day 266: Good Bookkeeping

I was having lunch yesterday with a former public accountant and CFO. As we talked about many things, one of the topics we touched on were the challenges of financial accounting in these days of high-scrutiny, increased government regulations, and an overall anxiety from shareholders about how companies are managed and in particular, how the financial accounting is being done and reported. A Chief Accounting Officer that I once worked with taught me that a good bookkeeper (the old-fashioned term for financial controllers and accountants) is continuously examining the books and the financial records, and at the end of the financial period, where it be a month, quarter or fiscal year, that the process should be in place for a very fast close. He used to to say that a slow close left time for creativity. And, as we all know, two words that should never be paired are “creative” and “accounting”. The lesson learned from good bookkeeping is that there must be constant examination and scrutiny to ensure that the books are being kept correctly and that the numbers add up. It just makes sense. Yet in our own lives, how often do we do our self-examinations to assure ourselves that we are being who we say we want to be and more importantly, who God wants us to be? If you are like me, not often enough. We might leave that examination period to be on Sunday morning, for example. Or we may leave that examination time for when we are in trouble and need to rethink how we are living because we are in a jam or a bad space. But, as the good bookkeeper knows; to find a problem after the end of a financial period, is to find a problem way too late. The only way to ensure that everything adds up and can be accounted for is to be looking at the books every single day. We must learn to do the same. King David not only examined himself continuously, he would go deep into his own personal accounting. We read in Psalm 77:6; “I search my soul and ponder the difference now.” He searched his soul to see where he stood in the eyes of God and to determine where he needed to make life course corrections. How often are we taking an account of our lives? How regularly do we self-examine our own personal books? Today, would be a good day to take a few minutes and check and see if everything is adding up the way you think God wants you to be? Today would be good day to do some good bookkeeping to make sure that all is in order, just in case today you are called to close your book!

Reference: Psalm 77:6 (New Living Testament)