Here is my understanding of these words before the Accounting class with Prof. Petersen and Sharon Lechter:
Assets = children, family – usually just children
Liabilities = poor relations (Charles Lamb, a tribute to you)
Revenue = something they talk about a lot on TV during budget time
Profit = when the bank gives me money at the end of the month on a saving certificate
Gross Expenditure = when you spend so much it’s disgusting
Errr … yep … that’s how bad I was. NO exaggerations here. As a VA or a businessowner you have to know your finances. No matter how scary they are – no matter how intimidating. But I have always been scared of numbers and fancy words that don’t do anything for my imagination. Then, Project Artemis and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program happened. Besides of course the wonderful classes we had with Prof. Peterson, one fine day, Sharon Lechter came to merely “talk” to us about something called Financial Literacy. And that’s what she did. She talked. To me, who was in morbid fear of anything to do with numbers (my 8-yrs old son has a tutor come in to teach him Math – I can’t – I am terrified of it), her words tried breaking the force-field I had made around my head and at times it even succeeded in penetrating through that barrier but I wasn’t ready to listen. Case in point, the pic below:
But she had me sit up and take notice. Tell me, has any of you run a straw, an ordinary plsatic drinking straw, right through a gigantic potato? When Sharon’s assistant told us that’s what she was gonna do I thought it was only an exercise in teaching us how some things are impossible and should be left alone. And then she whammed the straw clean thorugh the potato! It was the COOLEST thing I’ve seen since I conceived WDL! We all got a chance to try it and I was the first one toget it right. You should have seen me jump up and down. A 32 years old mom of two and a businessowner jumping like a yoyo holding a potato in her hand with a straw is not a pretty sight. This was Miracle No. 1.
Then came Miracle No. 2. She dangled a small metal ball from a piece of plastic wire and she told it to go round and round, and the ball actually started moving in a circle. I was looking at her hand – it was perfectly still! Then, she asked it to go back and forth, and the ball obeyed. It was CRAZY. All us non-believers of course got to try it for ourselves and it worked!
And then came Miracle No. 3 – the biggest miracle of them all. Sharon introduced us to a board game she had been working on along with her team at Pay Your Family First. It was called Thrive Time and was supposedly meant to help people, especially teens, understand their finances. I was sceptical but then I love board games; Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble – you name it. So, I joined in. Within minutes I was totally immersed in the game. Of course the vocabulary wasn’t coming easy to me and I had a hard time deciphering where I put my losses and gains but it slowly started to make sense. BIGGEST MIRACLE OF ALL!!
I didn’t realize it at that point. I am guilty of even whining about it a little. But, when I got home and I was going through the invoice template I use to send to clients, I realized I was thinking of the numbers in terms of revenue and profit. That encouraged me. I started making a list of things I had – my assets. Looked OK. I then made a list of my savings or the profit I received at the end of an assignment (I always used to wonder how I spent the entire $1000, not reliazing I paid a team-member $150 and paid my Internet bill and spent on adding more RAM to the computer). Here was my revenue and expenditure.
I am not saying I am a whizz at it now but at least I know the basics. For me, as a virtual business that’s very small scale at the moment, this is enough. I know at some point I am gonna need an accountant – but at least she won’t think I am a complete illiterate when it comes to finances and accounting, and won’t be able to intimidate me with an alien lingo.So Yipppeeee …