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GREED AND IGNORANCE = TEMPTATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 6, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

- What the “Flim Flam Man” teaches us.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently happened to see the cult classic, “The Flim Flam Man,” a favorite of mine produced back in 1967. The movie features George C. Scott as Mordecai C. Jones, a notorious con man from the South. He meets up with Curley Treadaway, played by Michael Sarrazin (his first movie), who has gone AWOL from the Army and is being sought by the Military Police. The two form a partnership with Mordecai playing the role of teacher to Curley as a willing young student. They drift through the South conning people in various games of chance and swindles. It’s an enjoyable comedy which I highly recommend.

At first, Curley is unaware of the identity of Mordecai, but after pulling a few scams he realizes he is working with the famed, “Flim Flam Man,” whom he had heard about since his days as a youth. This impresses Curley who becomes fascinated with his partner. Throughout their travels, Curley asks Mordecai as to how and why he chose this line of work.

Mordecai: “Greed is my line lad, greed. 14K ignorance, will never let you down.”

Curley: “I don’t hold with cheating Mr. Jones.”

Mordecai: “Only the cheaters. You can’t cheat an ‘honest man.'”

This is an important premise; an honest man cannot be cheated simply because he resists temptation, but a cheater cannot resist. It is like the old proverb, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” From this perspective, Mordecai’s conscious is clear and he holds no regrets knowing it is impossible to cheat an honest man. He also recognizes greed is an inherent part of temptation, as he explains to Curley:

Mordecai: “One day it come to me. If everybody so determined to be greedy and being ignorant, maybe what they need is a little old liberalized education. So, in order to teach them, I qualified myself with an honorary degree: Mordecai Jones, MBSCSDD.”

Curley: What does all that mean?

Mordecai: “Master of Back Stabbing, Cork Screwing, and Dirty Dealing” (laughs). “Ours is a society of goods and services, and I think I’m performing a service. Cause after meeting up with me, maybe they ain’t so eager for the edge next time. Son, you would be amazed at the hundreds of satisfied students I have matriculated over the last fifty years” (laughs).

From this perspective, Mordecai is correct, he is providing an important lesson to the people he cons, something they won’t likely forget. After being stung by this southern scalawag they may become angry at first, but will be less likely to be tempted a second time. In short, greed and ignorance are Mordecai’s tools, without them he would not have a profession, but since there is still plenty in supply we will likely have Flim Flam men for time immemorial.

Towards the end of the movie, the two are captured by the police who imprison them pending trial. To escape, Curley calls upon the lessons he has learned from Mordecai and devises one last con job. I do not want to spoil the ending for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, but let’s just say Curley learned his lessons well.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  METHODOLOGY DESIGN 101 – “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

LAST TIME:  CONQUERING YOUR MATH  – You can run from math, but you certainly cannot avoid it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life, Morality | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CONQUERING YOUR MATH

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 4, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

- You can run from math, but you certainly cannot avoid it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently sat down with a local college professor of management to talk shop. Like me, he understands the necessity of tracking numbers in business, but appreciates the need for mastering socialization skills to engage people in completing project assignments and solving problems. In the course of our conversation, I asked him what should a high school student master before embarking on a business management curriculum in college. He pondered this for a moment, then, without hesitation, said, “Conquer your Math.”

I asked him what he meant by this remark. He explained a degree in business management involves a variety of skills to be mastered. Sure, students will use math in finance and economic classes, but they shouldn’t be learning Algebra and Calculus at the same time, it will only slow them down. Instead, they should come with such courses already under their belts, thereby not wasting time and making management courses more meaningful.

It has also become apparent high school students do not appreciate the role math has in our professional lives after school. “Why do I need to learn it. I’m just going to use financial software, spreadsheets, and computer calculators to manage my finances.” It is this growing dependency on technology which is ultimately deterring the need for mathematics.

Math teachers have difficulty articulating how it is used, and they certainly should not say something like, “I teach it because that is what I am paid to do.”

