Why are you an accountant?

Why Are You an Accountant?

Are you in public accounting to make a real difference?

Thinking about this fundamental question can point you in some interesting directions.   You probably know more about your client’s businesses than you realize. Is your knowledge being fully utilized?  Check out this TEDtalk video about the question “Why?”

Can’t see the video?  Watch it here.

I remember my decision to go into public accounting and I made that decision when I was only about 17 years old.   I was always interested in business.  My parents were both school teachers and had no business background at all.  Business was a big, fascinating mystery to me and I wanted to figure it out.  I felt like if someone could just teach me, I could be successful.  Then

one morning my mother took me to breakfast and we ran into a local entrepreneur that I had known through a friend of mine.  He invited us to join him for breakfast and my mother started asking a few questions to get him to offer me some career advice.  He asked me what I wanted and I told him…”I want to find a profession where I can learn about business so that I can one day start one of my own.”  He looked at me, thought for a moment and said…”Become a CPA.  You will get the opportunity to learn about all sorts of different businesses and industries by helping clients with their businesses.”   I left feeling excited and focused and that is exactly what I did without ever even really questioning the decision much.  What he said made perfect sense.

When I started practicing, I realized that my idealistic vision of what an accountant does on a day to day basis wasn’t quite what I thought.  I started my first job in public accounting in 1991 and a lot has changed since then.  I am excited that the profession is changing and for accountants that manage their practices well, I believe it is now more possible than it ever has been to make a positive difference for clients.  It is possible to use all of that knowledge to help clients build amazing businesses.  Accountants can make a bigger impact!  The tools now exist to make it easier than ever.  The key is learning the why and being able to articulate your message.

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