Its all about attitude

Paul Burgess is CFO of one of Australia’s largest bus builders, Custom Coaches. Here is his answer to the fundamental question, What is the most important quality or attribute you look for in an accountant?

There is a particular attribute that I look for in everypne I do business with; be they people outside the business or staff.  That attribute is attitude.  A person can have the greatest technical expertise or be a financial genius. These things just don’t matter if the person in question has the “wrong” attitude.

Irrespective of the skill or expertise needed by my business, whatever I’m looking for, the attitude of the person is the most important thing that I can buy.  To me, assuming a given level of expertise, if I can work with a person with the right attitude I can solve any business problem.  On the other hand if the person has the wrong attitude this usually results in a much lower likelihood of success.

We have an external financial advisor as a member of our board. He has great technical skills, a strong understanding of the business and the market in which we operate. He has a good head for strategy.  As a board member there many things someone like this chap needs to bring to the table, but for me everything is secondary to a person’s attitude.

When you say attitude, what do you mean?

Put simply I equate attitude to enthusiasm.  If somebody comes into my office and sits in the chair opposite me and I’m interviewing them for an external accounting assignment, an in-house finance or technology role, an operations position then I look at certain things. How they sit in the chair, their facial expressions, the energy and enthusiasm in the way they speak about their work and life.  For example, if someone is telling me they enjoy working with people and can’t look me in the eye, but are looking around the office and out of the window then that is a clear signal to me that their actions don’t align with what they are saying. It really can be that obvious.

See you next post,

James E