Source: Sherman Publications

Treasurer to teach finances

by Andrea Beaudoin

December 18, 2013

Independence Township Treasurer Paul Brown, a certified public accountant, will teach several classes on “Organizing your Personal Finances.”

Six classes will be in January, February, March, April, July and October.

Individuals who wish to attend the series can sign up for just one of all of them. For members who belong to the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, the classes are free otherwise classes have a fee of $60.

Each event at the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce offices will feature a one hour interactive roundtable session.

According to Brown, each work session will provide simple tools to help participants take control of finances immediately. Some topics to be covered include getting organized and learning to make your finances work for you.

During the first session, Brown will utilize Excel worksheets to help attendees learn how maintain their month’s bank accounts and better forecast future bank projections.

“It’s set up for personal use and it’s something I’ve used to help people in the past that have wanted to get their hands around their personal finances,” he said.

Each class has been created as a standalone session, and each class address different financial issues.

“The first class has two components,” said Brown. “During the first class, participants will learn to use to use spreadsheets, so you can see bank projections for each month and then better figure out where your finances stand in future months.”

Brown said the spreadsheets also lets users schedule monthly payments. “It helps you feel confident that things you need to handle are handled,” he said.

Brown said checking accounts and the way payments are made are much different than they used to be when paper checks had to clear the bank.

“So many things are electronic now,” he said. “You really can’t balance your check book like you used to.”

Another component of the class and an important aspect of personal security is developing strong passwords for online accounts.

Brown said he has created a system that allows users to have different passwords for each account, and the method helps you to never forget all the different passwords.

“We will develop really strong passwords for accounts and manage them so you never forget them,” he said. “And you never write them down.”

Brown recommends never writing passwords down anywhere.

“I have 25 accounts online, but I never write down any passwords because that is really dangerous,” he said. “With my system you will never forget passwords. It’s a system I developed years ago, and have shown other people how to use it.”

Brown teaches people how to utilize the “clue” that many sites allow users to have if they forget their password to keep track of passwords.

While the first class is geared towards personal finance, the other classes are aimed more towards businesses but presents useful information that anyone can use.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptop computers, but it’s not necessary.

In addition to being elected in 2012 as Independence Township Trustee, Brown is a certified public accountant Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a registered CPA in the state of Michigan.

Before taking office as trustee, Brown worked as the Chief Financial Officer for Lynn Medical Instruments in Michigan. Prior to his employment at Lynn Medical, Brown worked four years as corporate controller for Form Tech Concrete Form, one of the largest companies of its kind,

Brown also spent five years with UHY, an auditing and financial firm, that ranks as one of the top 20 professional services of it’s kind in the US.

The classes take place Friday mornings from 9-10 a.m. For a complete class list of dates call the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce at 248-625-8055.