Just about every profession requires some form of math in one capacity or another. You would be hard pressed to find a job that does not require it. For example, math is essential for building contractors and construction workers, including plumbing and electrical workers. Architects and engineers cannot possibly design anything of substance without math, not just height and length, but structural capacity and load limits. Chemists require math in order to mix chemicals and create compounds for pharmaceuticals. Accounting involves the use of ledgers and other financial tools. Insurance companies use math to make claims adjustments, adjudications, and property appraisals. Math is used to solve crimes, extinguish fires, and tending to farms. Even the preparation of IRS Tax Forms (1040, Schedules A and B), which is something all adults must address, is a form of math we cannot avoid. Homeowners must also be cognizant of their mortgage and other loans, not to mention their bank and financial accounts. Oh yea, let us not forget credit cards, other expenses, and how our paycheck is calculated.

In my niche, the Information Systems world, math is actively used in both systems and programming. For example, a Feasibility Study is used to analyze a business problem or opportunity. There are several components to this study, such as the project scope, current systems analysis, requirements definition, system solution, and a cost evaluation summary. It is this last component, cost evaluation summery, that is critical for making a project decision (go/no go/revise). This involves estimating the time and costs involved in a project, calculating a schedule, and performing a cost/benefit analysis.

The cost/benefit analysis considers both the project costs and operational costs (before and after). From this, we can calculate the Break Even Point for the project, which a point in time where cost savings match accumulated development expenses. Typically calculated as: BEP = Investment divided by Average Annual Savings.

Also included is a Return on Investment (ROI), which is the ratio of projected cost savings versus amount invested. Typically calculated as: ROI% = (Average Annual Savings divided by Investment) X 100

Such figures are extremely important to executives. For example, I know of companies who will not touch a project unless it has a minimum of 200% Return On Investment.

In addition to Feasibility Studies, you find math in programming, particularly when analyzing transaction processing (volume of transactions versus time to process). This is critical for determining a suitable software solution, not to mention calculating data base capacity.

You also see math in such things as project/system audits where project expenses and schedules are evaluated, Request For Proposals (RFP), and Business Plans in general.

You can run from math, but you certainly cannot avoid it. This is why the professor’s comment about “Conquer your Math,” is so well put.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  GREED AND IGNORANCE = TEMPTATION – What the “Flim Flam Man” teaches us.

LAST TIME:  INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS TEACHING MORALITY  – Some films which will touch your heart.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

SPECIAL: Netanyahu’s Speech: A Churchill Warning

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 3, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before a special joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday, March 3rd. Prior to his address, he was presented a special bust of Winston Churchill, the legendary PM of Great Britain and only other person to address Congress three times. During his address, Netanyahu capably played the role of Churchill, warning America about Iran and the pending nuclear negotiation deal. This was similar to Churchill warning America of the Nazi threat and the difficulties Britain faced.

During his speech, Netanyahu stressed the Iranian problem was not just a Jewish problem, but a world problem. He encouraged Congress not to consider the nuclear deal until such time as Iran ceases aggression against its neighbors, stop supporting terrorism around the world, and to stop threatening to annihilate the state of Israel. The only path to peace is if Iran changes its intentions and becomes a proper member of the world community.

Netanyahu’s speech was brutally frank and factual. He told us what the president will not. For several minutes during his 40 minute speech, he held the Congressmen spellbound as he lectured them about the realities of Iran. So much so, you could hear a pin drop in the chamber. Such a speech was refreshing to hear as opposed to listening to politicians dance around a problem. This resulted in both Democrats and Republicans applauding Netanyahu zealously. Again, the parallel to Churchill was uncanny.

This speech was not about the relationship between the Israeli PM and the President. It was about finding peace in a practical manner, not by hoping Iran will change its ways.

