“What do you tell your clients who are embarrassed about the state of their financial records?”

The fact that you feel embarrassed about your financial records may be a sign that you want to bring about a change within this area of your business.  It may be your business’s way of alerting you that you need to take a look and make a change.

But first let’s address the feeling of being embarrassed.  In the 12+ years I’ve been working within the financial aspects of businesses, including my own business, former employers’ businesses, and the businesses of my clients, I’ve learned a few things about financial records falling into a state of disarray or even total chaos.

It might help to know that you are not alone and you’re not even in the minority!  Many business owners fall behind with the financial aspects of their business and most feel just like you do – really embarrassed and unsure how to share with someone else just how bad things have gotten. 

You’d probably never know it from the outside, but in my interactions with hundreds of small businesses over the years, I’ve come to recognize that more often than not, small business owners are usually pretty far behind with their bookkeeping.

I’ve met people that have been in business for two decades and their offices are harboring drawers full of receipts, old bank statements, and invoices that should have made it out the door but never did.  It’s actually not uncommon to be in a position where the business has taken your focus away from the books and consumed your time in such a fashion that you are now completely behind and haven’t even filed taxes in a year or two.

Even the most diligent and detailed people have confided in me that their records are “a disgrace.”  That’s not how I see it though.  I actually see it as an opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation.  There’s nothing better than the feeling you get when you tackle an aged and overwhelming project and figure out a way to keep from ever having to go back to that circumstance again. 

Chaotic financial matters provide a huge growth potential for your business!  If you’ve been able to keep your business running with a mess in the “back office,” just imagine what you could do with that mess all sorted out!

I think of it as a blessing in disguise and you might too – once you get through the feelings of embarrassment and shame which are so natural and normal when you’re in that position.

So how do you work through that part of the matter?

The first step is to step back and take a deep breath.

Think for a moment about what I’ve shared here: Most small business owners are behind with their financial record keeping. 

Then say, aloud or silently, “I’m not the only one who falls behind.”  Say it a few more times.

Feel into it as you are saying it.  Take a few more deep breaths.  Give yourself permission to not feel embarrassed.

I give you permission to free yourself from the embarrassment you’ve been feeling.  I share with you the realistic truth that you’re not the only one.  So let yourself off the hook and send that needless shame right out the door!


By Jessica Reagan Salzman