Breaking the Accountant Stereotype
By Wiss Associate
Think of an accountant, and what do you picture? If you follow the common societal stereotype, you may envision someone with a pocket protector and a beige plastic raincoat who goes to bed cuddling his calculator, with no emotion and no social competence. A person who would rather recite the square root of pi than eat pie.
Think of an entrepreneur, and you probably picture an entirely different image.
Beyond the sheer sophistication of the word “entrepreneur” itself, these are people known as visionaries and dreamers, with street smarts, determination and versatility of knowledge. They don’t spend their time calculating risks; they take them.
As with most stereotypes, these images aren’t exactly fair. But those who can combine the skill of accounting with the soul of entrepreneurship have the ability to change the market for the better.
Business and technology growth have made this a dynamic time in the accounting industry, and dynamic times require dynamic people. Applying an entrepreneurial mindset in the ever-changing and volatile economy is crucial for whatever the future might hold. Don’t think of your accountant as a number cruncher, but rather as a problem-solver. He or she can use advanced systems and programs to handle complex issues. But it is important for accountants to be problem-solvers with a pulse, to add personality to their procedures and to not be aloof and impersonal. Emotional intelligence can be as important as intelligence itself, because it creates better connections and adds value to a client’s experience.
Accountants can be found in all types of government, nonprofit and private industries, handling everything from financial reporting and planning to information technology to forensics and fraud issues. Because of this breadth of possibility, there is tremendous opportunity for accountants to become involved in the front lines of operations and become more commercially aware.
Creativity is also key. Tax laws are constantly evolving and subject to interpretation. Much like an entrepreneur, accountants must be able to navigate changing tides and think on their feet.
When an accountant can strategically assist in the growth of a client with entrepreneurship characteristics, that person has hit a level of value that will result in success and satisfaction — and break a few stereotypes along the way.
When choosing an accountant, make sure he or she is not just an accountant – but an accountant with an entrepreneurial spirit.