I earn my daily bread by teaching my commerce students how to prepare a Balance Sheet, and - most importantly - how to tally it. You should see the the kind of excitement, joy and pride those students experience when their Balance Sheets tally in the class. The feeling is so mighty, that one who doesn't know what a Balance Sheet is all about - would think these students have just killed a man-eater. A lion!
Any commerce teacher, like me, will vouch for it!
It is only after they step out of their college, that they realise - that, it is not a big deal, not a rocket secience. That, your Balance Sheet can be designed - customised - the way you want it, and it suits you. Fatter, leaner or medium. Right, wrong or bogus. A hundred items you leave out, it will still tally. A hundred items you add, it will still tally. All that you should make sure is that" "For every debit, there should be an equal and corresponding credit."
Otherwise, it won't tally.
That's the 'great law' of of this rocket science called - 'Double-Entry system of Accounting'! The Italian genius, Luca Pacioli had fathered it, long, long ago.
Rest of the things - the fine art - about the Balance Sheet, we invented!
Don't' want to pay more tax? ( Who wants to? ) Keep away some of your incomes, or cook up more expenses, or ferry in some of your assets as expenses, or tow out some of your incomes as liabilities. That's all. Your Balance Sheet will still tally, and obediently.
If you do it intentionally, knowingly, to mislead some one - your I.T. officer or your competitor - your act is known as a 'Fraud'. Or, as that 'Watchdog', Auditor, howls in his language - 'Secret Reserves'.
If you do it unintentionally, in ignorance, by oversight, it is known as an 'accounting error'.
On the other hand, you want to show a 'rosy' picture - to impress your banker or the prospective investor - all that you have to do is: Jack it up, inflate it. Like, show more incomes, less expenses, or show your expenses as assets, or liabilities as incomes. That's all. The Balance sheet will faithfully tally.
Again, whether it is a 'Fraud' or an 'Accounting Error', that depends on your intention.
Our 'Watchdog', in his lingo, calls it 'Window Dressing'.
First, the students read about it in their class rooms. Then, in real life, they apply it.
We teachers, too.
The watchdogs, too.
The I.T. officers, too.
The text book authors, too.
The finance ministers, too.
Every body's Balance Sheet tallies. Only 'he' knows how it has tallied!
You doctors, please stop taking your dispensary collections in cash. If you do, show. And all!
You, the buyers and sellers of flats and bungalows, stop giving and taking cash on your transactions. If you do, show. And all!
Ditto for you all - the tuition teachers, maid servants, taxi and auto drivers, and you there, the beggars, even!
No 'offerings' in cash in temples, mosques, churches and Gurudwaras ...only cheques. Devotees please carry your cheque books when you pay a 'darshan' next time!
The Balance Sheet should tally, you see.
By hook, or by crook!
Why am I writing about - of all the things in the world - this piece of paper called 'Balance Sheet'?
Because, I feel 'sad' for Mr. Raju of Satyam. Sad for the way they are crucifying him for his 'sins' - of inflating his company's Balance sheets, for years.
Sad for that 'holier-than-thou' seat we have occupied, to nail him to the cross.
Like that 'good criminal' asked Jesus - when they were suffering and dying on the cross - to remember him ,that night, in heaven - I feel like asking Mr. Raju, to do the same.
In 'our' case, maybe - in hell!
Jesus might have been a 'holy man'. Mr. Raju is not. And, I am, most certainly, not.
I am Only a smaller criminal ... who tallies his smaller Balance sheets!