SURVEY RESULTS: Decide to be Decisive

Clockwise from top left: Hood, Bleacher, Eckelkamp, Middleton
Lessons in decisiveness from (clockwise from top left) Hood, Bleacher, Eckelkamp, Middleton

Decisiveness defines success in accounting: Firms of all sizes agree.

Success Traits for Accountants
Join the survey. get the answers.

By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur

CPA Trendlines Research into  “The Essential Success Traits of Entrepreneurial Accountants” shows that accountants rate decisiveness as the single most important personality trait for achieving success.

MORE ACCOUNTANEUR:  The Curious Case of ‘The Irreplaceable Accountant’ |  $26 Billion Worth of Strategic Insights for Accountants  |  The Three Gears that Drive Success in the Accounting Business  |  Brexit Worries?  Worry More about Cexits, Texits and Pexits  |  LinkedIn Launches Accountant-for-Hire Service  |  4 Pillars of Future Firm Foundation  |  ‘Uberizing’ Means More Than Technology  |  You Don’t Think Technology Helps Get New Clients?  |  Do You Want a Practice … or a Business?  |  ‘Decisiveness’ Rated Top Trait for   Success in Accounting Business  |  Tax Season Management: Multi-Tasking Is a Myth  |  3 Apps to Automate Business Networking  |

GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

“Being proactive and anticipatory is showing up in our work more and more and, in fact, is what both clients and employers are looking for – anticipation and decision-making in uncertainty combined with a strong future view," says Tom Hood, President and CEO, Maryland Association of CPAs.

“It is a VUCA world – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity," says Jeff Bleacher, managing partner of Ross Buehler Falk & Co. in Lancaster, Pa.. "We need to be able to make decisions in that environment in order to grow our practices and retain the best talent possible.”

“It is a VUCA world – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity," says Jeff Bleacher, managing partner of Ross Buehler Falk & Co. in Lancaster, Pa.. "We need to be able to make decisions in that environment in order to grow our practices and retain the best talent possible.”

decisive
How decisive are you, compared to other accountants? Comparison of ratings by firm size (Source: CPA Trendlines)

“Stop thinking like an accountant when making business decisions about your practice," says Wesley Middleton, managing partner of fast-growing MiddletonRaines + Zapata LLP in Houston. "Think like a business owner.”

In San Jose, Calif., CPA Daniel M Hayes, owner of Hayes Accounting Solutions, defines decisiveness as “the ability to proceed when the way is murky."

Erik Danielson, CPA, CGMA, in Madison, Wisc., defines "the key to success" as “decisive, confident leadership with an ability to move quickly into problem areas or uncharted territory.”

While the smaller firms (solo practitioners and those with 2-10 persons) may often appear less decisive compared to other firms, these smaller firms also rate themselves less decisive compared to others at similar sized firms.

The results indicate, not so surprisingly, that as the firm size grows, decisiveness keeps increasing. Actually, we submit it is the other way round. It is because of decisiveness, that the firms grow. But, after reaching the coveted 500-person mark, firms tend to think that they are less decisive and that others are far more (nearly twice as) decisive than themselves.

Large Firms

Surprisingly, the large firms, with over 500 persons, rate their own decisiveness lower than firms of all other sizes, they also believe twice as often that others are more decisive. With meticulously devised processes, defined by much larger experience in handling work and projects, latest technologies and powerful resource capabilities, you might expect that large firms would be more decisive than others.

It is almost as if large firms expect quick decision-making, so much so that they don’t seem to think decisiveness is a special competency. One large-firm CPA says, “CPAs are honed early in their careers to make decisions and trust in themselves. It's not that they are right 80% the first time; it's that they can evaluate, correct, and make better.”

Large firms, it seems, are more likely to get bogged down by their own bureaucracy and legacy systems.

But the accounting business is changing faster than ever. And decisiveness is more important than ever. Joe Eckelkamp, owner of the E&A CFO Group says: “My dad told me: "When forced to make a decision with less information than you think you need, make the decision you can reverse."

Wisdom, they say, does not fail the test of time. Think and Grow Rich, a path-breaking book published in 1937, was based on more than twenty years of researching a large number of individuals who achieved great wealth during their lifetimes. The author, Napoleon Hill, wrote: “Every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and of changing these decisions slowly, if, and when they were changed. People who fail to accumulate money, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions, if at all, very slowly, and of changing these decisions quickly and often.”

 

Comments are closed.