Accountants can save the day

Published 12:04 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Accountants get a bad rap. The stereotypical accountant is considered dry and boring. Society even gives them rather derogatory nicknames — number jockey, bean counter or number cruncher, just to name a few.

But as boring as many of us may have found the subject of accounting in school, the field is important — critically important.

Accuracy in numbers is always important, but especially when it’s involving the money that we willing — OK, begrudgingly — give to the government for the public good.

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Good accountants are like good lawyers; you take them for granted and maybe even make fun of them until you realize that you need one badly.

Adams County leaders learned that lesson the hard way over the last two years. It was in January 2010, when one of the country’s financial ratings agencies downgraded the county’s bond rating and labeled the county’s financial outlook as “negative.”

Poor accounting and financial management practices led to the downgrade — the public domain equivalent of having a low credit score.

In downgrading the bond rating two years ago the ratings agency pointed to eight years of deficit spending and a negative general fund balance for six years.

The county — led by new county administrator Joe Murray — has begun cleaning up its act and making positive changes. As a result, the ratings agency improved the rating and changed its financial outlook to “positive.”

We applaud the county for the work to improve the rating and acknowledge that further financial reform at the county could improve the rating even further.

The county leaders issued a collective, “Thank God for accountants.”