USA What to do in this situation with a business owner...


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Hello, All! I am in year two of being the only accountant for a firm. They previously had high turnover in this position. I quickly have found out why... The business owner has nothing to do with the business and is elderly, but instead of retiring has given themselves (ejecting gender here just to keep this as vague as possible) a fake job title in order to keep a salary of well over $200,000 (more than twice what the CEO/directors make), we pay ALL of the bills for the business owner, bonuses and pay increases whenever they want, and now most recently I walked into work and found out the owner had withdrawn a very large sum of money from the account in order to purchase a "company car" (which is really a car for themselves that will ONLY be used for personal use and not be on company grounds essentially ever). This withdrawal/purchase was not previously discussed and completely blindsided me. We had a vendor needing to be paid a sum of money close to that amount that now we don't have the funding for.

The company is at a high risk of going under if these reckless decisions continue. I understand that I'm "just the accountant", but also I don't want to be the sole accountant at the point the company goes into financial turmoil because you know that it will fall back on myself somehow. I am currently looking for other positions, but still curious as to if there's any way to salvage this job.
 

kirby

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Job can be salvaged:
IF owner ends their $200K salary
AND IF business stops paying owner bonuses and pay increases and personal bills
AND IF owner returns "company" car
AND IF elephants fly (other than Dumbo)
MEANING - NOPE, bail out ASAP.
 
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Job can be salvaged:
IF owner ends their $200K salary
AND IF business stops paying owner bonuses and pay increases and personal bills
AND IF owner returns "company" car
AND IF elephants fly (other than Dumbo)
MEANING - NOPE, bail out ASAP.
I got a good little laugh, and maybe shed a tear at this comment. Lol. Thank you for the honesty. I agree at this point.
 

bklynboy

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Like it or not owner makes all the key decisions. As long as you are not being ethically compromised there is little you can do. Look for another job since not much will change.
 
J

John Baker

The reason for being hired in the first place was to be the scapegoat for bills not being paid - period. Your the one who this owner will deflect all conversations about not being paid on time and having to chase after the money owned to others. These people are consummate actors when it comes to being approached about... "where's my money?" These people belong to social groups, fraternities, yacht clubs, country clubs, and so forth., all for contacts and putting on a front of being a real nice guy. They will invariable hire CPA's and law firms that guide their every move to make them cash rich at the expense of everyone else.
Pay special attention if this individual goes for refinancing. What's typical for individuals like this, is, they will go for refinancing, at a hefty sum, and you'll assume this is to pay for the bills. However, these kinds of people often bonus themselves with every penny, thus leaving, everyone else holding the bag.
Has your company been up for collection by creditors/vendors? Another sign of "cash out and bail."
All to often, individuals like yourself will find yourself in a spot like this, while the job market is in the dumps. Not too many employers hiring accountants at your level. So, either find a new job, move to find a new job, or stick it out and end up dealing with what you have.
On the flip side to all this is the company's reputation being part of you professional credentials on the next interview.
Whatever you do, do not divulge the internal operations of the employer that you're currently with, during a job interview. As bad as it may seem to you, an interviewer will assume your ranting sour grapes and will write you off in a heart beat. A reasonable response to why leaving is :
My current/past enterprise is now at a level where the ownership must take charge of more of my responsibilities. Out of respect for my current/past employer, I am held to a level of confidentiality and can not discuss that situation further.
 
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Don't be afraid. Blow the whistle. This man is cheating every taxpayer that endeavors to pay his/her fair share of taxes. You could also be rewarded for doing the right thing. See:

 
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Get out! Dont walk; Run!
But do give him the truth - he is destroying the company and jeopardizing his personal/family assets - when he is caught cheating on taxes, the consequences will be devastating. Who knows, maybe your actions will be the catalyst of change for him- extremely doubtful but possible nonetheless; regardless, don't wait for a change; get out of there.
 
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I faced a similar situation. A business owner friend asked me to step in and take over the financial and accounting duties for his company. He had a minority partner who actually ran the operation. A review of the books showed that the partners had all of his person bills paid by the company and they were recorded as "negative equity". We are talking about mortgage, car payments utilities, gifts and trips et al. I told my friend I would not touch those books under any circumstances and why. For me to present reports and IRS filings using these numbers, I would be guilty of fraud against the government and others. I told him to get this straightened out or he and the partner would face criminal charges by the IRS. I say get out of this mess now. There is no upside for you.
 

Samir

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I think you should call in sick until you have found other work and can quit. This is a no-win situation where the other mice have already gotten off the sinking ship.
 
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J

John Baker

You're in a position where you're darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don't.
Regardless, play it smart for your future.
DON'T - just bailout and leave this company without a proper notice. A two week notice is acceptable.
DON'T - badmouth this company, its ownership, management, in anyway. You're a professional, mature and responsible.
DON'T - talk to anyone about what you see and your appraisal of this company's environment.

I gave you a suggestion on how to look for other work and how to interview - use it.

Remember, whoever is responsible for the situation that you working in, is no fool. They're smart, they cover their tracks,
and they have set the stage so nothing sticks to them.

Just plan ahead, be quite about your plans, be patient with your job searching and bide your time. Whatever you do, don't
take a "fill in" job like working at a gas station, a desk clerk at a motel, or other job just to get out. That shows and future
interviewer that your despart for work.. and one question after another... "so what goes on at that company." Don't
even think about responding to that kind of questioning, no matter how casual that question is asked.
 

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