Do Employees Need To Know?

Jennifer is her husband's bookkeeper at his law firm. He wants to share the books with his employees. Jennifer isn't comfortable with it. What does Dave think?

QUESTION: Jennifer in Utah is her husband's bookkeeper at his law firm. He wants to share the books with his employees. Jennifer isn't comfortable with it. What does Dave think? Dave thinks Jennifer is right.

ANSWER: Dave Ramsey's advice: You are correct. There should be a separation. There should be very few people inside the organization that know the entire picture--and that's not paranoia. What it is, is wisdom. Unless you've grown and run a business, people emotionally--sometimes intellectually--don't know the difference between gross revenues and net profit. They look at the top line and they go, "That department's bringing in $1 million!" They have no idea that it cost $980,000 in expenses to bring in that $1 million so the stupid thing only netted $20,000.

There are a few people that have the rare talent to know information like that and it not ruin them. They generally end up as great controllers, CFOs and bookkeepers--those kinds of things. There are people that can emotionally carry that information, but not many. In a group of 300 folks here, five people know the whole deal. Other people know parts of the deal that have to do with them.

I think you're going to create more division than unity if you're not careful. I'm not being paranoid; I'm just trying to be wise.