Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thinking Beyond the Numbers

In business schools there are two camps the rarely meet as they will grow to be mortal enemies in the future and one does not want to become too familiar with the other camp. The two groups of which I speak are the future accountants and account executive (form the marketing department). Do not let the similar names fool you nor the fact that they roam many of the same halls on campus--these two are oil and vinegar. The accountant is the master of the numbers the scorekeeper of the organization neat tightly and precise. The person with the marketing degree is a weaver of tales. Master of the big picture and quick to say, "We'll worry about the details later." (Only to find that the details are the causes of the current crisis)

On the surface and most in respectable party is the accountant with just the numbers none of the fluff. Thinking about the numbers complied for a recent article in the Wildcat Online that gives the profitability of top 66 football and basketball programs may lead to questions about the honesty of the accountants. While the big picture of the numbers tell a consistent story the question come in the expense side of the equation. Looking at the top two schools we can see the issue the average expense for Texas were $15 million and Ohio State reports expenses of $28 million. Does it really cost the Buckeyes twice as much to run their football team? The truth is simple that these expense are worthless at best and probably misleading the public as to the truth. That said there may not be an attempt to deceive anyone just wildly differing judge calls as to how expenses are charged or not charged to the athletic department.

Suddenly thae marketing guys WAG numbers seem to be morer crediable.


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