50 HASKINS & SELLS June
"A Little Learning—"
By L . C. MATTHEWS, Manager, Atlanta Office
THE time honored maxim with respect
to copious imbibition from the Pierian
Spring, when applied to a knowledge
of corporate management, is perhaps more
observed in the breach than in the performance.
We firmly believe that the elements of
corporate procedure and management
should form a basis of the so called "business
course" now included in the curriculum
of our public schools.
Many students pass directly from the
public schools into business without even
a working knowledge of a corporation.
The attendant results are often disastrous.
Almost any experienced accountant in public
practice is able to catch the thread and
follow the machinations of a crook, but the
ignoramus is the fellow that keeps us
An accountant engaged on an audit of
the accounts of a large jobbing corporation
was once asked by the vice-president
and treasurer of the company, "What are
the rights of a partner in a corporation?"
When the official was told that there were
no partners in a corporation; that he was
a shareholder by virtue of the amount of
capital contributed; that he was a director
by the votes of the stockholders; that he
was an officer of the company elected by
the directors; that all of his rights, as well
as his duties, were defined in the charter
and by-laws of the company; he very
frankly admitted that he had never read
either of them. About a year after this
incident, the company was adjudged bankrupt
and the aforesaid official did not survive
Two young men, in a neighboring state,
with abundant capital, supplied by indulgent
fathers, secured the agency for a
popular motor car and started on a business
career. The employment of several
different bookkeepers, all of whom were
more or less deficient in the knowledge of