Read “Found Money” and Improve Your Business and Your Life

If someone had told me that I would be THIS excited about finance and accounting book, I would have probably let out a big fat raspberry sound.  I barely tolerated my finance and accounting courses through college and business school.  And I looked forward to financial review meetings about as much as you might look forward to a root canal.  By now, you get the picture.  Finance and accounting don’t rank as one of my favorite topics.

So why am I so excited about Steve Wilkinghoff’s book Found Money: Simple Strategies for Uncovering the Hidden Profit and Cash Flow in Your Business?  I’m excited because Wilkinghoff has re-framed the dreaded subject matter of finance and accounting into something I can get excited about – MAKING MORE MONEY!  I’ve got your attention now, don’t I?!

Found Money is FUN

Found Money - a book for small businesses to learn how to make moneyI originally purchased this book to review as part of my must-read books of 2009.  But I didn’t get to reading it until this past week when I started preparing my tax documentation to ship off to my CPA.  Talk about good timing!  This is the perfect time to read this book since I’m already pulling my financial statements together and taking stock in what my most profitable activities were this pastyear.

This has to be the MOST FUN I’ve had reading about this topic – EVER.  WIlkinghoff’s style and tone through this whole book is so light, so personable and so friendly that you’ll find yourself tearing through this content at lightning speed.

This is a fun read because of Steve’s enthusiasm for the subject and mostly because his simple, basic outlook on how to make your business more profitable.

Steve Wilkinghoff Teaches Us a Lesson in Positioning

Steve Wilkinghoff is a trained accountant.  He’s a financial professional – just like millions of accountants and Chief Financial Officers out there.  But Steve has done something that few of them have done; he’s positioned himself as a financial professional who is dedicated to helping business owners make MORE MONEY.  He doesn’t call himself an accountant (actually, he mentions it in the book, but he doesn’t dwell on it).  He calls himself a Capital Advisor ® (notice the registered trademark).  He’s set himself apart from accountants by using his knowledge to help you actively manage your business to more profitability rather than just report on what happened.

Wilkinghoff uses his extensive experience as a business owner, accountant and financial advisor to bring the financial ratios to life.  He takes the time to explain terms like Return on Investment and Gross Margin in a way that actually got me excited and curious about what MY ratios were and if I was getting the most return on MY investment.

Are You Running Your Business, or Is Your Business Running You?

One of my favorite parts of this book is actually the very beginning.  In Chapter 1 Steve asks the most important question of all “What is the Purpose of Your Business?”  He goes through a list of common answers – many different answers.  But the real answer is the same for every business.  The purpose of your business is … to make money.

The rest of the chapters take you on a journey toward more profitability and more balance and happiness in your life.  After all, it’s hard to be happy if you’re working yourself to death and not making any money.

In Chapter 2, he asks “When does your business make money?”  This is where Wilkinghoff breaks the hold of a nasty urban legend that a business is profitable if it has enough money to pay its debts.  He claims that a business is only successful and profitable if you, as the business owner, have the freedom to live your desired lifestyle.  If your business is running you ragged, you’re not profitable.  That is refreshing.

“To make more money a business MUST do three things:

  1. Generate a positive net profit
  2. Give you an adequate return on investment
  3. Generate a strong enough positive cash flow”

In Chapters 3 through Chapter 5 Steve shows you how to do these three things and, in the process, brings new life to all your favorite financial metrics; net profit, return on investment, gross margin and cash flow.

There are worksheets in the book that will help you see how your business is doing.  I’d recommend that you go online to and play around with the worksheets that Wilkinghoff provides, and get a Found Money Analysis.

Quick – Get This Book!

If you’re an accountant, financial advisor or CFO who is struggling in finding new, more profitable clients – get this book. You will learn some valuable positioning and marketing lessons on how to set yourself apart by aligning your expertise with the deepest goals of the business owner, i.e., running a profitable business and having a life.

Business owners and managers who have P&L responsibility will learn about the critical profit drivers that affect their business.  You also will learn how to get your employees excited and engaged about the financial drivers that impact  profitability.

If your business is in the mode of doing more with less (whose isn’t?) do NOT wait – get this book today and you could see an improvement within the next 30 days!


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

11 Reactions
  1. How does a “big fat raspberry sound” sound like?! 😉 I like the title, Capital Advisor! 🙂

  2. @Martin – A big fat raspberry is the sound you make when you stick your tongue between your lips and blow really hard while your face twists and contorts into a nasty, grizzled funny shape. 🙂

    Seriously – so completely love this book for the product and service management component as well as what many small business owners in “overcrowded” market spaces can learn from his example.

  3. Wow, this Steve guy sounds like a total stud! I mean, anyone who can make accounting exciting must be pretty cool. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention; I’ve already placed an order on Amazon.

  4. A friend in business, posted her year in review with regards to where her income was generated between the personal referral/ networking contact and online customers.

    It was interesting to see the numbers as a reflection of effective marketing.

    Sounds to me like Steve’s book is a must have for every entrepreneur and business owner.

    Just enrolled in a course that emphasizes the smart use of time in order to have time to live and play.

    No point leaving money on the table! Thanks for a great review.

  5. @Tyler – “Total Stud?” I’m sure Steve would love to hear that! Actually, the tone of the book sounds like he’s a pretty logical, common sense guy. I just love reading and interacting with people who so completely love what they do that “studly” just might be the descriptor.

  6. Total Stud?

    I love it, and thanks for the happy thoughts. Now when I put my accountant’s pocket protector in my shirt, I can imagine myself using that moniker.

    Seriously, though, thank you for your entusiasm toward my book. I really do enjoy spreading the message that making money in any business isn’t hard – it’s just a matter of getting the fundamentals nailed down, and then multiplying them as many times as needed to produce the financial result the owners want.

    Bye for now

    Steve Wilkinghoff

  7. Thanks for the tip Ivana,
    Once readers have finished the book they may like to try a new product just released to the market this week called One Minute Business Checkup. In the hustle and bustle of business it’s sometimes hard to finish reading a book but most people have a minute to see how their business is going. Any one who would like to have a go and find out in a minute if their business has something critically wrong with it can go to ..and i almost forgot to say It’s FREE

  8. Even if you can’t bring yourself to love accounting, make sure a key player in your organization does! We’ve recently started thinking about our cash flow cycle as beginning with the lead and looking at how long it takes to convert the $ invested from that moment forward to cash; not just DSO, or the time from invoice to cash. Very eye opening.