BIZTIPS - August 15, 2004

Biz Tips: Keep your Eye on the Numbers
Sunday, August 15, 2004
By Art Hill

A recent article about the sale of Boise’s timberlands included a quote by an independent lumber company owner “You get management by people with green eyeshades on rather than professional forest managers.” His seemed to be saying that running a business “by the numbers” is a bad thing.

Well maybe. If keeping investors happy with short-term profits is more important  than the long-term good of your company, then you need to re-think your priorities.  But if you manage your books as carefully as you manage your products and services, then there’s nothing wrong with a “green eyeshades” (accounting) view of your business.

In fact, most recent news about business includes news about accounting. Good accounting, bad accounting, fraud, rules, compliance with new regulations, even jokes. 

It wasn’t always that way.  A few years ago, accounting scandals were pretty much limited to cash theft and tax frauds. Praise for good accounting practice was limited to employee reviews in the bookkeeping department.

Now corporate financial strategy can challenge a chess master. Even small companies are expected to comply with a web of accounting and tax regulations that make experts wonder how long we can keep up.

But the good news is that the tools are better too.  If you’re running even the smallest business without PC-based accounting software, you’re probably wasting your time and the potential of your business. Several years ago a business I know started e-mailing a copy of their PC-based accounting files to their CPA every month.  The next day all of their month-end reports are complete and ready for signing. They track their cash, payables, and receivables on-screen every week. How good is that!

So our latest BizTip is this: keep your eye on the numbers. Brush up on basic financial management tools, and get them working for your business. Information and simple worksheets on cash flow management, product profitability, the impact of raising or cutting prices, and much more are at the BMCC Small Business Develpment Center web page. Choose the first link ( and “BIZTOOLS” from the menu or gray action bar across the top. It may not change life on earth as we know it, but it could change the future of your business.  And you won’t even need green eyeshades.

Content © 2004 East Oregonian