Inc. 5000 honorees tell us how they would tackle a common business challenge. This month: Your employees want more financial transparency. Now what?

David Heath

Co-founder and CEO, Bombas (consumer products and services)
No. 175 2018 Rank | 2,457% Growth | $46.6M 2017 Revenue

"When transparency isn't a priority, it can create this sense of mystery: Are we doing well? Should I be looking for another job? So we present high-level finances on a quarterly basis and invite anyone to dive deeper during the CFO's monthly presentation. Not everyone will take us up on it. It can be boring. It can go over your head. But I think just knowing that the books are open establishes a level of trust."

Peter Maldonado

Co-founder and CEO, Chomps (food and beverage)
No. 124 2018 Rank | 3,141% Growth | $8.8M 2017 Revenue

"Transparency is powerful, because the more people understand our financials and goals, the more personal ownership we see. But you have to drill down from the overall financials to specifics. You don't need marketing staying up at night worrying about a different department's numbers."

Phil Shpilberg

Co-founder and president, GameChangerSF (advertising and marketing)
​No. 471 2018 Rank | 1,072% Growth | $9.5M 2017 Revenue

"You don't want to make people nervous for no reason. I share top-line financials in a live dashboard. It doesn't show cash flow. We're in a business where a lot of cash moves around, so the account might seem low, but we have credit."

Fran Dunaway

Co-founder and CEO, TomboyX (consumer products and services)
​No. 231 2018 Rank | 2,049% Growth | $8.7M 2017 Revenue

"If you're going to share, you have to do it in context. Do people care about revenue, or are they really asking why the company can't move into bigger offices? Exact revenue matters less than explaining that you're putting that money into inventory."

Hope Horner

Founder and CEO, Lemonlight (media)
​No. 371 2018 Rank | 1,338% Growth | $3M 2017 Revenue

"It depends on where you are. In the early days, we shared a lot less, because the future was scary. As we've grown, we can be more transparent about revenue, goals, projections. People can see those numbers at any time in shared documents, and we have an annual companywide meeting to talk through financials. Now I can't imagine sharing less."

Rankings and data are taken from the 2018 Inc. 5000: growth is calculated from 2014 to 2017; revenue is from 2017.

From the June 2019 issue of Inc. Magazine