Monday, 2 April 2012

Being a Practicing Accountant - the Road I Didn't Take.

Although this question never really strikes me but my recent experience speaking at the Accountants in Business Symposium 2012 organized by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) somehow trigger some flashbacks. An accountant and a banker I was once upon a time, had I not took the path of being an entrepreneur, I would have been one of the participants in the Symposium, perhaps attending merely to fulfill my Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points, listening to some "IT Guy" explaining about "Cloud Computing.


As usual, to warm up my delivery, i would normally crack some jokes at the very beginning, during and perhaps just before I wrap up. I've spoken in many seminars, forums and symposium as such in front of various walks of life and professions, such  as lawyers, bankers, CEOs of multi-nationals, governments, international trade delegates, insurance agents, media professionals, university students etc. and this was my FIRST TIME experiencing almost total silent from the participants when i crack a joke, except for some gigglings and small laughs from the secretariats staffs sitting at the rights hand side of the hall....AMAZING!!!

Flashback!!! Come to think of it, that's how I was too  once upon a time ago. Focusing on key points to be delivered by the speaker and eliminate all irrelevant information, data and points delivered by the speaker...and JOKES are IRRELEVANT info..

This concept of eliminating irrelevant info is similar to how our brain generally works, except it works more on accountants I guess :-)...Anyway check out some of these Awareness Test to know what i mean..:-)


Then it came to the question and answer session. Again, there were only two questions asked but got nothing really to do with my presentation....Something like - "Our country's internet broadband still pretty bad even in major cities...when do you think our country would be fully wired?". Emmm...hard question to answer because that's just simply beyond me.....

I was confused...first they eliminated my jokes, presuming they listened to the facts of my presentation and eliminated the rest, then they asked out of topic questions. Now I wasn't so sure if they actually understood my presentation or not...:-) ??  However, when I look through the list of topics and speakers during that two days seminar, I realized that it was my presentation that was out of topic :-). Most others are pretty much accounting stuffs ie. reporting, taxes, standards etc.

Anyway, that's not the reason why I'm writing this time. Being together with a good crowd of accountants do bring back some memories. It just triggers how much different we are in almost everything that we do, talk and think

While we talk about business intelligence (BI) that could provide management with almost real time operational and performance data that support decision making, accountants on the other hand, talk about "Standards" in historical reporting. While we talk about sales, business development and marketing, accountants talks about prudent accounting treatment. While we talk about strategic planning, accountants talk cost accounting. While we talk about business growth, accountants talks about profits and taxes. While we talk about strategic planning, accountants talk about budgeting.

Even then, no organization could live without one. If you don't hire them as an employee, you will still need to outsource the book keeping and accounting stuff to third party accounting firms.

I could not imagine the kind of accountant I would be had I not accepted the offer of my ex-boss in Arthur Andersen, Azmi Ahmad to join CIMB and later join him as an entrepreneur. As much as I could permute various possibilities for being an accountant, the truth remains....I WILL NEVER KNOW THE ROAD I NEVER TAKE. Sorait....