Netanyahu’s address was so powerful, he just established a template for politicians to follow as we enter the 2016 presidential contest. People want more facts and honesty, not more sound bites with superficial rhetoric.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached attimb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

 

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS TEACHING MORALITY

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 2, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Some films which will touch your heart.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Many people believe we experience too much sex and violence in American entertainment, be it on television, the movies, even in today’s music. It almost seems like there is a premeditated attempt to subvert our culture. I do not believe Hollywood knows how to tell a story anymore without some form of perversion. No wonder morality is declining in this country, there is not enough people teaching it, least of all the entertainment industry. Have we become so jaded we can no longer appreciate a simple film aimed at inspiring people to do good? Let’s hope not.

There are some glimmers of hope. Several videos have come to my attention recently which are trying to teach various lessons of morality. There is not many of them, but enough to know people are trying to make a difference. Interestingly, most of them are coming from Asia, particularly Thailand, Singapore, and India. Latin America is also starting to produce some remarkable films in this regards, but far too few in America.

Here is a list of some of the better videos I have found on the internet, mostly from YouTube. As a warning, some of these will pull at your heart strings. You may want to have a box of tissues nearby as you watch them.

An important life lesson (from Thailand) – A short film showing how a small act of kindness can one day be repaid ten fold when you most need it. It stresses the importance of helping others.

“Teachers” (from the Singapore Ministry of Education) – based on a true story, the film describes how teachers can positively influence their students.

“A simple act of caring creates an endless ripple” (from Thailand) – a “pay it forward” type of film with an interesting twist at the end.

“Believe in good” (from Thailand) – illustrates why it is necessary to help others.

“Gift” (from Thailand) – A very touching video about a father and son.

“A Mother, A Daughter and A Pineapple” (from Thailand) – how a mother teaches in important life lesson to her daughter.

“Inspirational Unconditional Love Will Touch Your Heart” (from Thailand) – also based on a true story, discusses self-sacrifice.

“The Most Beautiful Thing” (from United States) – award winning film by Cameron Covell which describes a love story between two unlikely people.

“Your Wishes Delivered: UPS Driver for a Day” (from United States) – discusses the bond formed between a UPS driver and a boy.

“The Fork” (from United States) – a touching film describing how a couple is reunited.

“The Blind Girl” (from United States) – a simple slideshow discussing how life is a gift which should be enjoyed.

Most of these films were well staged and filmed. The last one though was assembled using some rather simple software tools which just about anyone can use. This means the tools are now available for anyone to tell a story, not just motion picture companies.

It is interesting to watch these films, but also watch their effect on others, particularly those who have trouble maintaining a dry eye. These videos are very inspirational and a welcome departure from the evening news and the comic book violence emanating from Hollywood.

We should encourage the production of more of these films and encourage people to watch them.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  CONQUERING YOUR MATH – You can run from math, but you certainly cannot avoid it.

LAST TIME:  INTELLIGENCE  – What are the attributes of an intelligent person?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life, Media, Morality | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

INTELLIGENCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 27, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

- What are the attributes of an intelligent person?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

There are primarily three traits we admire in people: physical beauty, physical prowess (such as an athlete, musician, or someone with a specific skill set), and intelligence. Of the three, intelligence is perhaps the most awe-inspiring and perhaps the easiest to fraudulently emulate. I think I can count on one hand the number of true geniuses I’ve met in my walk through life, but aside from this I have met some truly intelligent people whom I greatly respect. Interestingly, not all possess a formal education, yet they exhibit signs of intelligence I admire and rely on for advice.

Some people believe a person’s vocabulary is a distinguishable characteristic of intelligence. It may be an indicator, but it is certainly not proof of intelligence. I have met far too many people who have a verbosity of BS cloaking other shortcomings in their personality. They may be able to speak well, but so can a parrot if trained properly.

There are those who believe intelligence is distinguished by a person’s ability to absorb and recite facts. I have trouble with this notion as well. To my way of thinking, the person has nothing more than a good memory which any tape recorder or computer can duplicate.

