By Renee Wengrofsky
Founder, JSN Consultants LLC
As a trusted adviser and consultant to small businesses, I have always been fascinated by the way counting is so sacred in Judaism. We count 10 men in a minyan, eight candles of Chanukah, four questions at the Seder, and, of course, at this time of year, the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot.
Counting the days leading to the commemoration of Matan Torah at Har Sinai marks the connection between freedom and service, because true freedom isn’t doing whatever we want or what’s most convenient. True freedom is living our lives with purpose, structure, and meaning. A daily, verbal count is literally taking stock of this journey of liberation from slavery, physical freedom, to the service of G-d through Torah, sanctifying everything we do.
Accounting is like that, too. Running a business without structure and purpose would lead to chaos. We must both count and account — taking stock of what we’ve accomplished and then assessing what is ours and what is to be paid to others, and which resources to use now or save for later. This is the path to true financial freedom and financial health.
Just as living our lives in the moment without thinking about the consequences on ourselves and others may feel like freedom, failing to plan for the future or settle obligations in our personal finances and business dealings is also the path to ruin.
Here are some questions to ask yourself during this time:
- Am I producing and maintaining accurate financial statements to allow my business to make strategic decisions that support growth?
- Have I taken the right amount of deductions on my paycheck?
- Have I set up 529 tax-free education saving accounts for qualified beneficiaries?
- Are timely invoices generating proper cash flow?
- Can I afford to contribute more toward my 401K for maximum retirement savings?
- Have I made every effort to avoid fees or fines by meeting deadlines and complying with fast-changing rules, such as those for medical, legal, and real-estate professionals?
- Am I mitigating risks to avoid an audit, and keeping accurate, compliant records to stay prepared for one?
- Should I reduce employer costs by outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping services?
- Is my IT system secure, up-to-date, and equipped to back up all company documents?
- Do I have the most productive software for records and financial planning?
Counting the Omer, which concludes with Shavuot on June 9, teaches us patience and foresight, eyes on the prize, a way of keeping track of our journey.
Just as the Jewish people prepared for the sanctification of becoming the Chosen People at Sinai with each step away from Egypt, we should use this time to take stock of how our year is progressing, how we are meeting the goals we have set for ourselves, and whether we are prepared for the obstacles ahead.
If your taking stock leads to unanswered questions or flaws in your processes or strategy, please call for a free consultation to see if JSN Consultants can help.
Renee Wengrofsky is founder of JSN Consultants, a West Hempstead-based bookkeeping and accounting firm that helps passionate entrepreneurs realize their dreams by supporting them in the building of sustainable, profitable companies. Renee welcomes your comments and can be reached at email@example.com.