Over the years, as I consult with most businesses and organizations, I find myself preaching of the benefit of internally prepared, timely and accurate financial reporting. This is certainly a difficult task for many, however, in this day and age of advanced accounting software, ranging from Quickbooks to complex SAP systems, it is very possible to achieve. How can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you are now? This sounds very simple, but, many drive their businesses or organizations on anecdotal or misinformation. How can they succeed or achieve goals that way? Possible, just not probable.
A couple weeks ago, I was invited to a special lunch coordinated by Brian Perry, AVP of Government Relations with HCR-Manorcare. Brian had arranged for Congressman Jim Renacci to come to Toledo to meet some businesses. I was not familiar with Congressman Renacci until that day. He represents the 16th district of Ohio. His district covers the west side of Cleveland, including Parma.
Jim has a very unique background for a representative. A CPA, he had been with a major firm. He left in the early 80’s to create a management company for skilled nursing facilities(nursing homes). He grew his company to a very formidable size and he sold in the early 2000’s. From there, he acquired a variety of businesses, including a Chevrolet dealership. He lost this dealership when the Government bailed out the auto companies. His frustration motivated him to run for Congress, where he is now serving his second term.
At our lunch, two others from the community could not attend which left me with pretty much a private audience with Jim. We covered many subjects all of which I found fascinating. Jim has a high desire to meet with business leaders throughout the state, sharing his view and getting feedback. How refreshing it was to hear him start our conversation stating that he was not here to raise funds, but, to make connections and learn.
Now to the fun part. Jim has introduced a bill, with bipartisan support, to require the federal government to have annual financial statements. What? The federal government doesn’t have a balance sheet? How do we actually know what the deficit is? What is the value of the huge amounts of land and natural resources that we own? To tell you the truth, I never really thought about it, as most have not. Other countries do this, why can’t we? Sure, there would be haggling over valuations, but, what is in our inventory? How much in assets does the military really have? How much do we leave in Afghanistan and Iraq?
The AICPA has already endorsed this and Jim and I talked about the major accounting firms participating in the pursuit. To me, it will add perspective toward our budget, the deficit and ways to move forward fiscally, as a country.
Knowing where you are does provide a much clearer path toward where you want to go into the future. Whether you are a business, a non-profit and perhaps, even our own country timely and accurate financial statements are required. Let me know what you think about this.