NEW FINDINGS: The Three Gears that Drive Success in the Accounting Business

Essential Success Traits: Join the survey; get the results

Top drivers found in new CPA Trendlines research.

By Hitendra Patil

A new study of CPA Trendlines survey research shows that the most successful accountants in the business share three particular personality traits that, when combined, create a powerful force for growth and profits.

CPA Trendlines is studying “The Essential Traits for Success as an Entrepreneurial Accountant.” Nearly 400 accountants have participated in the survey and about 80 percent of the respondents are managing partners, owners or CEOs of their firms.  Join the survey, get all the updates.

Findings from the survey have already shown that “decisiveness” is the top trait for success in accounting business. But when matched with two other traits, the three together form a powerful and integrated success-cycle for accountants.

The research is finding answers for questions like:

  • Which traits separate successful firms from others?
  • How do high-performing firms thinking differently from others?
  • Which traits determine how big your firm can grow?

When decisiveness is matched with problem-solving and anticipation, the three together form a powerful and integrated success-cycle for accountants.

You Want to Be a Decisive Problem-Solver

Measures of success in the accounting business can be diverse, but the essence is universal. Success in the accounting business is about helping create success for clients, employees, stakeholders and society in general.

A decision is the result of an intentional process of working out alternatives towards a desired result and the commitment of resources to the chosen alternative.  Neuroscientists have established that when decisions do not produce the intended result, or when we sense that the decision made is not going to produce the intended result, our brain responds to the stimuli and makes us alter our chosen path. In day-to-day life, this phenomenon of the brain is commonly known as “problem-solving ability.”

Problem-solving is essentially a response. As we gather knowledge and experience, this ability to solve problems becomes sharper and stronger, resulting in quicker and more effective responses. Slowly but surely, almost unconsciously, problem-solving becomes a personality trait. And, it is so intricately interlinked with decisiveness, that people who are not so decisive find it challenging to solve problems—simply because of their indecisiveness.

No wonder the success trait accountants rate the second highest is the ability to solve problems.

Anticipation Skill Completes the Powerful Success-Cycle

Accountants with decisiveness and the ability to solve problems become the go-to people in their firms and for their clients. The same applies to doctors. The more the doctor is successful, the more patients the doctor attracts. The more patients the doctor attracts and treats, the more experience and knowledge the doctor gains. The more the knowledge and experience, the more accurate the doctor’s diagnoses and hence more effective the doctor’s decisions about which choices to make to ensure successful treatment. The more effective the treatment, the more patients the doctor attracts. This is what we call a “Success-Cycle.”

In the accounting business, the third most powerful trait that completes the success-cycle is the ability of accountants to anticipate the future.

Anticipation skills help accountants make better decisions. Abilities in decision-making and problem-solving strengthen the accountant’s ability to anticipate the future.

  • The better the anticipation, the better the decision-making and better the readiness to solve (anticipated) problems.
  • The better the readiness to solve problems, the faster (and more effective) the decisions and actions when problems arise.

Anticipating the future is like the doctor’s diagnosis. It is based on education, prior knowledge, experience, and practice.

2 Responses to “NEW FINDINGS: The Three Gears that Drive Success in the Accounting Business”

  1. Hitendra R. Patil

    Thanks, Tom, for sharing your thoughts. We very strongly believe (because we have seen numerous real life examples year after year) that accountants have the priceless gift of positively impact lives of people. We are committed to bringing actionable insights from the trends that we identify via our painstaking research. Thanks again!

  2. Tom Hood

    Hitendra / Rick,

    Great research and insights and reunforces our research over past five years. The key is that CPAs need to make acquiring this skill a priority. For those interested, we have the actual training program that teaches accountants how to anticipate the future and develop opportunities including solving problems.

    Great stuff and keep on pushing us to be future ready!

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