Why I Became An Accountant
Last week’s blog about my father’s largest client brought back memories of one of the reasons that pointed me toward a career in accounting.
As a young boy, I not only seemed to learn “everything there was to know” about this client but I learned what a CPA does. My father “pushed the pencil” – that’s how he made a living. But he did more – he was a trusted confident and advisor to all his clients.
My father would share with my mother what his clients wanted to know or do, and living in our cramped Bronx apartment, I usually overheard these conversations. It seemed to me that my father was a very important person. He had to be if all these people needed him to tell them what they should do. This presented my father, the CPA, as a man of power – perhaps a quiet power since he didn’t seem to get the overt recognition – but he was in the middle of everything and I started picturing myself as being able to wield power someday – just like my Dad.
Why are accountants consulted so often by their clients? Well, for one, most businesses, and a lot of personal decisions, involve money and that is the CPAs bailiwick. No one wants to make a decision that will cost them more than it should, garner a tax benefit, avoid a tax trap, or without find out from a trusted adviser if there might be a better way. CPAs also have a wide range of clients in many different industries that provide an accumulation of an extremely broad experience in industries, professions, and unusual financial situations. And for some reason, successful CPAs have an uncanny ability to transfer or project their experiences to a myriad of circumstances and then articulate it clearly to present an apparent path for the client to follow.
I learned at a very young age the “extras” or “value-added” element of the CPA/Client relationship. As I grew, I developed the ability to anticipate what clients wanted, and ways to deliver it in an easy manner to them. I don’t recall ever getting much accolades or thanks, but I always got the first call they made seeking guidance. That was the “thanks” I needed. We spend over 50 hours a week working. Making it supportive, challenging and enjoyable provides the icing on life’s cake.
I was once asked if it was exciting having well-known and famous clients. I thought for a moment and replied that the excitement I get from this is not from who my clients are or what they do, but from what I do for them. These extras create the greatest “highs.”