It's MY data, dammit!

By Bill Kennedy - The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

It was Tuesday, July 8, a smoggy day in the metropolis. My name is Joe Friday, and I implement business systems.

Normally accountants are quiet, orderly people, but the Financial Analyst in front of me had more than just a hair out of place. She was spitting mad.

"Those Customer Relationship Management people have ruined my data."

"Just the facts, ma'am. What seems to be the problem?"

"We have duplicate customers all through the system. We should never have let them in. It's an accounting system. CRM is just an add-on."

I promised her I would get right on it, so, taking my morning coffee with me, I made my way over to the sales area. The Sales Manager was having his own problems.

"Turns out each member of the sales team had their individual way of keep their list of key contacts. The goods ones used our official contact manager, but other guys used Excel or one even had them on 3 by 5 cue cards, just like his grandfather."

"What seems to be the problem, sir?"

"Problem is they don't want to give up their old ways. Different guys recorded the same customer different ways. When we merged the lists we created duplicates. That got Accounting really mad at us. They said we had to use their system, but frankly, all they care about is name and address. We have multiple contacts, the account history and the industry stats to load as well. But that's not the big problem."

"What is the big problem?"

"The big problem is that the sales team don't want to give up 'their' data at all. They're afraid that others will use their contacts or that we'll fire them when we have their stuff."

This wasn't going to be an easy case after all. Who really owns the data? Is it the sales staff who worked so hard to compile it? Is it the Sales Manager, who is responsible for the team's performance? Or is it really Accounting's data, since, after all, the information is going into a CRM add-on to the Accounting System. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion next . . .

I fast forward the tape to the next installment.

Friday here. The suspects are all together in one room. The time had come to put an end to the data ownership question.

"Listen up. I have interviewed each one of you and looked at all the relevant laws. Nobody owns the data."

Pandemonium erupted. Everyone shouted at once. Accusations flew. Then the door opened and an immediate hush descended on the room. There, standing in the doorway, was none other than the mysterious woman from the corner office.

"My grandfather started this company. I have worked here all my life. I own 85 percent of the shares of this corporation. I own the data."

She entered the room and walked over to the salesperson.

"George, you have a personal relationship with each of your customers. If they sneeze, you're standing there with a kleenex. But when you go on vacation and one of them calls, I don't know what the hell's going on. And I don't like that. Nobody can do your job like you, George. But nobody can do your job at all when you're not here. Got it?"

George nodded. The President moved to the Financial Analyst.

"Grace, you care about the information. Accuracy is your middle name. But you don't bring in a single sale. Not one. You've got to learn to get along with the others. You have to share your toys or we all won't get to keep playing the game. Make sense?"

Grace looked at the floor.

"Okay, Joe. I think they get the picture," she turned to face the group. "Show's over, folks. Back to work."

"That's my line," I said. She winked at me as she left the room.

Original Post

This blog

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.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

48735

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

82049

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

53912

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

97479
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
24583

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

61303

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

87160

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

28510

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

70076

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

38240
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
110242
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
30007

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

58289
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
32012
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
36651

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

109122

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

37900

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

120308

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

67475

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

43703
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
71448

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

98427

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

58993