To me, intelligence is the ability to apply logic towards solving a problem. Knowing facts and possessing an articulate vocabulary is nice, but knowing how to put it all together to solve a problem or achieve a goal is the real measure of intelligence. From this perspective, I have met a lot of people with basic street smarts who are far more intelligent than a lot of college professors or savants I know. In other words, I have more respect for a person who can think clearly for himself, than a person who can do nothing more than parrot facts and figures.

Sometimes we confuse intelligence with experience. Under this scenario, a person who has lived through many experiences, and learned from them, can pass this knowledge on to others who may perceive the person as brilliant. Probably the only thing “smart” here was that the person learned from the experience.

IQ scores don’t necessarily impress me either. I remember a classmate in high school who allegedly had a high IQ score. I found it rather amusing that he failed the written portion of his driver’s test on more than one occasion (I think he was looking for the meaning of life in a stop sign). I’ve also found a lot of people like this who simply want to be paid because they are smart, but don’t know how to work productively. In other words, they may know a lot, but have trouble applying it. Those who are perceived as “witty” tend to fall into this category. Most are entertainers who have an aversion to real work.

To me, the real distinguishing characteristic of an intelligent person is someone who knows what they are doing, does it well, and can be counted on to deliver solutions and solve problems over and over again (reliability). I have also found they exhibit an insatiable curiosity about the world around them, not just a single area. As the Japanese like to say, such people think in terms of “360 degrees.” In other words, they are always looking at the bigger picture.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
– Calvin Coolidge

FIRST PUBLISHED: January 26, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS TEACHING MORALITY – Some films which will touch your heart.

LAST TIME:  POLITICAL PERSONALITIES  – What causes someone to become a member of the walking dead?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

POLITICAL PERSONALITIES

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 25, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- What causes someone to become a member of the walking dead?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It is not much of a secret that politicians are experiencing low approval ratings. Whether it is at the municipal, county, state or federal level, people generally do not trust politicians. So much so, it makes you wonder why someone would want to become involved in this kind of work.

I feel sorry for people who become politicians. Frankly, I don’t know how they live with themselves. I have known several people who were decent people, spoke their minds, and were standup citizens. Yet, when they become a politician, regardless of the rank, they undergo a metamorphosis and become milk toast people who you can no longer trust. I’ve seen this occur in members of both parties and it is all rather discouraging.

I wonder why this happens. Maybe as part of their indoctrination they are locked in a room where they are made privy to the true secrets of the Kennedy assassination, UFO’s, and Hitler’s true resting place in Argentina. Here they are overwhelmed by truth but warned if they divulge any of it, they will be quietly eliminated.

Suddenly, they seem to lose their passion and conviction on various issues, they become politically correct to the point of being obnoxious, and become too “touchy/feely” (they also smile too much). Instead of acting human, they’ve turned into another species altogether, “politicians.”

Very few seem to possess the resiliency to resist temptation and inevitably turn to “the dark side.” Most people go into politics with the best intentions, but then transform into another being altogether. One cannot help but ask, Why? It is money? Control? Recognition? Protecting their job? What? In this day and age of micromanagement, I tend to believe it is a little of everything. Maybe there is some socio-psychological desire to entertain or sway people. The same desire can be found in salesmen after experiencing a sale; It’s the same “rush” entertainers experience after delivering an excellent performance.

Some cannot resist the temptation to become a career politician, regardless of the level in government. After all, being in politics is better than working for a living. The pay and benefits can be very attractive.

Back during the days of the founding of our country, men would serve one or two terms in Congress, before acquiescing control in favor of returning home and tending to their farms or plantations. In other words, it was someone else’s turn to tend to the business of government. The idea of remaining in government was considered loathsome.

I suspect there is a sleaze factor associated with anyone who spends too much time in government, which is why the country supports the concept of term limits. I think we owe it to politicians who finally step aside, to put them through a detox program, teach them how to communicate with the average person, as well as teaching them morality, and build a whole new personality for them. Maybe they should be placed in a witness protection program or the Betty Ford Clinic until they are ready to mingle with society again.

