Accountancy IS a people profession

Carolyn Mark

An informal survey of working styles and personality types among accountancy practitioners has revealed that sociable, outgoing individuals dominate the profession.

Wolters Kluwer created a quiz with the professional online community AccountingWEB that probed respondents’ working habits, attitudes to technology and personal tastes in food and music.

The light-hearted questionnaire attracted more than 5,000 views and drew nearly 50 comments from accountants who shared their characteristics with their peers. Surprisingly, the classic image of the numbers-obsessed loner was eclipsed by those who fitted the “Personable Practitioner” profile.

Based on the number of people who downloaded the companion working style guide, just under half the respondents were Personable Practitioners (49.2%). Sociable and outgoing, they are fun to be around and stimulate interesting conversations.

Personable Practitioners work well on the phone and are smooth operators in networking situations where they can broaden the firm’s horizons and open up new business relationships.

The other personality profiles that emerged from the quiz include:

  • Technical Boffin               (20.5%)
    The classic single-minded expert, who puts all else to the side when they focus on the job in hand. Boffins can be lone wolves who don’t always fit with normal routines - timesheets could be an issue.
  • Efficiency Ninja                 (12.1%)
    Process driven: Ninjas like to work methodically and demonstrate good attention to detail. They know a successful firm needs robust processes to ensure consistency of client service.
  • Digital Commando              (9.8%)
    Self-motivated, and results-driven: Confident in their own abilities and keen to exploit the latest tools and technologies. Resistant to bureaucratic restrictions
  • Delegator                            (8.3%)
    The leader who sets the firm’s agenda and focuses attention on collective objectives. They will be good at reviewing performance and giving feedback to colleagues.

This snapshot of the accountancy profession illustrates a couple of emerging social and demographic trends. The low turnout of Delegators suggests that many older practitioners steeped in accountancy’s hierarchical traditions are reaching retirement age. In their place, firms are seeing the emergence of a new cadre of Digital Commandos, who are comfortable with the internet, social media and cloud computing and occasionally impatient about using these tools to improve efficiency.

Download the Wolters Kluwer-AccountingWEB guide for a detailed run-down of the different personas and their working styles.

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Comments
Flash Gordon's picture

Yes but    2 thanks

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

Yes but let's not forget that many of the questions didn't have the 'correct' answer and some of us had to pick the one closest (but not necessarily near) to our true feelings.

I'll admit it's a real bugbear of mine but why does it always seem like sociable & outgoing is seen as best, and non-sociable and introverted as not even second-best but a seriously poor relation who should be pitied or ignored? If it wasn't for us introverted types the world would be lacking a lot of inventions... 

Argeed    3 thanks

Kirkers | | Permalink

Flash Gordon wrote:

Yes but let's not forget that many of the questions didn't have the 'correct' answer and some of us had to pick the one closest (but not necessarily near) to our true feelings.

I'll admit it's a real bugbear of mine but why does it always seem like sociable & outgoing is seen as best, and non-sociable and introverted as not even second-best but a seriously poor relation who should be pitied or ignored? If it wasn't for us introverted types the world would be lacking a lot of inventions... 

I found the same, Flash. There were a few questions where I considered myself to be 'none of the above.'

I think I'm the 'sit at home with dinner and a film' type rather than parties.. and a lot of the questions were aimed at being sociable and outgoing.

Flash Gordon's picture

Occasionally    1 thanks

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

Occasionally I'll push the boat out - and go out.... to pick up a takeaway :)

 

Sociable and outgoing accountants

DesmondHigh | | Permalink

The old self selection problem with responses to questionnaires.

Maybe this really says that many of those who answer questionnaires believe they are sociable and outgoing. Rather depends on the benchmark. Is the actuarial or media world? Or, since Monty Python is doing the rounds again, there are a number of wannabe liontamers out there. 

Constantly Confused's picture

!!!    1 thanks

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

Flash Gordon wrote:

Occasionally I'll push the boat out - and go out.... to pick up a takeaway :)

 

I hope you take your dog with you for protection!

