Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Thirty-some years ago I used an outside computer processing service to produce financial statements, general ledgers, and tax returns for my clients. It was really expensive, but still more efficient and cost effective than keeping manual ledger books and typing financial statements on an IBM Selectric. Whiteout wasn't an option, so if there was a mistake, you had to start all over again with a fresh piece of letterhead. Gahhh!
The outside processing was pricey and collections were sometimes iffy. Taken together, there wasn't enough cash flow to keep the mortgage current and to also set money aside for the eventual purchase a PC, which was a big ticket item in the 1980's.
My mother, who was frugal but not wealthy, offered to loan me enough money to buy a computer. That loan, which ultimately became a gift, broke the cashflow cycle, allowing me to make the conversion to my own system.
The machine was a 286, state-of-the-art then. Obsolete now. The monochrome monitor was tiny. I bought a wide carriage dot matrix printer, which it turned out, I didn't need. The whole set-up was $2,500.00 and the accounting software was another $1,500.00. It was a struggle, but I persevered and taught myself how to use a computer and how to use the accounting program. Both had major learning curves.
To provide a bit of perspective, the computer and software cost $4,000.00 but saved more than $10,000.00 a year in outside processing costs. Even common core mathematicians can see the incredible multiplier effect that a cost reduction of this magnitude would make. It is also an example of why I love technology so much. In 2016 I can do the work that it took four people to do in 1986.
Ma is gone now, but her kindness and generosity thirty years ago made a meaningful difference to us, providing fundamental building blocks that have helped us for decades.
Happy Mothers Day.