Education and Experience

Dream RulesBorn with an innate sense of curiosity, I have always wanted to know: “Why?”

It didn’t take long to discover that parents, teachers and friends were wearied by an endless barrage of questions. In fact, discovery was made that they didn’t have the answers to many of my questions!

Then, in about the sixth grade, a treasure trove of information was found: A Library. Books galore, each with a story to tell, chock full of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. An education was just waiting for me.

As time marched forward, I learned much from the stories of others. It was one of those “Good News; Bad News” storylines. The Good News: I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel for each excursion into a new frontier. The Bad News: The view only changes for the lead dog.

Moral of all Stories: We can learn from others all that they know, and no more.

Unless we want to follow others, forever, there is a point of departure from the known, into the unknown. In fact, we can never duplicate the experience of another by listening to the stories of how they did something.

We are unique; our experiences will be, too.

Once our formal education ends, the real learning begins. The process is aptly referred to as the “School of Hard Knocks”. There are plenty of assignments, pop quizzes, final exams, and lessons to be learned. We choose the curriculum and face the consequences of our choices.

As our eyes are opened to Universal Principles, we quickly learn that there is a “right way”: a way that is right for us, individually. That way is different for each of us and can only be learned by courageously taking the steps along our, individual, journey of life.

No one else can do it for us. All of the stories from other people are of limited value. This is our life; we are Trailblazers. There are no maps for territories yet to be discovered.

Upon our return from the wilderness, we have stories to tell, an education to share.

The cycle repeats. Young people receive a glimpse into the world that waits. Soon, they leave the stories behind to do it, Their Way, and then learn: Good judgment comes from experience; Experience comes from bad judgment.

Over the course of our individual journeys, we learn that it takes both: Education and Experience.

Rules Kids Won’t Learn In School

Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase “It’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2: The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won’t make $60,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it, or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t. In some schools, they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone’s feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we’re at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

www.kimfoard.com

Riding for the Brand

Four V

On the prairies and frontiers of a century ago, men rode for the brand and women admired their efforts. The strong, silent types of the silver screen and sagebrush oceans were benevolently loyal and sternly kind. They were the original men of Steel and Velvet.

It was a time of personal responsibility and unlimited opportunity. The men and women of that era were keenly aware that the world was what they made of it — if it didn’t fit, they made alterations.

Young men traveled west in pursuit of their dreams. They came with all of their belongings in a bed-roll tied behind their saddle and a rifle in the scabbard. No horse, no cows, no land — nothing permanent. All they possessed was a crystal clear vision in their mind of what they wanted their future to be.

The work on that future began by establishing relationships in the area of their new home. An option for many was to cowboy for the cattle empires and land barons. Cows and dirt are of limited value until properly managed. A cowboy was the catalyst to turn a horse remuda into a money making machine.

From the rope used to catch their first horse of the day, to the jingle of the spurs at their heels, those cowboys took care of their gear. Saddles were oiled, cinches were reinforced, and saddle bags were provisioned with the tools of their trade. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement — the Cowboys provided mind and muscle — the Barons provided everything else.

Understood by all — Loyalty and kindness was the rule of the range.

Kindness was evident around the chuck wagons. Cooks did their best to fuel the ambition of hard-working young men. Strangers were offered the generosity of a meal. Care of the animals was on the minds of everyone.

Loyalty was the difference between life and death. There was an understanding — you were either friend, or foe. There was never the Political Correctness of making excuses for poor choices. Cattle rustlers were hung and horse thieves were shot, by the men who knew the importance of riding for the brand.

Four V was given to me by my Dad about the time he was shortening stirrup leathers to fit the legs of a five year old. Wise man he was to know that the Brand fits me. Four is representative of the four winds and four corners of the world. As an Objective Thinker, I consider all four quadrants formed by the intersecting lines of Up, Down and Sideways. The V is what it takes to break through the drifts of prejudice formed by the inertia of many. As a Trailblazer, I thrive on going where others fear to tread.

Lazy J F BarLazy J F Bar was given to my son by my Dad about the time he was building his Grandson custom chaps, with fringes for flair. Although the initials J F were apropos for the man James Foard, “lazy” in the sense of idleness is a misnomer. It is reflective, though, of the gentle, subdued, behavior of a big, big, man. He was always quick to bend a knee in service and subordinate his desires in the best interest of others. His grandson continues that tradition. Both men apply the Bar as an underscore to their every effort.

One brand composed of straight lines and interconnected — another, with the curvature of style and distinction of application. They carry an unspoken appreciation for the past, discipline of the present, and hopes for the future. For the efforts they represent, each Brand carries a legacy of family and tradition.

Whether applied with a hot iron, chiseled into stone, or tickled from the keyboard into a digital universe, our individual Brands are worthy of honor and respect. Similar to a flag over a sovereign county, they are a symbol for: Who we are, the principles for which we stand — and, the sacrifices we are able and willing to make.

Let us always be kind and loyal, as we ride for the brand.

Building Bright Financial Futureswww.kimfoard.com

A Better Way

Thinking In A Different Way

Innovation only comes from those willing to think differently.

Since all we do begins with a thought, new thoughts lead to new actions. While new thoughts are frequently accepted as entertaining, new actions give the world cause for pause!

Because these thoughts and actions are new, they are different from the old. If everyone is doing the same old thing, the innovator gets noticed. Our comprehension of anything stems from language. Until we have a word, title, or category for something, we are limited in understanding its reward, or risk.

This is a story about being different.

