The Bible and Corporate Finance
People rarely associate religion with the business world or the finance industry, nor do they think religion can guide the practice. From a logical standpoint religion and a firm's operations do not correlate. From a societal view people see good religious peoples businesses fail while godless industries thrive. The question usually asked is how does the Bible apply to business world? The real question should be how could the Bible and God guide me in my profession or my business? Accounting, Finance, and Performance
Making a profit is not bad; in fact it is very good. Being a profitable business owner or just an upstanding employee are also good things. In order to do that though, we need knowledge of finance and business operations. We also should strive to be able to care for ourselves, our families and our future. In the business world we need to be able to evaluate our business health as well as other businesses in which we or our company are a stakeholder. We want our business and/ or our employer to be profitable. We also want to make sure that we make good decisions for our business or employer. It is important to understand the finance and accounting parts of our business, but it is more important to apply Biblical principles, ethics, and the law of the land to our practice. God wants us to be successful, but He also wants us to be an example for Him. We do that by having a strong moral compass and good ethics. In an article discussing ethics in the accounting and finance industry the author writes, “The challenge to the profession, therefore, is to make fiduciary responsibility consonant with its roots in ethical and moral behavior, and thus with the tradition of the competent and caring professional.” (Alhabeeb, 1997) What that is saying is there is sometimes a challenge with parties of a business arrangement maintaining good ethical character and competence. Sometimes there are opportunities to borrow money or to make a profitable business decision that aren’t always moral or wise. Personal decisions we make also need a good understanding of finance, for instance, planning for children going to college, planning for retirement, or something as immediate as keeping a roof over our house. The first thing we need to realize, however, is that all that we have has been given to us by God, and it is our duty to be good stewards with that. We also need to know how to be good stewards and that involves understanding what God has given and how do we please Him with our decisions. We need to understand the risks of investing and borrowing. It is also good to understand the while borrowing is not inherently bad the Bible does warn the borrower is slave to the lender. Equally making money and planning for the future is also not inherently bad, greed is bad. It is good to look at retirement accounts and savings accounts and plan how to meet a future goal. We should be looking how to meet a future goal and what the cost is now. Once again we should be doing it from a Biblical perspective. God does give us many rules that will lead us in our financial decision making. We are commanded to first provide for our families. If we can’t provide for ourselves or our families how can we also give as God as has commanded. Dave Ramsey has said on hundreds of occasions that “We should live like no one else, so later in life we can give like no one else.” That is very true. Part of living is living right. Same concept applies to our professional careers and business dealings. As a Christian it is very necessary to act like one. That means even when we are valuing companies, valuing investments, looking to improve efficiency, and make a profit; doing things that seem like they have no relation to our beliefs, they actually do. Proverbs 3:9-10 says “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill...
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