My friend and fellow blogger Michelle Golden updated her status on Facebook the other day to say "I think I spotted the CPA group in the lobby"; she was attending a conference somewhere. The first comment on her update went something like "What were they congregated in a corner by themselves?" I naturally objected and said I feel like I'm being typecast again.
I've kept thinking about this. Why do CPAs have this image of being boring, introverted people who can't talk to another human being? Is there something about this profession that attracts boring, introverted people to it?
But I'm not boring or introverted!
I'm thinking though about various CPAs I know, and sadly that describes many of them. They only seem to come alive when they talk about the tax code. You go to a CPE session where you don't know anybody and you sit down at the group lunch and nobody says a thing.
I remember someone I worked with at Deloitte in the mid 80s who, while brilliant on the audit side, didn't have much of a personality. I once asked him what he did for fun and he said he played tennis on the weekends, and I just couldn't, and still can't, picture it.
So what is it? And why don't I fit in that mold? Why doesn't the life of the party want to be a CPA? I really enjoy a lot of the work I do. As I do more SEC work I find the issues fascinating and the challenges can be very intellectually stimulating. Why does that attract the introverted?
Personally, I think that not being boring and introvered it is a big part of my success. Nobody hires a CPA anymore because they are a technical guru. That's a given. I get hired because I know my stuff AND because I have a personality. For clients where I spend a lot of time doing field work, I get to know them well; they include us in their pot luck lunches too. I wind up "friending" many of them on Facebook and then they see how warped I really am.
I might wind up in the corner with a group of CPAs, but trust me I'm the loud one in the group.
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. Joel writes observations on different matters and especially on working with and using LinkedIn. He thinks he has a sense of humor.