It’s the question I most dread when I go to parties…..so what do you and your husband do? We look across to one another and my husband gives me the cursory nod as if to say, you say it, I can’t bare it!….. "we are both accountants” I reply almost apologetically. The almost standard unwitty and unoriginal response comes back almost instantaneously “That must lead to some exciting conversations!”
Well in fact yes it does…we have been known on occasion to make jokes about assets and liabilities, laughing so hard that tears roll down our faces. Only to suddenly be brought back to reality and acknowledge that our joke was in fact a little bit geeky and perhaps it would be best if we stopped it right there and then.
But why is there this stigma attached to being an accountant?
Perhaps this stigma is the fault of our accounting ancestors, the traditional accountant, ‘the bean counter’ who was locked away with their trusty calculator, (or abacus, depending on how far back you want to go!) swamped with ledger books and paper work, with no real communication with the rest of the business. Solely focused on keeping the records straight and getting the reports out on time.
But this is no longer the case. Now we are the ‘strategic partner’, we are the ones helping steer the course for the business….that’s got to be exciting hasn’t it? We are the CEOs right hand man, appraising whether we should enter new markets, create new product lines and identifying new channels to market.
Gone are the days we dedicate 100% of our time to record keeping and producing financial statements. Now we seek to provide near real time analysis to aid decision making. We are no longer backwards looking, we have now entered the exciting era of predicting future trends to support the business.
Now we find ourselves collaborating with those outside the finance department! Working closely with Operations to build our budgets and manage the performance of the business. Our relationship with the C-Suite has flourished, in particular with the CMO and the CIO. We are there in the thick of the action, all be it viewing it from head office.
God knows many of us still love a good reconciliation. After all there is nothing more satisfying then reconciling 2 accounts to the penny and applying a new accounting standard :) but being an accountant is no longer boring, yet the label ‘boring accountant’ has still remained.
In my desperate bid to dispel this myth...
I asked a LinkedIn group I moderate with 40,000 finance professionals (The modern Finance Forum) what the most exciting and adventurous thing was they have done? Within a couple of days I had gathered 40 comments. Amongst us we have skydivers, bull runners, bobsleigh runners, bungee jumpers, abseilers and motor cycling racers…other had even been known to send a couple of paper aeroplanes loose in the office, while another turned up in red shoes, and that wasn’t even on a dress down Friday!
You see we are not such a boring bunch after all!! And so if you are a finance professional and have an exciting or adventurous streak please add your comment to the discussion and share this article to help spread the word!
You can also get the chance to meet some of our adventurous finance professionals at our upcoming Future of the Finance Function conference on 10th-11th November in London. Hope to swap stories with you there!