False Accounting

If you’re an Area Manager and the businesses you’re overseeing are losing accounts, what should you do?

A, Nothing

B, look to understand why

C, Fail to understand why and still do nothing:

D, Look for a short term fix and tell your managers how to improve matters or:

E, Be aware of the problem, accept not knowing how to improve the situation long term, own up to this, and then find the necessary resources needed or:

F, Fail to understand why and then tell your managers to falsify their accounting to cover up the problem.

The following is a very brief overview of the situation:

Under no circumstances are we looking to defraud the company out of cash, or anything as sinister as that, no, what we’re looking to do, is just make everything seem a little better than it actually is. As such, option F has been selected, and there are currently many ways to put this plan into operation.

It could be, that the businesses you oversee, are losing accounts through natural wastage: people dying, for example, and yet as a result of the management through fear system, that your company runs under, the option F of False Accounting may always seem like the better choice.

Okay, now, any Area Manager worth his salt, will immediately see the flaw in the mentality of the above example. Looking at the bigger picture: if managers fail to report loss of accounts, only to falsify their figures to cover up for this over a period of years, ultimately, this will prove extremely damaging to the company as a whole.

It’s possible to cite numerous examples of where this type of communication breakdown has occurred. A breakdown that has led to the very thing everybody was looking to avoid in the first place: failure, or, as in the example given above, the collapse of a business or unnecessary strain placed on other branches of that same business (a chain of shops for example).

The management-through-fear principle, that so many businesses seem to run under, is a staggeringly limiting mentality. A business will never reach its full potential when managed in this way. To stress the point, if those who’re responsible for marketing the business, aren’t made aware of how things are at the ground (due to false accounting at branch manager level) how can they ever be expected to appreciate the necessity for variation, in their approach.

“Being led to believe all is well at the grassroots level, when it most definitely isn’t, is reflective of so many problems we experience in life.”

“The grass may well be dying at the borders, and all the time not be noticed, by those sitting in the middle of the garden.”

It reminds me of a child who’s unable to tell a parent the truth of a situation for fear of the potential consequences. This is the case of course, when a parent blames the child for their own failings: an unfortunate and all too common state of affairs. When children make mistakes it’s often simply because that’s what they need to learn in that moment in time.

Breaking mother’s favourite vase for example, because we were running around the house in an uncontrolled and excited manner, was not the fault of childhood, it was the fault of the parent who failed to set boundaries through explaining cause and effect.

“When around valuable objects it’s not wise to play cowboys and Indians dear: you might break something, so go outside, now!”

So, bringing the case in hand back on point, when our mentality is driven by fear of the potential consequences, and we’re doing adult things, in an adult world, (running a business) disaster beckons. A grown mentality is to own up to our failings and do this through seeing the importance of the bigger picture. It may well be the case, that what is seen as a simple piece of harmless false accounting (or creative-accounting as I’ve heard it described) may lead on to far more damaging consequences in the long term.

“We must all stop being so damned self-centered, it’s a f**cking disaster, waiting to happen.”

Option E: The informed choice of an adult mind