What the Greatest Jedi Can Teach You About Accounting

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I’m a Star Wars guy. It all began when I went to the movies with my parents back in 1978 and saw my first ever Star War Movie. I’m still a huge fan and have recruited my little dude, Logan, to head with me to Star Wars weekends at Disney World.

There are lots of parallels in life that I can see from the storylines in the movies. I know that accounting and being a solopreneur is a long-way from Stormtroopers and Jedis but stay with me.

Let’s take the story of Luke Skywalker for instance. Believe it or not, the journey Luke Skywalker takes throughout the original Star Wars trilogy is not unlike the journey you, as a solopreneur, need to make with your business accounting.

lukeLuke starts the trilogy as a little more than a whiny farmboy, and throughout the course of the trilogy becomes a powerful Jedi and ultimately defeats both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. (See, good does overcome evil.)

So, what can we learn from the son of Anakin Skywalker?

Just because you possess the weapon doesn’t mean you are ready to wield it.  The first couple of times Luke swung his lightsaber were not too impressive.  He even managed to get himself zapped pretty good by that training remote on the Millennium Falcon. The moral: Just because you “have your books done” doesn’t mean you are ready to immediately start using that information to make crucial decisions in your business.  In fact, doing so may lead you to make downright bad decisions that can hurt your business.

Don’t get guidance from someone who is just telling you what you want to hear. Remember Obi-Wan Kenobi’s classic cop-out when Luke confronts him about Darth Vader being Luke’s father?  Good ‘ol Ben told him that whole story about Vader killing Luke’s father was right “from a certain point of view”.  C’mon Ben. However, things begin to happen for Luke when he gets Yoda as his mentor.  Yoda pulls no punches and basically tells Luke how it is.  You know, like how bad things are going to happen if you don’t finish your training? Like losing a hand, perhaps?

Moral: Don’t get an adviser who is just going to tell you what you want to hear.  Get someone who will tell you the truth, regardless of whether it’s painted a pretty color or not.  Honesty and integrity are key when it comes to handling your business finances.

Have a team that you can trust to get the job done.  So, how did Luke rescue Han Solo from the nefarious gangster Jabba the Hutt?  Did he swoop in lightsaber swinging, taking out every henchman in sight?  No.  He had a multi-faceted plan that involved Leia, Chewie, Lando, C3PO and R2D2.  He surrounded himself with an A-team of people (and droids) that had distinctly different abilities.

The moral: Don’t try to cover everything yourself.  You are absolutely the Jedi of your operation, but be sure to remember that you can involve non-Jedi’s in your plan as well.  People who have unique talents whether it be accounting, writing, SEO, or web design that help your plan come to fruition.

Stick to what you believe in: How about the climatic scene in Return of the Jedi, where Luke is pounding away at Vader mercilessly, as the Emperor cackles with delight.  Luke is giving into his anger and forsaking all the Jedi believe in. Until, he doesn’t.  He remembers what he believes in and throws his lightsaber to the ground, declaring himself a Jedi above all else.

The moral: Never forget what the mission of your business is.  That, and that alone, should drive the decisions for your business.  Once you begin making decisions based strictly on how it makes your financial statements look, you start edging towards the “dark side” of your business.  Don’t do it.  Remember why you got into your market in the first place.

The Force may seem like a mystical, hard to understand thing.  However, just like accounting, it is useful if used in the right way, with the right help.

I don’t recommend using The Force to manage the accounting for your business, but I can help.

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