I believe the reason people no longer trust politicians is because they do not perceive them as human anymore, but as zombies aimlessly walking the corridors of government asking for “Change?…Change?…”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  INTELLIGENCE – What are the attributes of an intelligent person?

LAST TIME:  THE NEED FOR CHECKS AND BALANCES IN NONPROFITS  – Particularly in financial management.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

THE NEED FOR CHECKS AND BALANCES IN NONPROFITS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 23, 2015

BRYCE ON NONPROFITS

- Particularly in financial management.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In 2014, a Vancouver Masonic Temple suffered through the embarrassment of an embezzlement of nearly $800,000 by its Treasurer. The Treasurer belonged to a Building Fund which housed various Masonic Lodges and youth groups. The misappropriation was detected accidentally only when the Temple failed to pay its real estate taxes. Charges were pressed against the Treasurer who was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison, plus ordered to return the stolen money. Unfortunately, the loss of the cash caused the Masons to put the Temple up for sale, and it crippled their charitable activities. The Treasurer got away with it simply by producing falsified Treasurer reports which nobody challenged.

For an institution that is supposed to exemplify morality, such an incident is extremely humiliating. Unfortunately, Vancouver is not alone as other Masonic institutions in other parts of the world have also suffered such embarrassments over the years. Sadly, the Masons are not alone as other nonprofit groups have also lost funds due to corrupt financial practices. Cases of embezzlement can found in churches, sports clubs (such as youth baseball and football), homeowner associations, and many others. Because such indiscretions are humiliating, and makes for bad public relations, many such incidents are not reported and quietly swept under the rug. Silencing bad publicity is one thing, going without adequate financial resources is quite another.

To overcome such problems, some simple financial controls can be implemented, but few people in nonprofit organizations have the necessary experience, thereby leaving their organizations prone to disaster. Regardless, the officers of any organization have a fiduciary responsibility to their constituents to safeguard the financial resources. Naivete is no excuse for such recklessness. Standard practices should be implemented for discipline and consistency.

First, leaving expenditures and deposits in the hands of one person is dangerous. It is placing total faith in the integrity of one person. Instead, a separate person should initiate the transaction and must bear the person’s signature, thereby formally acknowledging the action. Let’s suppose you use an outside bookkeeping firm to manage your company’s finances; you would want to have such a system in place whereby you, the owner, trigger the payment of expenses and depositing income, not the bookkeeper. So, why not within a nonprofit organization? Even if you direct the bookkeeper to autopay routine expenditures, such as power and water, you should be cognizant of the expense before authorizing payment.

The two person system would ultimately require two separate procedures; the initiator should write and sign some form of voucher ordering the payment of an expense, or the amount of money to be deposited. Each transaction, whether it is a credit or a debit, should be recorded in some form of ledger, be it on paper or in the computer. The second person, presumably the Treasurer, receives the orders from the initiator and acts upon them accordingly using pertinent bank forms or software. The one common denominator between the two people is the Chart of Accounts specifying the different types of income and expense accounts. By using the same Chart of Accounts, the initiator’s books should match those of the Treasurer. The Chart of Accounts can also be tied to the budget, another important report that should be routinely monitored by a third party.

Needless to say, the two sets of books should be managed separately, not by one person. Periodically, the two people should compare the finances and make sure they are synchronized, such as monthly or quarterly. At minimum, the two must be reconciled by the end of the year. This is very much akin to double-entry bookkeeping which was developed by the merchants of Venice in 1200 A.D. and involves separate journal entries. Regardless of its age, it is still a viable technique for managing finances.

This may all sound slightly bureaucratic, but what is the alternative? Vancouver?

Today, there is a push to automate financial management as much as possible. However, do not overlook the power of paper, for two reasons: first, it provides a handy audit trail if something goes awry, and; second, it provides the means to recreate either set of books should some form of disaster occur. I also cannot over emphasize the need for signatures. This one simple act could have helped thwart Vancouver’s humiliation.

