For at least twenty years, I have been signing checks. In every business I have started or managed, it was just one of those responsibilities that went with the territory, or so I thought. After all, shouldn't the boss have ultimate responsibility for how the income was being spent?
About three years ago, on my return from a speaking tour, I took note of the stack of mail and invoices on my desk. It was substantial. Even though our regular bills (telephone, utilities, etc.) were paid automatically, there was still a small pile of envelopes on my desk every day awaiting my attention. Contractors needed to be paid, bills approved, staff paid, and so on. It would take me at least twenty to thirty minutes just to go through all the bills, write the checks, and then a few more minutes to file everything. It was a distraction I didn't need and took time away from more client focused tasks.
I decided to fight my habit and, for the first time, give my manager signing rights to our account. My plan was to create a prudent compromise: she would deal with items under $500, and I would sign off on larger items. As we walked to the bank to sign the necessary signature cards, it dawned on me that setting such a low signing limit would still keep me busy, and didn't really demonstrate my trust in her. After all, if I trusted her to sign every small item, I should trust her to sign all of the checks. So I decided to increase the limit to $1,500. Again, it was a compromise that still tied me to the process.