My cofounder and I were gone for three days and everything fell apart

My business was 8 months old and it’s been a roller coaster. One day I thought we had the next Google. The next I thought we would fail by the end of the year. Whenever both of us cofounders were away, chaos seemed to erupt.

I had to go to China to place the orders for next year. My cofounder wanted to go to NYC to see potential investors. We both wanted to go at the same time.

I said the business was too volatile and the employees too inexperienced for both of us to be away for two weeks. He said we weren’t married to the business needed to trust our employees.

We both ended up going away at the same time. Three days after we left, I got a text saying our merchandise manager decided to join our competitor and just walked out. The accountant didn’t come into work and never told anyone. He was supposed to run payroll so no one got paid. Finally, there was a robbery at our newly opened shop. They took all the money and a lot of merchandise. They also broke the door and the glass in front.

My partner got on the next plane back from NYC.

The sales team were misusing their travel privilegs

The sales people travelled a lot. The sales manager signed their expenses. I was supposed the sign the manager’s expenses. Our accountant comes in once a month to do the books. Last month he expressed his concern to me about the rising costs of the sales force. We now had three people plus the manager.

I began to look over their expense claims and noticed they were staying in expensive hotels, bought very expensive meals and drinks, and stayed overnight at places where they could easily drive home. When I questioned the manger, he said these were all legitimate expenses and it cost a lot to entertain customers. I suggested we establish an expense policy. At first he resisted but then agreed. The next month I checked and there was no real change in behavior.  I told the manager he needed to act now.

The next thing I learned through a friend was that the sales manager was seen in a hotel with a woman who wasn’t his wife in city X. I checked his expenses because he was supposed to be in city Y. There was a receipt from a hotel in city X but when I called the hotel, there was no record of his stay.

I hate confrontation, but met him the next morning. He denied everything and got really upset with me. He got very angry but couldn’t explain the situation. I told him we were going to audit all of the sales team’s expense for the past year. He got up, told me he quit, and left the building.

 

Transparency audit theft expense reports trust employees corruption