Many accountants enter the field because numbers are easier to deal with than people. Numbers are predictable, understandable, and lead to a solution or balance. In contrast, people are complex, unpredictable, and sometimes illogical. Although many accountants may not have to interact with people at work, this puts them at a disadvantage. In many cases, they may start treating people as numbers rather than human beings. This is one reason why humanity matters in the accounting profession. Here are four others.
When accountants transition from large companies to small businesses, they often have difficulty communicating with coworkers. Since there are fewer accountants in small businesses than large companies, accountants have fewer coworkers to talk with who understand their language. As a result, accountants may have difficulty getting to know coworkers if they have to work more collaboratively rather than individually.
Accountants who change employers may have issues blending with company culture. Many small businesses have a cultural philosophy that every interaction, no matter the type or reason for it, needs to be treated as a sales opportunity. In these cases, accountants and other employees are required to remind clients why they spend their money on the company’s products or services and why they should continue to do so. This can be challenging for accountants who aren’t in the habit of interacting with clients.
Accountants who interact with clients often earn increased business. For instance, a CFO wanted to contact clients with payments significantly in arrears to see what was happening. Rather than let Collections handle the accounts, the CFO wanted to give the clients the benefit of the doubt. When he approached the conversations with true concern for each client’s wellbeing, he learned the majority wanted to pay their bills but couldn’t. The CFO worked with each client to arrange payment schedules that met both their and the company’s needs. When many of the clients paid off their debts and improved their financial position, they made subsequent purchases from the company and paid their invoices on time. Because the CFO took the time to treat the clients with respect and dignity, they continued doing business with the company. Had the CFO treated the client differently, the client most likely would have taken their business elsewhere.
Accountants use in-person communication and relationship management to provide additional value. Accountants develop, implement, and analyze strategies to maximize revenues and minimize costs. They then explain how these strategies impact their employees and customers. Without providing context for business decisions or explaining complex topics, accountants’ work wouldn’t be as effective.
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