Accounting can be lonely. So much of what we do is by ourselves. I was at a the finance committee meeting of a charity last week. We were discussing how much money the charity needs to have on hand as a contingency fund. We decided that three month's worth of expenses was a realistic, practical amount. After the discussion, the Treasurer thanked us. He said he and the other management staff had wrestled with the question, but he felt better having the chance to work with other accountants.
Reading all the resumes was depressing. We're hiring a new manager and I was going through a stack of them with the human resources consultant. The resumes looked remarkably similar and there wasn't a decent cover letter in the pile. "We should have required applicants to have good communication skills," I joked to the consultant. "We did," he replied.
Karen was the accountant for a client of mine. She had twenty years of experience, starting as the receptionist and working her way up to become an indispensable part of the team. She was quiet and dependable, keeping the invoicing and payroll systems going through changes in legislation, system problems and people’s comings and goings. That is, unless you were trying to get away with anything.
Here's the official patron saint of accounting, Saint Matthew: "The patron saint of accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, security guards and tax collectors is Saint Matthew of Apostle fame, and he also was the author of one of the Gospels. Before becoming an Apostle, however, he started out as a Jewish tax collector at Capernaum. Little is known about him, outside the seven references he has in the Gospels. In medieval art, Saint Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem - his artistic calling card if you will. He is one of the originals in the pantheon of patron saints." Okay, that's the official line. My nominee for the patron saint of accounting would be
My son is in the throws of selecting a university (no, he has no intention of studying accounting!) We are doing the usual rounds of visits to campuses, going to the university fair and my son is attending the events sponsored by the colleges at his school. This morning he was chuckling at the lame marketing slogans employed by the universities.
Late last night I was driving home from work, yeah I know it was Saturday - it's budget time, enough said - and I passed by a building where I used to work. There was a light on in one room and I realized it was my old office.
Where I live, in order to become a Chartered Accountant (the Canadian equivalent of a CPA), you need the following:
Small companies are nimble and respond quickly to their customers' needs. Big companies can take on large projects and provide a wide range of products. But what happens when a big company downsizes to become a small company? Does it regain its nimbleness or does it end up as the worst of both worlds?
Yes, yes, I know. ALL of the travel tips tell you to travel light. Pack one bag. Make it small enough to be carry on. That way you can take your laptop and your suitcase on the plane with you. They don't get lost. You don't have to wait to get your luggage at your destination. You can just waltz through to get to the front of the taxi / rental car line. I used to be like that too.
With the pending retirement of the Baby boom generation, we are about to lose a lot of hard won experience. Many of the Boomers are retiring early. They have the money they need. Why stay in the daily grind if you don't need to? But let's not write them off too quickly. We need to find ways to use their knowledge to help the next generation.