The Cowboy’s Guide to Financials

There are analogies everywhere we look in our personal lives to what we could or should become in our professional lives.  Or how we would like to see things work.  The cowboy offers an interesting equivalence. Fusion is the annual conference for all things Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, hosted by our fine colleagues at the Institute for Financial Operations.  This year the annual shin-dig is in the Big D – Dallas, Texas – inspiration to such fine cowboy institutions as the Dallas Cowboys, Texas oil tycoons on TV, and certainly the spirit of building a trading post on a river in what was at the time no doubt considered inhospitable terrain.  So naturally the cowboy parallels to process optimization will freely flow. When I was a kid – like 5, not 25 – my kindly uncle in Arizona who always wore cowboy boots and black cowboy hat gave me my first black hat and a pair of for-real leather chaps and vest, complete with holster and cap gun.  I promoted myself to Sheriff of my cousin’s bedroom and took it upon myself to rule the game of Sorry that was underway.  I have yet to recapture the same feeling of control in my life ever since. In case you are bound for Dallas in a few weeks, I want to ensure you are well prepared  in case someone hands you a black hat or presents you with any special terms that may seem unfamiliar.  I shall do my level best to interpret some key entries found in my cowboy dictionary – a complementary service I offer using my advanced ‘cowboy-to-financial-process’ translation abilities (tips graciously accepted):

  • Bonanza – A productive strike in some form of raw material – oil, gas, gold, silver.  “Finding funding for my project was a real Bonanza”.
  • Searching for the Elephant – “just over that next hill there…” Ah, the promise of finite process optimization.
  • Horse – A necessary tool to ensure uninterrupted flow of data and documents from one outpost to another.   See: workflow.
  • Cowgirl – The real brains of the operation.  Clear decision-maker, best shot on the range.  Best to listen to what she has to say.
  • Rodeo – A grouping of really neat activities, feats and tests somewhat akin to an AP project.  If it’s your first, get ready for a bumpy ride.
  • Campfire – What cowboy hasn’t sat around burning logs, poking embers and longing for ‘some-more’ (marshmallows included)?  Reminds me of a steering committee meeting with the smell of sugary donuts while the grilling takes place.
  • Brand artist – Holding onto your rightful property is a trick when one cow looks eerily similar to another.  So before the invention of the spray-paint can, aspiring graffiti artists would express themselves in molten steel to design just the right mark with which to brand your cattle.  Similar to configuring your business rules to ensure proper process ownership.
  • Wrangler – Ok, the term has been widely used as a marketing brand to label jeans.  But the real wrangler is out on the range roping little doggies (not actual canines).  Can you say Project Manager?
  • Rawhide – Not only a song popularized in the movie Blues Brothers, it is also a form of whip to encourage participation by recalcitrant cattle.  Don’t feel the need to incorporate into your own Change Management plan, unless…
  • Badlands – A ruggedly beautiful expanse of land in South Dakota termed so as being bad for travel.  Sometimes a poorly laid out project plan can lead you here.  Beware.
  • Chuck wagon – Process innovation can really work up an appetite.  Feel free to mosey down to the company cafeteria for project necessities such as coffee, candy, fruits & vegetables (requisite PSA) or ground chuck burgers.

The Cowboy’s Guide to Financials

There are analogies everywhere we look in our personal lives to what we could or should become in our professional lives.  Or how we would like to see things work.  The cowboy offers an interesting equivalence.

Fusion is the annual conference for all things Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, hosted by our fine colleagues at the Institute for Financial Operations.  This year the annual shin-dig is in the Big D – Dallas, Texas – inspiration to such fine cowboy institutions as the Dallas Cowboys, Texas oil tycoons on TV, and certainly the spirit of building a trading post on a river in what was at the time no doubt considered inhospitable terrain.  So naturally the cowboy parallels to process optimization will freely flow.[Continue Reading]