Once again, I am deeply grateful to Rose King for sharing a recent post at the the AccountingDegree.com website. Here’s how those who visit the website are greeted: “Welcome to Accounting Degree.com where we can put you on the fast track to a better, more lucrative career in the accounting industry. Read through our top online accounting schools to find the school and program that matches your career goals and interests.”
To read the complete article, please click here.
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The worlds of business and dating have more in common than you may think.
There are relationships, growth, and negotiation in both situations, and good ideas from one may apply in the other. Check out these trusted business rules that are great to follow in the dating world as well.
[Here are five of the "20 established rules."]
1. Be ready for growth: Businesses and relationships can both start out small, but grow quickly. Always have a plan for what you’d like to do with future growth.
2. Build trust: Businesses must be trustworthy to win and keep clients, and the same is true in relationships. Build trust within your relationship so that you’ll have a strong foundation.
3. He who cares least, wins: This saying is true in negotiations as it is in relationships. Be careful not to invest too much into a new relationship too fast, while the person you’re dating cares less than you do.
4. Find a mentor: It’s a great idea to have a mentor for your career, but there’s great value in having one for your dating life as well. Enlist a trusted friend who has been there to offer advice and emotional support.
5. It costs much more [i.e. at least six times as much] to get a new customer than it does to retain an existing one: Saving a relationship that’s worth working through is usually better than starting over from scratch.
Here’s a click through set of key quotes from Commencement speeches at Business Schools: Slept Through Commencement? Here Are The Best Business School Graduation Speeches Of 2011. They are all good; here are two that are especially timely, and worth a careful look.
Twitter’s Biz Stone spoke to Babson College at the University of St. Gallen
“Opportunity can be manufactured. Yes, you can wait around for the right set of circumstances to fall into place and then leap into action, but you can also create those sets of circumstances on your own. In so doing, you manufacture your opportunities.”
National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling spoke to graduates of American University’s Kogod School of Business
“You need to know, when the time comes to make the hard decision, that you have done everything, everything in your power, to check every angle, challenge every assumption, learn from every previous mistake, analyze every contingency, plan for everything that can go wrong and understand what is likely to occur not only immediately, but five steps down the road, and how your decision could lead to an unanticipated consequence. The world, of course, will reward you with applause, promotions, money, and even fame when your call turns out to be the right one. But as Kipling wisely wrote, ‘In reality triumph and disaster can both be imposters.’ It is a mistake for any of us to judge our decisions and certainly our lives solely on how fate or powers beyond our control smile or don’t smile on our choices.”
Note: Cunningham is a contributor as well as editor of the essays that Buffet wrote over the years, many of them included in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual reports as “Berkshire Hathaway Chairman’s Letter.” For those who really are serious about gaining a wider and deeper understanding business, this is a “must read.”
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An Essential Source for Business Wisdom
Over the years, I have read several of the essays that Warren Buffett included in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual reports. After reading two biographies of him (Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life and Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist), I purchased a copy of this volume and began to work my way through the contents selected, arranged, and introduced by Lawrence A. Cunningham. I began with Cunningham’s Introduction (all by itself, worth much more than the cost of the book) in which he reviews what he considers to be key points about Buffett and his leadership of Berkshire Hathaway.
For example, “The CEOs of Berkshire’s various operating companies enjoy a unique position in corporate America. They are given a simple set of commands: to run their business as if (1) they are its sole owner, (2) it is the only asset they hold, and (3) they can never sell or merge it for a hundred years.” With regard to investment thinking, “one must guard against what Buffett calls the `institutional imperative.’ It is a pervasive force in which institutional dynamics produce resistance to change, absorption of available corporate funds, and reflexive approval of suboptimal CEO strategies by subordinates. Contrary to what is often taught in business and law schools, this powerful force often interferes with rational business decision-making. The ultimate result of the institutional imperative is a follow-the-pack mentality producing industry imitators, rather than industry leaders – what Buffett calls a “lemming-like approach to business.”
Cunningham organizes the essays within seven sections between Buffett’s Prologue (Pages 27-28) and his Epilogue (Pages 273-282):
I Corporate Governance
II Corporate Finance and Investing
III Alternatives to Common Stock
IV Common Stock
V Mergers and Acquisitions
VI Accounting and Valuation
VII Accounting Policy and Tax Matters
As Buffett explains in his Prologue, members of Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder group receive communications directly “from the fellow you are paying to run the business. Your Chairman has a firm belief that owners are entitled to hear directly from the CEO as to what is going on and how he evaluates the business, currently and prospectively. You should demand that in a private company; you should expect no less in a public company. A once-a-year report of stewardship should not be turned over to a staff specialist or public relations consultant who is unlikely to be in a position to talk frankly on a manager-to-owner basis.”
Those who share my own keen interest in Warren Buffett’s leadership and management principles will learn a great deal from a careful reading of these essays. They are quite literally “from the horse’s mouth.” The substantial value-added benefits include the fact that Buffett thinks and writes so clearly, duly acknowledges bad decisions and personal regrets (yes, there were several), explains what he learned from them, and meanwhile reveals a playful (albeit dry) sense of humor. He also includes a number of personal observations about America, especially about its culture and economy, at various times throughout the last 25-30 years. The two aforementioned biographies indicate that throughout his life, Buffett thoroughly enjoyed each and every opportunity to increase others’ understanding of sound business principles that include but are by no means limited to investments.
Readers who are not among Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders will especially appreciate the fact that, in each of these essays, Buffett establishes and then sustains a direct and personal rapport. The tone is conversational and, better yet, inclusive. He never talks down to his reader. He never “dumbs down” the material. Inevitably and appropriately, he cites Berkshire Hathaway situations when illustrating certain key points but, really, most of the material in this book will have wide and deep general interest to executives as well as to shareholders who otherwise have no association with either Buffett or his company. I highly recommend this book without hesitation or qualification.