This may seem like a given statement. After all, accounting professionals are human and all humans are unique.
But as professionals, the impression has long been one thing. One of a very staid or subdued, somewhat introverted or socially awkward individual that may only display excitement around numbers, spreadsheets and data in general.
Clearly this is not the case, but on a much larger scale the impression of what an accountant is and does needs to change. For the survival of the profession, it needs new ideas, diversity, and individuals of all kinds who want to help and be a part of an individual’s or business’s financial success. It needs to be a career entered with pride, some excitement, and security that you can be your authentic self while maintaining professional integrity and using the knowledge and skills you have learned to be the best financial support system around.
We have started to see signs of accountants doing just that, selling their authenticity, being their true selves while serving their clients and the accounting community at the highest level. One recent, and clear example, can be found in Scott Scarano, an Enrolled Agent, president of Padget North Carolina, firm owner and rapper. Those familiar with this particular accountant will often see him in trademark gold chains, baseball or Kangol hat and being an all-around engaging and friendly individual. Underneath, it’s all business and he believes accountants need to be their individual selves, embracing the value of their time, and growing the kind of practice they want.
These may not sound like very unique concepts, but for most accountants who struggle with their daily professional lives, it is a song worth listening to. Another unique individual I’ve met in my travels is Randy Crabtree, CPA. He is the co-founder of Tri-Merit Group and runs the Unique CPA podcast. Last year, Randy and the Tri-Merit team hosted their first ever live event called ‘Bridging The Gap,’ which really was all about everything I’ve been mentioning.
The main point here is, accountants need to feel that they can be their authentic selves. Also, they need to have an “other” in their lives; something outside of accounting work that brings joy or focuses their energies on activities that bring balance.
In this context, newer live events like Tri-Merit’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ serve a purpose. The next generation of accounting is not just about who is coming into the profession, but where it’s going overall and how it needs to be a more attractive and inclusive “place” to work. To me, this starts by showing a more realistic and, at the risk of overusing the word, unique face to this profession.
Last year’s Tri-Merit event put a lot of these themes literally on stage and it plans to continue to focus on them, in addition to where new technologies and methods of working and staffing play a role. Next year’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ event will again be at the Loews Chicago O’Hare, July 21-24 (details TK).
To give you a sense of the vibe, here’s a video that Scott Scarano (OKR) created to help promote last year’s event. Just one example of how ALL accountants are unique, hoping we see it more going forward (and yes, I got a shout out in the video too).