For years accounting was the game to follow. High school counselors recommended accounting as up and coming as the service sector was taking over the national economy. Everyone was going to need accountants, in a variety of challenging and exciting areas. There would be staff accountants and auditors, accountants to do Due diligence and accountants to do taxes. There were public accountants and corporate accountants. there were bookkeepers and clerks. Every business starting out was looking for someone who could turn the business of doing business into returns and reports and data that could be reviewed to tell how things were going. We created binders and books and catalogs.
Then along came computers. What a love / hate relationship that was. You could put data into the mainframe, but it wasn’t always easy to get it back out. And there was no guarantee that the data put in was correct either. Now the accountant needed a computer operator and some programmers to help. Yup, we upped our game and developed even better reports and found more ways to slice and dice the businesses, but we were in charge, because we knew accounting and just how things were needed to be.
Now lets move several decades forward and the accountant is now mostly the computer’s assistant. I’m not putting down accounting in any way, because accountants know so much more than in years past. We can see so much more than ever imagined and today’s accountants are on a level only dreamed of in the past. But look at what computers now do. So much of business can now be automated that even small companies and start-ups have software packages to handle most of the ordinary, day-to-day work. Even period and regulatory reporting was automated by the simplest of software packages.
In my lifetime, accounting was boring!!! Same processes, day after day leading to the same routines at month-end, quarter-end, and year-end. I could barely stay awake and each raise in title was more hours in disguise. Eventually I became redundant, which matched my attitude and I made the switch from Controller to consultant.
I was so scared!! Each client would ask different questions, all of them pointed at the areas I knew the least. No one wanted my expertise! They only wanted me to know the things I didn’t. Wow, did I learn quickly. Consulting, at its core, is the confidence in knowing that you can stay a minimum of five minutes ahead of your peers. Don’t get me wrong here, you must have the core knowledge and understanding in your field, but your paid to be a student and find answers, the best answers, for your client.
No matter what you do, no matter how good your advice, the client is going to go along, change their mind, go back to the original plan, and change requirements again. Frustration and stress share center-stage with the feeling of accomplishment. At dinner each evening, we get together and share war stories of the day, moaning and laughing, planning the next day, and dreaming of our roll-off date. It’s like banging your head against the wall so that it feels good when you stop!
I wouldn’t trade this for the world! I want to find a way for you and I to keep putting ourselves out to help others, to tackle their problems a little better and a little faster than they can. As much as we help others, we can help ourselves by searching for those with a passion for consulting, a passion for helping and we can join together to boost our reputation.
If you really love the challenge, and have a reputation for getting things done, I’d like to hear from you. Let me know what excites you. Let me know what pushes you forward in the face of adversity. Let me know why you hate this job so much you’ll never stop doing it.
Face piles of trials with smiles