Wednesday, June 5, 2013


There used to be a television program by the name “To Tell the Truth” in which the contestant had to try to tell which panel member was telling the truth.  I only watched the program a time or two and that was decades ago, so I do not remember much about it except that some of the panel members would tell lies about themselves and one would tell the truth.  The contestant had to try to guess which was telling the truth.  I would like to take the position that in business and finance (as well as our personal lives) we should always tell the truth.  I realize that in taking this position I am suggesting we go against common practice.  Many would tell you that it is silly to tell the truth when many of those around us are lying, but I believe we encounter fewer problems in the long run when we commit to always telling the truth.

                There are some, I won’t name names, who think that a “white lie” is OK.  I do not agree.  I believe any untruth either makes future dealings worse or, at best, just puts off a difficult situation until a later date.  I think we are better off to suck it up now and tell the truth to begin with.  The people we do business with will respect that we are willing to tell the truth even when it is difficult, and our future dealings with those people will not be complicated by trying to work around a previous untruth.  Everyone makes mistakes or foolish choices that we would rather not have to own up to, but when it involves someone we are doing a business deal with, get it out into the open and deal with it.  Then we can move forward with a clean slate.  I know I would much rather deal with someone who is willing to admit that they made a mistake than to do business with someone I suspect made a mistake but is unwilling to admit it.

                Some might say that this advice is outside of giving business advice and that makes me sad.  How we do business is an important part of business advice.  How would it be if most of the people we did business with were completely honest with us?  Wouldn’t our business lives be both more financially rewarding and more enjoyable?  Part of simplifying our lives could be to tell the truth in all things, even in our businesses.
Loren L McCann, CPA, MS (Tax)

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