EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Oops, I made a mistake!

It sure is a disappointment to find out you aren’t perfect.

I don’t know about you, but I have always enjoyed the fact that typically the spreadsheets of my life tie out. I guess it goes with the territory of being a senior financial executive. Most things in our lives are measurable or can be forecast with some accuracy.

Everything that is except for the people and companies we have to deal with when we are working, and especially late in our career.

And so it is that after a successful career with perhaps several large corporations, we join a company that loses money and/or goes out of business. Even worse, we may do this more than once over just a few years.

It is a blow to our pride and sense of perfection that this happens.

Well, as Joan Rivers would say: “Grow up!” What you are experiencing is PERFECTLY normal. (Notice how I got the word “perfect” in there.)

Even though we would like to believe that we can control things (and if you aren’t a control freak, I don’t know why you went into Finance and Accounting), the truth is that we actually have a lot less control and RESPONSIBILITY for the results of companies we join on short notice and at which we work for only short periods of time than we tend to feel and believe we had.

The only real issue we need to deal with is EXPLAINING it to everyone else in a believable manner. In order to do that, you need to believe the story you are telling. Since we are basically “truth tellers,” once you believe the “real” story, you will be able to tell it in a credible manner.

I start my belief system about all of you with the idea that you are honest and hard working. It’s not that everyone around you is an idiot. It is just that events can spin out of control and it often times isn’t really anyone’s fault.

I would also suggest that anyone who has not experienced failure try it sometime. It really isn’t as bad as most people think it is. How can you learn from your experiences if you have only succeeded? If you have only succeeded, is it possible that you didn’t push the envelope?

So, if you turn this around, the very fact that you have been involved with organizations that have failed has given you some of the most valuable experience anyone can get. And, to the benefit of your future employer, you have gotten it at someone else’s expense.

As any good accountant will tell you, it is always better to learn at someone else’s expense.

Regards, Matt

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