She said if I had passion the question of whether I should start a business wouldn't be an issue

I was 43 years old when I decided I wanted to start my own company. I had worked in the strategy group of a major multinational. I was trained through the traditional training schemes but I never had responsibility for a profit and loss account or a major operating unit. I have a young family, mortgage, and aging parents. This was a huge decision for me. My friend suggested I talk with some people before I decided to leave my job.

The headhunter said it would be a wrong move for me. He said it would take me out of the corporate market and I wouldn’t be able to return. Another headhunter said the exact opposite and thought this would enhance my CV. A VC who is friends with my wife said I didn’t have the experience and thought I was risk-averse. I took a bunch of career and psychological tests; they were inconclusive.

I couldn’t make up my mind. I was paralyzed in terms of decision-making. I went to a FinTech conference and met a really impressive serial entrepreneur. I asked her advice and she looked me in the eyes and asked, “Where’s your passion? What’s your commitment? If you had these, you wouldn’t be going around in circles.”

Commitment accounting for stronger financial control

It was SO amazing to finally see a decent amount of money in the bank. The transfer of funds had just arrived from our first institutional investors and I was excited to no longer worry about where every penny was going.

My personal advocate had a different point of view. He said this was a dangerous time and that I needed to pay even more attention to the bank account. He suggested I sign every check and every bill and move to “commitment accounting.” This meant opening  a commitment document for every planned expenditure; it would show what we were spending, why, to whom, and the estimated cost. The document would be closed when the bill was finally paid. This would show if expenditures were more or less than planned.

My PA also suggested that every check over $2500 should be signed by two people. He said this was necessary to build discipline in the company and to exercise strong financial control as we grow.