True confessions: I started out ‘numbers challenged’


This is going to be a “confessions” column to try to lure all those folks who love or hate working with farm bookkeeping, records and finances into really enjoying themselves at the From Bookkeeper to CFO workshops this fall.
Now, I know many people do not share my passion for financial analysis of farm businesses, but it is really cool what just a few numbers can tell you about what is going on in a farm business. And, frankly, no farm is going to continue to do really well unless they have someone who really likes it, does a good job, and is valued by the rest of the management team.
True confessions. A few months ago, my parents came to visit toting a file folder full of my old report cards.
I was crushed to see I had earned not one, but two C’s in the “solves simple problems” category of arithmetic for the first 12 weeks of first grade.
Apparently something clicked into gear after that, as the year-end grade was an A.
At the other end of the spectrum, after taking placement tests before freshman classes started at Ohio State, I was told to take advanced math classes.
Flattering, but unrealistic.
I was pretty sure this placement had something to do with luck.
Standard test-taking strategy says if you don’t finish an exam in the allotted time, fill in something for the problems you didn’t get done. And I didn’t finish calculating all of the answers on that test – and didn’t start taking advanced math classes right away.
More than the checkbook. The point is, you don’t have to be a math whiz or an accountant to be more than “the bookkeeper” for your farm business.
And that is what every farm business must have. We are way past the write-the-checks and balance-the-checkbook “bookkeeper” job description era in farm business management.
Now we have to have someone who is really good at all that plus someone who can:


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