Thursday, 20 May 2010

Money for nothing

Asked what happened to the money he had earned, George Best famously said, "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

Michael Carroll, a man of fewer talents than George Best, is in the news today because he wants his job as a dustbin man back. He won a £9.7M fortune in 2002 on the National Lottery and now all the money has gone and there are strong similarities in the way that it was spent. There is the sense with both the footballer and the "lotto lout" that they have lost track of where all their cash went. Mr Carroll at least has enough insight to be able to identify part of the problem in saying that, as a nineteen year-old, he didn't have the temperament to be able to look after millions of pounds. He also admits to spending a spectacular amount on drugs. George Best died from all the drink.

The moral lesson is clear: money doesn't buy happiness. The practical lesson is even more tedious: it pays to know how you are spending your money. It is not surprising to find that the chaotic personal life of someone like Michael Carroll does not for careful checking of day-to-day expenditure. It is more disappointing to realise that there are businesses that cannot keep track of payments. Their owners have as much chance of success as Mr Carroll has of getting his old job back.

Don't be a loser. Make sure somebody in your business has the basic bookkeeping skills to look after the money. An accounting course from the Accounting and Bookkeeping College could save you a fortune.

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