I have written in the past about finance having too strong a voice in too many companies, but now I want to mention managing finance from overseas. Find that previous post on finance being too strong here.
I had a factory leader tell me, “Jim, finance is tricky stuff and needs to be managed by finance people.” Oh brother. Electrical engineering can be managed by finance leaders but finance leaders cannot be managed by Engineers? Electrical engineering is easy for the layman to understand and Finance is not apparently. It is a madness that ruins companies.
To go on in this flow of ideas, we should never have a GM who is not an electrical engineer managing electrical engineers, right? How much is that Engineer and his design worth to the company? How often do they leave because of the actions of finance people who get the owner wrapped around their finger? We need accountants or bookkeepers to tell us what we have done. We need finance people to help us plan use of our funds. We should not have them work outside that realm usually or have independence from local management.
I have seen China GM’s misuse funds, but I have never seen funds actually lost. I have seen companies lose millions or lose total traction due to finance not being kept in check.
So back to managing finance from overseas. If you have a GM in China that you fear will run off with your money, then get a new one. Don’t make your China organization dysfunctional because of your natural fears. Do virtual when you must for project work, but not when you fail to find or trust leadership here.