Zingerman's News

The “Secrets” of Open Book Finanace

This week, Zingerman’s Training (aka, ZingTrain) was profiled in Crain’s Detroit Business Weekly!


No secrets: Businesses find it pays to open books to employees

By Dustin Walsh

Private businesses have traditionally operated from the top down — executives passing along only the information deemed “safe” for employee eyes.

But that’s not the case for the nine companies in Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor.

Owners Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw practice open-book management, the business practice of sharing financial and decision-making duties among all employees.

“Our employees really get a chance to participate in the business,” Weinzweig said. “They are learning how to manage money and how to run a business.”

It’s the employees who manage expenses, monitor operating margins and develop new products. This opens a new realm of business transparency, one that can eliminate the “us vs. them” mentality between management and employees.

Private companies are known to hide net profits and keep books closed to protect competitive advantage, said David Brophy, finance professor and director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan‘s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

“I think it’s amazing that a company is willing to do this,” he said. “It shows they have tremendous confidence in their ability and have obviously learned the positive gains exceed the potential risk of revealing trade secrets.”


Read the rest of the article here and, to learn more about ZingTrain and our Fun, Flavorful Finance Seminar, click here.