If you use computer financial software, and I recommend you do, you should back up the files any time a transaction is recorded. Why so often? Ask yourself, can you afford to forget one transaction?

In summary, Vancouver and other nonprofit embezzlements could have been prevented by:

1. Establishing a two party system; one to initiate transactions, and one to execute accordingly.
2. Preparing paper copies of financial transactions and reports to be used as an audit trail and provide a means to recreate reports in case of catastrophe.
3. Financial reports should be periodically reconciled, preferably monthly.
4. Backup computer software routinely.

Last but certainly not least, a review of financial resources should be performed at least once a year by a third party, preferably a committee. Such a review examines the procedures people follow when handling money, and checks the financial data using ledgers, bank statements, etc.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ask Vancouver; they learned it the hard way.

Keep the Faith!

RELATED ARTICLES:

“The Necessity of Lodge Audits” – Nov 6, 2009

“Establishing a Chart of Accounts” – Dec 1, 2006

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  POLITICAL PERSONALITIES – What causes someone to become a member of the walking dead?

LAST TIME:  ESSENCE  – How well do we know each other?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Management | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

ESSENCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 20, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

- How well do we know each other?

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Many years ago, when I was a youngster living in Delaware, my family was very close to another family. Our fathers worked at the same company, and the mothers acted like sisters. Both families got along famously and, as kids, we grew up together as brothers. Inevitably, the careers of our fathers took off and caused them to move the families around the United States and far from each other. So much so, we dropped off each other’s radar for quite some time. Recently, we were notified the other father had passed away and, as such, I tried to make contact with one of the sons, who I had not set eyes on for nearly fifty years. Interestingly, when I finally caught up with him by telephone, we connected as if we were kids again. I could easily recognize his voice and personality and we gabbed for quite some time about the two families.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I have old friends from Junior High school in Chicago, High School buddies in Cincinnati, and College fraternity brothers I still am in contact with, and in all instances, we basically pick up where we left off as if time was irrelevant. I have always marveled at this phenomenon and credit it to an awareness of the other person’s “essence,” meaning an acute understanding of what makes the other person tick, a kind of DNA for personality traits.

I believe when we are young we are more in tune with the fundamental personality of others, such as their morality, judgment, habits, intelligence, interests, etc. Let me give you an example, years ago when I went back to Cincinnati for my 20th High School reunion, everyone had obviously grown up and moved on, but I still had an intuitive understanding of each person; with rare exception, those who were jerks back in High School were still jerks twenty years later, and those who were decent people turned out just fine. Since the reunion, I have gone on some fishing trips with some old football buddies and we kid and tease each other like we were still teenagers, but we also share heart-to-heart discussions and support each other. This wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t understand the essence of each other, and, as I see it, it is the single element keeping us as friends for so many years.

As we get older though, we tend to mask our personalities and become more discreet in terms of who we allow into our inner circle. I think it’s because we fear someone might violate our trust which could hurt us either personally or professionally. Consequently, we become self-conscious about how we act and what we say to others. We also spend considerable time sizing people up in terms of who we can trust and confide in.

Our understanding of “essence” is also based on group dynamics. For example, in school we had to rub elbows with a lot of different people in different settings; e.g., different classes, clubs, and sports. The more closely we had to work together towards common goals, the more inclined we were to rely on each other and, as a result, came to understand our strengths and weaknesses. Those serving in the military also experience this phenomenon and develop strong bonds as well. However, it is when we are in our youth that we are more approachable and open, and less so as we grow older, particularly in companies where we are forced to become political and competitive.

I have an old friend in Atlanta I have known for 45 years now. We shared our first cigar together behind his house in Chicago, had a lot of laughs together and enjoyed many family experiences. Although I haven’t seen him in quite some time, every now and then, one of us will pick up the phone and call the other and ask, “How’s it hangin’?”, a very old and juvenile expression, but something that has become somewhat of a term of endearment between the two of us. When we talk, it’s as if we were chatting next to each other over a beer. Although we still enjoy a good laugh, we’ve compared notes on our life’s journey and try to comfort each other accordingly, particularly in the passing of family members.

