Fun With Numbers

This past weekend I had the second half of Cost Management.  Two weekends, 32 hours of class time.

It’s a high level view of corporate cost accounting and financial statements.

I wasn’t looking forward to it.

Sure, I’ve served twice, including now (until November 11!) as the CFO for Samaritan Ministries.  And numbers work for me…I generally can get any system of numbers fo make sense to me over time.  I blame Mr. Simmons.  And both my parents are accountants so it kind of runs in my blood, I’d guess.

But I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I get numbers, but I don’t like getting lost in the details, and I was afraid of four days of debits and credits and allocations and accruals and all kinds of messy accounting problems, digging down into whatever sits there that the trolls normally take care of.

I got over the “not looking forward” part really quickly.

Dr. Wayvon was great.  I’d met him at the “Scanning the Environment” class in August where some of the key professors came in and gave an overview of what we’d be learning during the EMBA program.  And he was able to keep my attention talking about accounting for an hour then, and I knew he could make it interesting.  But for 32 hours?  That seemed a feat to great for a human being.

But over the class time I was reminded of something I learned from a wise man, which I’ve already begun teaching my public speaking class:  anyone who is interested in ANY topic can make that topic interesting to others.  And Dr. Wayvon was able to do that with Corporate Cost Accounting.

I loved class, and am somewhat sad to see it end.  Dr. Wayvon was engaging and clear, and I learned a ton.  Far more than I can put into practice immediately at work.  We had a test on Friday morning on cash flows and financial statements and key ratios and I got an A on it, continuing my success at getting decent grades.  That’s despite my nearly constant fear of failing in the program.  Oh, and as an added bonus, we got to hear Senator Dick Durbin speak to the class for a while about what’s going on in Washington.

The last part of class was to give a presentation (yes the one I mentioned in Thursday’s post) on key metrics related to something in real life, and most of us chose something related to the “day jobs” we all have.  I did mine on the adjustments from a growth based revenue stream to a retention based revenue stream, and the need for new success metrics after the transition.  Despite leaving it until the end (printed it at the office at 11:30pm Friday night!) I think it went really well, and I kept under the time limit and think I was able to keep everyone’s attention and I’m pretty sure I’ll get a decent grade.  Which is good because the presentation is half my grade for the course.

So yes, you can have fun with numbers.  And I did.  The teacher makes all the difference, and I’m looking forward to the next module with Dr. Wayvon in the Spring.

Have you ever had a class which was surprisingly interesting?  Tell us about it in the comments!

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