“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” observed John F. Kennedy. As a manager at MBS Accountancy, I’ve certainly learned many lessons throughout my professional journey. Here are few of the most impactful ones that I feel can be most instructive and helpful to you.
There’s a saying I’ve learned over the years that says, “short-term sorry can make you long-term happy.” I’ve interpreted this to mean that temporary discomfort can often increase our quality of life or contribute to our personal growth. This realization has helped me get through difficult days and keep negative experiences in proper perspective.
I’ve owned chickens for many years and enjoy caring for them every day. But, along with their eggs, I’ve learned many lessons from them – especially relating to managing people. For example, when chickens are well-cared for and healthy, they lay better eggs. Similarly, when employees are treated with respect and genuine empathy, they are more productive and happy in the workplace.
A research team from University of Oxford studied employees of British telecommunications firm BT over six months and found that happier employees were roughly 13% more productive than their counterparts. Just like my chickens, employees who are happy and well-respected in the workplace will be more productive.
When you first start out as an accountant, you're assigned clients and are eager to please managers and clients. At this early stage, it’s easy to let clients get away with rudeness or other bad client etiquette since you're new and trying to prove yourself. But, as a developing accountant, it’s critical that you learn to develop boundaries. We need to have self-respect and convey those boundaries to clients.
Of course, firms are partially to blame for a lack of boundaries between accountants and clients. Many new firms operate with the assumption that all clients are good clients, which means they take the side of clients in any dispute with staff. However, once you get settled and established as firm, you should have the capacity, revenue, and experience to recognize who’s truly at fault when conflicts arise between staff and clients. It’s not always your staff that’s the problem.
One of the accounting stereotypes that I most dislike is the belief that accounting is nothing more than calculations. Good accountants learn to recognize the story behind a company’s financial statements. A balance sheet can serve as a snapshot of your company’s financial health, while the general ledger provides a play-by-play of business transactions. Unfortunately, bad accountants often get away with rattling off numbers to clients with little explanation of how those figures fit into the overall picture and business strategy. That’s why it’s important to hire a great accountant that doesn’t just recite numbers but explains their context and any noteworthy trends or patterns.
These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned from my time as a manager at MBS Accountancy, and I expect to learn much more in the future. I hope these lessons have helped you grow, both as a person and a professional.