There are days of pleasant surprises. Yesterday was one of those for me. The gift was wrapped inside my email Inbox.

Hi Kim,

I’ve added your blog to my AccountingBlogList.com under the category of General which, after reading some of your blog, doesn’t seem quite accurate to me. Can you skim my list and tell me if you see a better spot? Or suggest if I should create a new category and, if so, what might it be called?

Thanks and congrats on a good blog!

Michelle

This is my response.

~

Michelle,

Thank you for the great honor to be included on AccountingBlogList.com!

Your comment about finding me “hard to categorize” did make me laugh! It is not the first time I’ve heard that. In fact, many tend to believe there needs to be a special classification in the neighborhood of “Off The Wall”.

Seriously, though, I have noticed that, as I tell my stories, eyes get big and soon laughter follows; usually, with a comment of, “Kim, you’re unique!”

The greatest documented compliment was offered by Ron Baker when, at the bottom of my Trailblazer article, he provided this valuable feedback: “More importantly, congratulations to you for having an open mind, looking for a better way, and contributing to the dignity of our profession by doing the right thing for your customers.”

That comment is what, I believe, defines Accounting:

  • Care about the people.
  • Listen to them.
  • Deliver value.
  • Learn.

Then, repeat the cycle.

Meeting you at the AICPA Tech+ conference was a treat for me. The excitement of being with a thousand of the sharpest minds in the country was only dampened by the frustration of not being able to meet and share with each of them.

Sitting in the session of One-on-one with Peter Sheahan and listening to the methodology of promoting ourselves to others resulted in a moment of clarity. The questions from the audience were relative to the specific steps in offering our marketing more effectively. It dawned on me that the problem is not with our sales tactics; it is with our ability to communicate. Communication is what the listener does.

We, simply, need to listen to our customers. Their desires, today, are different from what they were, yesterday. Each day is a new opportunity to deliver value to them, and the marketplace.

Listening to our clients is another of those Win-Win propositions: We learn what they want and they learn how much we care. What I know, now, after thirty years of sitting at their feet, pales in comparison to the formal college degree. Sure, our clients come to us for our qualities as a Master in the realm of accounting; yet, we (and they) benefit when we become their Students and learn even more about them and the multifaceted world we share.

That’s a very long introduction to my point: In my original Tribute email to Ron on Memorial Day, I shared a story of growth to that moment in time. Now, it is different. I was doing the best I could with what I knew, at the time. With new education and experience, I’ve discovered A Better Way.

Originally, the thought was to have a Business blog and a Personal blog. Silly me! Great accountants eat, breathe, sleep and live this chosen profession, passionately, 24/7. So, the design has been re-tooled to provide introductions from my Website blog; then, to tell stories at the SageTalk blog.

In a telephone conversation with a Client last week, I heard a new twist on that friend’s impression of my efforts. She said, “Kim, you’re a gladiator! You refuse to sit on the sidelines; you are engaged in battle to make a difference.”

Maybe it’s the Scotch-Irish ancestry and the parable that goes with it: “You know what Irish tact is, right? It’s the ability to tell a man to go to H-E-double L and have him looking forward to the trip.”

Personally, I want to believe it stems from a Teddy Roosevelt shtick quoted in this Coattails blog post:

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but, who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly!

My purpose is to join you and Ron in your efforts to make a difference in the lives of many.

If there is a category for our type, I believe a fitting title is: A Better Way

New, Different, Better; regardless of the semantics, we intend to, truly, be Trailblazers for the benefit of all.

Thank you, again, for your kind and thoughtful recognition.

Best regards,

Kim

~

www.kimfoard.com

Techno Numbers

CPA.CITP

A Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) is a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies.

Unlike other certifications which are presented to the marketplace based on a wide scope of skills, the CITP credential is awarded to an accounting professional, who focuses on information assurance and management; thus, making a CPA among the most trusted business advisor.

The CITP credential is predicated on the fact that in today’s complex business environment, technology plays an ever increasing role in how organizations meet their business obligations, and that no single professional has a more comprehensive understanding of those obligations than a Certified Public Accountant.

An increasingly competitive global marketplace has organizations clamoring for better information assurance or additional business insight. While IT professionals have the technical expertise necessary to ensure that IT hardware is secure or technology solutions are properly deployed, they lack the CPA’s perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology.

The CITP credential demonstrates the CPA’s ability to leverage technology to effectively manage information while ensuring the data’s reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. The CITP credential program provides tools, training, and support to help CPAs expand their information management-related services and provide greater benefit to the business and academic communities they serve.

As a client, your CPA’s CITP credential will enhance your confidence in their ability to apply both business and information technology consulting skills to solve your unique business challenges. In addition to meeting stringent experience and education requirements, CITPs are required to continue their professional development through continual professional education, and must meet the professional standards dictated by CPA profession and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

CITPs have the business experience and specialized knowledge that enables them to:

  • Identify and enhance critical success factors in your business.
  • Communicate the business technology information you need, when you need it, and in the form you need to make critical business decisions for your business.
  • Implement information technology as a catalyst to achieve new levels of success in your business.
  • Apply real world knowledge and experience to ensure a return on your technology investment.

The AICPA has compiled a referral directory from materials submitted by its members. The sole purpose of this directory is to provide a method for locating Certified Information Technology Professionals, to procure the value of their services for your benefit. Find a CITP

Or, you can simply use the CPA, CITP, and QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor, who has been recognized as an Achiever by the Billings Gazette and a Trailblazer by VeraSage Institute.

www.kimfoard.com