One thing I’ve learned as a result of all this, it is impossible to fool someone who understands your essence. They simply know you too well.

Originally Published: January 22, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE NEED FOR CHECKS AND BALANCES IN NONPROFITS – Particularly in financial management.

LAST TIME:  THE REAL WAR ON WOMEN  – Real or facade for political purposes? You decide.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

THE REAL WAR ON WOMEN

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 18, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Real or facade for political purposes? You decide.

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The alleged “War on Women” is an expression used by Democrats accusing Republicans of practicing discrimination against women. It has been around for a long time, but it is only within the last ten years that it has been vigorously pushed into the American conscious, presumably to coincide with Hillary Clinton’s pending run for the presidency.

In the United States, there really is no “War on Women,” unless you count such things as women walking in high heels and other tight shoes which torture their feet. Then there is the matter of dyeing and burning their hair over and over again, wearing layers of makeup and lipstick to conceal a deformity, or eating like a squirrel thereby starving themselves to death. This all may be part of the mating ritual, but it is heinous nevertheless. I have watched women do this routinely over the years and I’m really not sure why they subject themselves to such hazing.

The only true “War on Women” is that associated with Islam where the actions of women are tightly regulated. Everything must be approved by the man, be it a woman’s husband or father. They are not allowed to drive, are instructed what to wear, what type of education they are allowed to pursue, not allowed to marry anyone outside the Muslim faith, and basically told what they are allowed to say, do or think. In other words, women have no identity of their own, and are subservient to men, which is an odd concept to the western world in the 21st century.

Before Democrats cast aspersions against Republicans of any wrong doing, I think they should visit the Middle East where they will quickly come to the realization this isn’t remotely possible in the United States.

Some time ago I was sent on assignment to Saudi Arabia for some consulting. During my leisure time, I was escorted around town by a fine young man who introduced me to Saudi culture. I quickly learned about the customs pertaining to women, particularly how many a man can marry and what function each wife serves. I quickly realized I was no longer in Kansas.

During my stay there, my escort, who was in his mid-twenties, took me to some Saudi souqs (“suuks”), which are basically markets, stores, and malls. There were a lot of people there, including women dressed in black burkas covering everything but their eyes. When a group of ladies went by, of which I couldn’t tell whether they were young or old, my escort exclaimed, “Wow, did you see that!?”

“See what?” I asked.

“The women of course.”

“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t see anything but their eyes; What was the big deal?” I replied.

“Oh Tim, you do not understand. After awhile you can tell which are the pretty ones simply by looking at their eyes,” he said.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I’m serious, the eyes tell it all.”

I guess I need my eyes checked, as I couldn’t see much between the burka’s tiny window allowing women to see where they are going.

Following my trip to Saudi Arabia, I sent my young friend several optometrist magazines as it was the next best thing to “Playboy” over there.

The idea there is a “War on Women” in America is totally fallacious, it is nothing more than a simple ploy to drive a political wedge between voters.

If you really want to find the true War on Women, visit the Middle East. And if you’re a woman, see how long you can walk around without a burka.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  ESSENCE – How well do we know each other?

LAST TIME:  HOW LEGISLATION IS PASSED OR VETOED  – How all legislation is passed, vetoed, or stalled.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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HOW LEGISLATION IS PASSED OR VETOED

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 16, 2015

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

- How all legislation is passed, vetoed, or stalled.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The 114th United States Congress has been seated and we are about to see a test of wills between the president and the Congress. Now that the Senate is under Republican control, we are likely to see a beehive of activity in terms of new legislation to be debated, passed and sent to the president for approval or rejection.

