Linvin leaned on his desk and blew a smoke ring. “That fills some gaps in my information, but it is largely what I expected. My dear Count, I have a business proposition for you. As a businessman, I hope that you will hear me out.”
Venicci smiled and said, “There is never harm in hearing a business proposal. Please proceed.”
“My father was a great man. This company has become so large that I doubt even he could have managed all the affairs he once did. Furthermore, I plan to expand the company. I have the capital, but I do not have the people to handle that capital.
“It is clear to me that the company’s system of handling finances is inadequate and an open invitation for impropriety. For that reason, I plan to streamline the finances of my company. I cannot afford to lose vendors over clerical errors, whether deliberate or accidental.
“I also need accountants whom I can trust. If I were to disappear from the world, I would want the Grithinshield Trading Company to continue without missing a thing.
“In summary, Count Venicci, I want to hire you and your family to handle all of my company’s accounting. You will see that every bill is paid in a timely fashion. You will audit all books, including the stores. Your family will monitor inventory and compare it to what the ledgers say we are supposed to have. Buyers working for the company will also be subject to audits.
“Inasmuch as it was a matter of public record, I know how much your family earned for their former duties. I am willing to pay you that figure, plus ten percent.”
The Count folded his arms and tilted his head as he looked at Linvin. “That is an intriguing proposal, but my family has more wealth than we could spend in a lifetime. Why would we bother running your assets?”
Linvin inched closer to his guest. “In a word, pride. Your clan has just been dishonored and has no use for their time. You do not wish to sink all your resources into your own bank for fear of loss. If you sit on your money, you will fade away into obscurity and Gredly will have beaten you.
“Now, consider what will happen when you accept my proposal. You will be allied with the most powerful trading force in this country and one day, the world. The Veniccis will hold a place of honor again, with arms that can stretch as far as your imagination will let them. My company is the only one that can afford to pay what you deserve and the only company grand enough to deserve your services.”
Venicci nodded along. “That is quite the sales pitch. Dirk could not have done better had he been here, but there remains unanswered questions. For example, why hire us? If you are looking for a competent accountant, there are many far cheaper than my family.”
“You said it yourself,” Linvin answered. “You do not need the money. If I had a store full of food, I would not hire a starving man to guard it.
“My company will be run professionally, cleanly and in an orderly fashion. There will be no payoffs, kickbacks, extortion, skimming, or any other similar behaviors tolerated by anyone in this company. Having your unique family history, you have seen every trick ever invented. You know all the angles. Those games will not happen in my company. You will see to that and root out corruption from within.”