Where is the Money?

“Where’s the money?” I asked.

Luis looked at me and squinted. “What do you mean, where’s the money?”

“Look, you asked me to come here and help you straighten out this mess. Where’s the money?” I repeated.

“That’s the problem, there isn’t any money,” Luis replied.

“Yes, there is, there always is. Luis, the first resource a manager has to manage is capital. But before you can manage it, you have to find out where it is. Sometimes you think you know where it should be, but if that’s not where it is, you can’t manage it.

Sometimes your capital is tied up in a machine. Sometimes your capital is tied up in unbilled work in process. Sometimes your capital is tied up in Accounts Receivable. Once you find out where your capital is, only then can you manage it. So, where’s the money?”

A raw nerve had been struck. Luis shuffled some papers on his desk. “It’s here,” he said, pointing to the third column in his AR aging report. “It’s over 60.”

“Well, now we know where it is, we can manage it.”

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