Are you an accountant who can save the world?

Recently I was at the gym. Don’t  be too impressed. I joined a group about 6 months ago that goes to the gym every Monday & Friday morning and I hate very minute of it! The only reason I go is that I know it is supposed to be doing me some good.

Between some boring weight exercises I chatted with one of my fellow victims at the gym. We both knew each other before the gym and have been friends for a few years. My friend is the Head of Design at a small to medium manufacturing firm which designs, builds and distributes catering equipment. The firm employs around 100 people and has been locally owned & operated for more than 20 years.

I asked my friend how business was going. To cut a long story short, the conversation moved to the impact of the so called “carbon tax” For my readers overseas, the Australian government introduced a tax on carbon producers so as to penalise emissions on 1 July 2012.

My friends firm, as one of the inputs into their productive process, uses refrigeration gas. This gas is one of the long list of items that attracts the new carbon tax. I was amazed to learn that before 1 July this manufacturing firm was paying a wholesale rate of $25 per kilo. Come 1 July the rate for the same gas increased to $160 per kilo. A whopping 640% increase! By the way … this manufacturer doesn’t use a kilo or two of gas a year – they use hundreds of kilos! And this is just one expense item that has been increased due to the carbon tax.

How do business owners and management cope with such a shock? In steps the accountant to the rescue. Given my work with accountants over many, many years I would have thought that  the above example is a golden opportunity to enter the business and use their expertise to help with solutions to manage such impacts on the business.

Numerous examples come to mind of accountants that I have met and worked with who are able to develop innovate ways to run business more efficiently and effectively. Its not just about numbers of course its about the helping the business do better!

Are you an accountant that can save the business world?

See you next post.

All my best,

James E

Are you a “commercial” accountant?

Sorry for not blogging on Friday – no excuses just too many things to do 🙂

A while back I met with a CFO of a privately owned steel fabrication business. Their revenue was over $100m and they employed a workforce of just over 200. To protect the innocent, lets call the CFO Jack as in the great Jack Nicholson. I asked Jack the following question – What is the most important quality or attribute you look for in an accountant?

Integrity, supported by the capability to get the job done. A strong, considered independent viewpoint with the comfort to communicate in a frank and open manner. Having a clear understanding of the genuine incremental value of what can be provided to an organisation. Maintaining a consistent reputation with an acceptance of past failures and an ongoing focus on improving the quality of their offer. An attribute that I would like to see more of is the nurturing of commercial acumen across the range of individuals in the accounting firm and the application of that into the dialogue of business thought and sentiment.

Jack is offering a most interesting insight here: nurturing commercial acumen across all the professionals in the accounting firm, not just the partners or directors. The definition of the word “acumen” is to have the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain. So it follows that commercial acumen refers to an individual’s ability to exercise judgment and make quick decisions in a commercial setting. It is vital that individuals coming into a firm as graduates, and those moving through the ranks, are given the opportunity to develop and grow their abilities to judge a situation and make an informed decision. No number of courses, workshops or reading books can ever take the place of a younger inexperienced accountant being mentored and nurtured by more experienced professionals within the firm. If you’re a partner or a director, a key part of being a leader is to grow those in your team. By doing so, you will help your clients, your firm and yourself. Sounds like a great deal!

Until next time,