Today is January 28, 2020 -

Without fanfare

“My degree is in accounting.”

This is my standard response when I’m asked a question in a field that I know little about, like medicine, engineering, education, or psychology.   

Nevertheless, accounting is actually a useful, if not underappreciated, degree.  Most think of us as only tax preparers.  I like to think of us as storytellers, historians, and soothsayers.  We budget; we forecast.  We take raw data and convert it into meaningful information.  When we produce a financial report, we think of it as a good book waiting to be read and enjoyed.  In addition, we read a tax return or set of financial statements like a mystery novel, with a deeper understanding with every turn of the page.

Continuing with the metaphor, auditors help the public decide which financial statements are historically accurate and which are historical fiction.  Federation’s accounting team put together a great set of financial statements, but they want the organization to look good and, therefore, are naturally biased.  The public wants to see that an independent auditor has audited the statements and issued an “unqualified” opinion stating that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Federation. 

I no longer practice accounting, but I know a good financial statement when I read one.  Without fanfare, Federation’s auditors reviewed our financial statements with the board last night.  I thank our internal accounting team as well as Federation’s finance committee, audit committee, and board of directors for their dedication and oversight.  While I find this very exciting, I recognize that most of your eyes glaze over and “without fanfare” that’s as good as it gets.

For a very exciting read, may I recommend Federation’s 48-page IRS Form 990?


Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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