There are four types when you assess accountants on routine and continuous improvement. These are not the only axis that matter as an accountant, but it’s one way to understand the diversity of the profession.
The truth is, there’s a place for all four types and most finance teams wouldn’t be complete without a diverse group.
Let's explore the four. Here is a fun description of the Operator, the Growth Leader, the Project Leader and the Consultant.
If you are an accountant, tell us which one are you? Who is on your team? Who is missing from your team?
If you are a business leader, tell us which describes your Finance Leader or the accountants on their team? Is that a match for your growing business and what you need to operate and drive revenue?
Despite the bean-counting stereo-types and the ideas out there about us and our profession we are all very different.
This is a fun discussion of some of those differences. Let us know what you think!!
I like routine. Monday is for meatloaf. Business day 5 the general ledger closes. It is important to be able to predict and balance the busy times with the flexible times. It is key to be able to work towards a deadline and to understand expectations and deliver.
I’m reliable. People depend on me. I expect to depend on others. We don’t vacation when it’s peak time. We are dedicated and know the schedule. We don’t need to change what’s not broken. And it’s not (broken) as we meet said expectations month after month.
I am an Operator and that means I like:
High routine/Low continuous improvement
Best practice and common practice are often confused.
Just because everyone is vacationing there doesn’t mean I should. I plan my next trip on my current trip. And just because it is industry standard or "how it has always been done" doesn’t mean it’s the best process or technology.
We need to understand the current state but define a desired state based on strategic considerations.
We then need a roadmap to get us there and a clear budget and timeline with tone at the top supporting us.
I love to plan. I love to lead.
I don’t necessarily want to run that desired state and reap the benefits. By then there’s something new awaiting. I have got more to learn and I’ve learnt what there is here so off I go! Once it is set up I loose interest quickly.
I am a Consultant and that means I like:
Low routine/High continuous improvement
I get things done.
Give me a to do list & I’ll cross those babies off. Give me a free weekend I will build a shelf (for twice the cost of IKEA and despite my wife saying we don’t have room for it).
I am good at projects. I stick to the ghant chart. I manage to the budget. I meet my deadlines. Nothing feels better than a job done.
I love planning the next one too. It’s about the sense of accomplishments and if you give me a goal I’m determined to achieve it. Every project is different and a chance to learn which is what I love. It doesn’t matter what it is I’m keen to give it a go.
I am a Project Leader and that means I like:
Low routine/Low continuous improvement
There’s always a faster and easier way. Nothing is ever good enough.
There’s a new kitchen gadget I must have. There’s a new exercise trend I must try.
Once I start, I’m obsessed and I stick with it until something more impressive meets that same objective. Month-end can be more automated and done quicker. Projects in the off times can get us ahead. We need to meet and exceed our deadlines. We need clear roles and responsibilities and processes and technologies that support our team in their goals. We must always question how we are doing things and what we can do better.
I can’t wait for the day of a constant close or when my team is all analysis and business partners with robots supporting us - imagine how quick the board report will get out!
I have a growth mindset.
I am a Growth Leader and that means I like:
High routine/High continuous improvement
For more information on what type of accountant makes sense for you and your business be in touch. There is value in all four types. This discussion was light and fun. Our teams are made up of people who gravitate towards routine or not and towards continuous improvement or not. The strategy of an organization and the Finance team will help us identify who we need in each seat. It is important to have fun with it but also be self-aware and organizational-aware.
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