For our younger readers, and those requiring a refresher course, it might be a good idea to review the process by which legislation is passed or vetoed. This process is used for all bills, large or small, be it Obamacare, to appropriate funds, and more. Such a process can be quite complicated, but in a nutshell, here is how it works:

1. Anyone can introduce legislation, assuming they are a U.S. Citizen. However, due to the language needed, most legislation is introduced by a Congressman, be it a member of the House or the Senate. If you wish to write legislation, let me suggest you first meet with your Congressman and discuss your Bill and the process.

2. Each piece of legislation requires a sponsor who is either the author of the bill or the champion of it. The sponsor introduces it into one of the chambers of Congress, either the House or Senate.

3. Each bill is issued a unique number to identify it, be it in the House or the Senate. The public can then follow the bill’s journey using “Thomas” under the US Library of Congress (named in honor of our third president, Thomas Jefferson, who sold his grand collection of books to the Library to help get it started).

4. Depending on where the bill is introduced, be it in the House or the Senate, the bill goes to a subcommittee or committee for deliberations. The committee must approve the bill before it can be presented to the overall chamber. Here, the committee vote and recommendations are reviewed and deliberated, before being voted on by the chamber, which must pass by 2/3 percent.

Should the bill have problems in the subcommittee, committee or chamber, it might be necessary to revise the language of the bill before proceeding. Otherwise, it may just die in committee.

5. Assuming the bill has passed the chamber, it then goes to the other congressional chamber where the last step is repeated. Here it may also require revision, or may die in committee.

If any revisions are made, it must go back to the other Congressional chamber for deliberations and approval again. Such give and take between chambers can take considerable time. Assuming both chambers pass the bill by 2/3, the bill is signed by the Speaker of the House and Vice President (as president of the Senate), before being sent to the president for his consideration.

6. The president has ten days to sign or veto the legislation. This is an important part of the “checks and balances” of our system of government.

If the president vetoes the bill, he returns it to the Congress with an explanation of his rationale for doing so.

If the president fails to sign or veto the bill within ten days, it becomes law without his signature.

However, if the Congress adjourns “sine die” (for an indefinite period) before the ten day period has finished, and the president takes no action, then the bill is “pocket vetoed” (defeated).

7. Assuming the bill is vetoed, the Congress can override the veto by having the bill pass both chambers of Congress by 2/3 percent whereby it becomes law.

Obviously, the journey of a bill can be long and arduous. However, if a high profile piece of legislation is urgently needed, the heads of both chambers can take extraordinary steps to expedite the process.

If the leadership of both houses is at odds with each other, as was the case in our last Congress, led by Democrats in the Senate, and Republicans in the House, then gridlock ensues. To illustrate, in the 113th Congress (2012-2014), the House introduced 352 bills to the Senate for processing. Of these bills, 98% were passed with bipartisan support, 50% unanimously, 70% passed with 2/3 support in the House, and more than 55 bills were introduced by Democrats. However, Senator Harry Reid (D-NEV), the Majority Leader, allowed these bills to either die in committee, or didn’t even pass his desk for deliberation. Now, with Republicans running both chambers, this is unlikely to reoccur.

In the six years President Obama has been in office, he has only vetoed two bills, neither of which were overridden by the Congress. This number is low primarily due to Senator Reid impeding deliberations in the Senate.

Now, with Republicans in control of both chambers, it will be interesting to see how many bills will pass, how many will go to the president’s desk, and how many will be either approved of vetoed by the president. Either way, look for the Congress to take a much more active role than the previous session.

As an aside, a bill does not require a Feasibility Study, complete with requirements, proposed solution, and a cost/benefit analysis. In the corporate world, implementing anything of substance without a Feasibility Study is unimaginable, yet in government it is perfectly acceptable, as in the case of Obamacare. Hmm, maybe I should write some legislation…

Keep the Faith!

For more info, see, “How is a Bill Prepared?” by Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DEL).

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE REAL WAR ON WOMEN – Real or facade for political purposes? You decide.

LAST TIME:  THINGEES  – When we don’t know what to call something.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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