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The Ford Motor Co., 1946

A quote from 'The Whiz Kids: The Founding Fathers of American Business--and the Legacy They Left Us.'

"The accounting department was slapped together only because the tax laws and the Internal Revenue Service forced the company to do so for tax purposes. It functioned for no other purpose, and certainly not as a tool of management. Ford wouldn't know until the end of the year what his automobiles cost to produce nor how much money his company would make. . . .

"Near their desks in the Rotunda was what amounted to the Accounts Payable department. Every invoice the company received was piled in alphabetical order on wooden sleds. On the other side of the stacks were the receipts. When the company received a bill, it would look for the receipt, pin the two together and mail out the check -- always months late. To find out how much money was owed at any time, they'd stack the bills up and measure them by the foot."

-- From The Whiz Kids: The Founding Fathers of American Business -- and the Legacy They Left Us by John A. Byrne (Currency/Doubleday, 1993)

Last updated: Feb 1, 1994

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