serial numbers missing. I also sorted the data by a service engineer. We found that two engineers had no revenue reported for the six months.

I met the next day with the two service engineers. They thought that the accounting department had their paperwork. We were lucky because they both still had copies of all the service orders missing.

When we processed the missing paperwork, it totaled $875,000! We also researched the balance of service orders from other service engineers and found an additional $80,000 of unprocessed revenue.

Finally, the company had control over the paperwork.

The owners of the company were correct; the business was not as profitable as it should have been. After invoicing the $955,000 of unprocessed service orders, the company reported a healthy profit.

I helped the client upgrade all the accounting and financial systems and implemented internal controls over all the service orders. The new procedures ensured the timely processing of all services orders within 24 hours after the completed service call. We also replaced the Controller. He should have been able to identify the problem if he was doing his job correctly.

listen more during interviewsMy name is Robert Curry, and I am an Author, CEO Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Turnaround Specialist. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with more than 70 companies taking their businesses from Loses to Profits.

Please click on the links below to read my other articles about business like Control Over the Paperwork!

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Recently, I published two books about turnarounds: “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround and “The Turnaround.” Both books are true stories about turnarounds of real companies that I have turned around during my career. In both books, I have shared all my Profit Improvement Recommendations (“PIR’s”). PIR’s helped to grow sales, reduce expenses, improve cash flow, and most importantly, strengthen the management teams.

If the information in this article Control Over the Paperwork! helps you, your family or a business associate, please email me at and share with me the story.

If you would like to purchase either or both books autographed by the author, please click on the following link: Losses to Profits Series.

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The Turnaround & From Red to Black

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