Taking stock

WE are already in December. A new decade, the twenties, beckons. As this year draws to a close it is vital to take stock  of how one has fared and plan towards the new year. Many of us have made new year resolutions in the past and have given up on them as early as February of the new year, therefore we shy away from new year resolutions for fear of failure. But sincerely, a new year brings with it  hope for a new beginning – a reboot as it is known in ICT circles. However, before we look ahead, we must review the year that is ending. How have we fared as responsible stewards of the financial and other resources we have been privileged to manage? We would discuss our stewardship both at corporate and personal levels.

Were we faithful stewards of corporate resources? Did we manage the common wealth responsibly?

Whether we work in the private sector, civil service or not-for-profit organisations, we know that our corporate resources are to be used to achieve the corporate objectives and not personal agendas. Did we use those resources responsibly, so that anyone who reviews our records can ascertain our prudence? Did we exercise ownership mentality, due diligence and the golden rule?

In managing the common wealth, we should have served with an ownership mentality; realising that if we serve faithfully and manage resources prudently, we are going to benefit from it ourselves. Did we “own” it? A person who realises that we all have a stake in the success of a venture would not seek to undermine that success. This is particularly relevant when we manage physical resources. Were physical assets, equipment and machinery handled and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer? Increasing the lifespan of a physical asset postpones the need for a new one and saves money. Materials like stationery and other “cheap” items have been known to create a disproportionately heavy financial burden on corporate finance. This is because of waste and improper use; which could easily be curtailed if the users had an ownership mentality. Were we prudent in their uses?

When spending corporate finances, did we exercise due diligence by comprehensively and diligently appraising an expenditure, with all the care and precision that is due, to ensure that the expenditure meets the prescribed standards? Were we careful to spend our employer’s money in a way that would give the best value-for-money? Did we exercise sincerity of purpose in every transaction and not have a hidden agenda? Whether our employer is profit making or not, every employer needs to meet all its costs from the revenue available to it. It’s our job to ensure that costs are managed effectively by spending prudently, avoiding wastages, making honest and accurate monetary claims, using energy and other utilities prudently and generally exercising due diligence always. Were we proactive in helping our employer grow the revenue base? This is not just the job of those in Sales Department. If we indeed have an ownership mentality, we realise that every additional income to the company assures the solvency of the company and subsequently our own job-security. So, did we work to safeguard our own job security?

As business owners, have we been faithful to our company and our staff? The economy is indeed tough and operating a business is no easy task. How well did we fare with the income that was made? Did our staff (the geese who lay the golden eggs) benefit from the gains of the company? Were salaries paid as and when due? I marvel when I see business owners complain about how bad business is, they refuse to pay salaries, taxes etc. on time and yet they continue to live a good life from the proceeds of the same business. Were we faithful stewards of the human resources we are privileged to manage?

From the personal perspective, it is easy for a salary earner to calculate what she earned in 2019. As a faithful steward, how was the money disbursed? Was it in line with our financial plan? How much was consumed, invested or plain frittered away? Do you have exact figures? To know how well you did, you must have standards to compare with – either your Financial Plan or Rule-of-Thumb standards off the internet.

Are we satisfied with our financial responsibility in 2019? Or is a makeover necessary in 2019?

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