Accountant = Referee?

 Too much to do and too few resources.  That's the situation ALL not-for-profit organizations find themselves in.  There are always good ideas that haven't been explored, needy people who haven't been served, environmental challenges which have not been addressed, etc.

As the accountant, you have to be the one to say, "We don't have a budget for that." "How will you fund that project," "That money has already been committed elsewhere," and "What will we stop doing in order to make room for this new work."  The accountant becomes the referree.  

But does that preclude you from arguing for projects or changes that you see will add value to the organization?  There may be nobody else with your financial background.  If you don't raise the issue, will someone else?

Yesterday I volunteered to be a judge at a high school impromptu debating tournament.  What a treat to see young men and women struggling with organizing their thoughts and arguing for their point of view all with 10 minutes of preparation.  There were some impressive speakers and some excellent debate.  It made me reflect again how little communications training accountants get, particularly in the art of convincing an audience.  It makes it harder for us to bust out of our referree role.

What do you think?

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by Bill Kennedy, CA.IT, PMP - With over 25 years of accounting experience, Bill has a varied background in accounting management and accounting systems implementation, with a focus on the charitable sector. He is also an experienced volunteer board member and fundraiser.

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