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Do You Need to have Business Acumen or Accounting skills?

So, you’ve learned very little about business? It’s common in our world that when a client hires an accountant, they think they’ve hired a businessperson that can provide valuable input and make a difference. Yet, as those of us in the profession can attest, the reality is that it is entirely possible to be a very good accountant but have limited knowledge about business.   

A qualified accountant should be able to accurately and effectively complete day-to-day compliance work. A beautiful balance sheet with no rounding errors, everything in its place  is nirvana to an out-and-out accountant and hey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, a percentage of you will be left wanting more.

“Is that really all there is to it? Surely, at some stage they are going to show me some interesting stuff, show me how a business really works?”

If you are starting out in a professional career, you need to ask yourself two important questions:

What is a client going to really value? 

What do you need to do to be able to provide that value? 

This is your “right to exist”. If you are creating value, you will always have a role and always be well remunerated for that role. Conversely if you struggle to create value then in the long run, you can’t expect to be paid a lot. 

Where do you go to get the business skills and experience? (Business Acumen)

So, if you are ready to build on the solid base that accounting skills provide, where do you go to get the business skills and experience that will ultimately provide clients with the support they crave? In my opinion, it is unlikely to be in the big four or large mid-tier accounting firms. The clients they are dealing with pay handsomely for the privilege and undoubtedly have an executive team in place. Those businesses want and pay for a very good accountant

For those of you already working in a big firm, let me ask you this:

Is your training almost always focused on technical skills?

When was the last time your Manager sat with you to discuss how a client business works? Where they want to take it? What the future holds?

The industry dynamics?

What you can see from the financials?

What the challenges are and how performance might be improved?

If you want to avoid being trapped in a process driven role, then you will need to look outside the big four. You will need to look at boutique firms (like BridgePoint Group) that not only enable you but encourage you to develop complementary business skills and provide you with your own business acumen.

These are the skills will ultimately allow you to become valuable and remain relevant in a world where outsourcing and automation threaten routine compliance work being done in Australia at Aussie pay rates. 

So, what are you waiting for? Give me a call to find out more. One call could change it all – 1300 656 141 or email

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Neil Parker
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