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Troubleshooting Tool #12 - Owner Signs ALL Checks

Updated: Apr 1

Many small business owners feel inept when it comes to protecting their business finances. Our Financial Protection Toolkit series is designed to offer twelve tools (or controls) you can implement in your business to give you the necessary transparency, accessibility, and control over your business to radically reduce the risk of financial malfeasance. As we conclude this series, there is one more control to consider.

Owner Signs All Checks

The owner of the business should sign all checks. As you read this, you probably are saying, “Wait a minute! This should be the first control to implement; not the last!” If it were twenty years ago, we would be inclined to agree with you. Given the modern age of technology we now find ourselves, the likelihood of all your business payments being physical checks is not realistic. That is why we put this control at the bottom of our list of controls.

Blue background with hammer and the number 12
Signing physical checks today is a control with limited value.

Most small businesses now use ACH or credit cards to purchase goods and services more often than printing, signing, and mailing physical checks. If this is you and signing checks is your sole financial control, it is not hard to conclude you have unnecessary financial risk exposure. When it comes down to it, the combination of the financial controls noted in our Financial Protection Toolkit provide much better visibility, accountability and use of your time than merely signing all the physical checks.

Signing all checks has some value, just not as much compared to other controls. Certainly, it does not measure up well in the absence of all other controls. For instance, the control value of signing a check is nullified if you do not actively review attached supporting documentation. If you are just signing checks to sign checks, well then, you will miss something important.

If you do not also review your bank and/or credit card transactions online on a scheduled basis, how will you know what other payments are hitting the bank? And, honestly, are you around enough to sign all the checks? How are payments made in your absence? Are you signing blank checks? Hopefully not!

As you can see, the practicality of all payments made via physical check in a digital age is just not as realistic or effective as it once was. Does it have a place? Sure, you can do this, but you must have other controls in place to effectively address electronic and credit card payments, too. The good news is we have provided a comprehensive list of tools you can implement right away to address all these situations and protect your business. Request the complete Financial Protection Toolkit below.

Our hope is the Financial Protection Toolkit series will be helpful to you and your small business. We hope you feel empowered to implement these tools, so you can effectively protect your investment, while nurturing and growing your business.

Should you have any questions on this or other Financial Protection Toolkit posts, please contact me at

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