I grew up in the car business. My grandfather had Oldsmobile, Chevrolet and Ford dealerships. Then Cadillac, GMC and Chrysler dealerships joined the roster under my dad's watch. I worked in almost every department of my family's dealerships, but eventually, I gravitated toward the accounting office. I became my dad's controller, and that's where I discovered the importance of purchase orders.
I'll never forget the day my dad came back from a large meeting and reported that everyone there was complaining about business expenses being out of control. Then, he had me create fictitious invoices from our parts department and send them to all the group members. Every member sent us a check to pay the phony invoice for which they had not received any goods or services.
How did they miss that detail? The group members believed that they were controlling expenses by signing every check personally. That's right, these successful business owners were trying to keep all their expenditures straight with no approval process. Of course, my dad handed the checks back at the next meeting, but not without a speech advocating for the use of purchase order systems in their businesses.