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Mom says, “Eat your vegetables.” Your banker says, “Hire an accountant.”

My mom made my brother and I believe that eating spinach would give us biceps like Popeye’s—steaming battleships included.

While none of the four biceps among us ever grew to a size adequate enough to attract a woman the quality of Ms. Olive Oyl, we actually ended up liking spinach.  And as a result, we grew to embrace vegetables as part of a healthy diet.

Eat Your VegetablesIt dawned on me recently that many small businesses view accounting with the same jaundiced eye in which many kids view vegetables.  It’s supposed to be good for you, but is it worth the “bad taste” (i.e. the expense, time commitment, tedious record-keeping, exposing the “guts” of your business, etc.) to find out if it really helps?  Let me answer with a resounding “yes”.

As a banker, I’ve had the privilege of working with small businesses in the Central Texas area for over 20 years.  I don’t know if there’s a group of harder working, talented, giving and fun-loving people than those who make these businesses hum.

Most business owners seem to intrinsically know how well their business is operating (i.e. if it’s selling enough widgets to pay the bills).  What many don’t know, however, are the subtle details and shifts in trends that often signal big changes coming down the road.

A business owner that learns to rely on regularly updated financial statements has a real advantage over a competitor who wings it.

The importance of accounting

Accounting is the language of business.  Done well and timely, it tells the story of a business and offers direction to managers, bankers, and investors, assisting these stakeholders in making critical decisions to help the business survive and thrive.

When a business owner or manager comes to me with timely, detailed financial statements, our conversation is dramatically different than when talking about generalities and assumptions of a business’s results.  Our discussion is immediately productive and we are miles ahead as we arrive at a solution to fit that particular business’s needs.  It is an early sign that this business owner is serious and committed to the success of their business.

So, eat your spinach.  Hire an accountant.  And soon enough, you will be pummeling that Bluto competitor of yours and winning the hand of Olive Oyl in short order.

About the Author:

Darrell Rollins is an executive vice president and commercial lending officer at Central National Bank.  He likes a good blues band, a book on the beach, and a mountain bike ride through Waco’s Cameron Park.  One night, he killed a snake in his backyard.  That same night, he spent eight hours in the ER receiving treatment for a snake bite.




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