.    4 thanks

ireallyshouldkn... | | Permalink

I am not in the least bit surprised by the results. 

If I was building a 5 person team, I would want a social front person for the main client contact, a good no.2 on the way up to be the no.1 who can manage the day to day and deal with clients too.  I would want a tax genius who knows everything about anything and I don't care if they dont even like talking to their own mother and a couple of sloggers who moan they are bored if there is not a pile of work in-front of them and are brassy enough to tell let the No.1 know when he has signed up a stinker of a client. 

My perfect team!

 

 

21st century!    1 thanks

Kirkers | | Permalink

Flash Gordon wrote:

Occasionally I'll push the boat out - and go out.... to pick up a takeaway :)

 

You know they deliver right?! Haha.

Finance people are people too!

GBalarin | | Permalink

This study is great. It confirms what we've suspected for a while - people in the finance industry (accountants particularly) get a raw deal.

Even marketers are changing the way they see the finance profession now - here's a blog on the topic that might interest AccountingWeb readers. http://www.b2bmarketing.net/blog/posts/2014/06/06/prejudice-why-finance-...

Flash Gordon's picture

Oh and    1 thanks

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

And having gone back and read a bit more of this - 'just under half the respondents were Personable Practitioners (49.2%). Sociable and outgoing, they are fun to be around and stimulate interesting conversations.' Well excuse me but just because I'm not sociable and outgoing doesn't mean that I'm not (sometimes at least) fun to be around and capable of interesting conversation! A lot of the sociable outgoing people that I've come across during my life haven't been that fun to be around because their conversations revolved around themselves and their lives. And besides, what is interesting to one person won't necessarily be interesting to another. I could waffle on about the World Cup, Miami Dolphins' chances this year, the Greeks and Romans, having Asperger's, the works of Enid Blyton, my inability to cook a decent fried egg, my dog, my cats, and so on. Some people would find every topic dull, some might possibly be interested by all, and the rest might be interested in one or two. But if I came across a big Enid Blyton fan they might think I was the most interesting person they'd ever met while a 'sociable and outgoing' person could bore them rigid.

You'd think that in the 21st century we'd have become a bit more inclusive but it seems like the opposite - unless you're shouting about yourself and bragging about how wonderful you are and how many Facebook likes you have you're seen as worthless. It's a sad thought. 

 

mrme89's picture

.

mrme89 | | Permalink

Kirkers wrote:

Flash Gordon wrote:

Occasionally I'll push the boat out - and go out.... to pick up a takeaway :)

 

You know they deliver right?! Haha.

 

But it's on horseback.

Flash Gordon's picture

Cool!

Flash Gordon | | Permalink

mrme89 wrote:

Kirkers wrote:

Flash Gordon wrote:

Occasionally I'll push the boat out - and go out.... to pick up a takeaway :)

 

You know they deliver right?! Haha.

 

But it's on horseback.

Now that would be cool (provided the horse didn't get caught short on my front path!). If the horse could deliver without a rider that would be better - I'm not big on the human contact. But the horse I'd chat to and I have some carrots I'd happily share. I'm really sad now that it's not an option round here (to my knowledge).

"just under half the

DaviePark | | Permalink

"just under half the respondents were Personable Practitioners (49.2%)"

I do believe that this survey is flawed - surely ALL the respondents would be PPs and nobody else would answer . . .

.

emanresu | | Permalink

Constantly Confused wrote:

Flash Gordon wrote:

Occasionally I'll push the boat out - and go out.... to pick up a takeaway :)

 

I hope you take your dog with you for protection!

 

Our local takeaway has a NO DOGS sign on the door.

I've often wondered if this is a comment on their health standards, their menu - or their customers ;-}}

efficiencycoach's picture

Validity of the survey

efficiencycoach | | Permalink

I am concerned about the validity of the actual survey. Does it have any more validity than many of the 'what type of person are you' quizzes which are circulating around social media at the moment? 

Plus, would there be an element of self selection which would skew the results towards the personable type?

stepurhan's picture

Flawed survey

stepurhan | | Permalink

When I saw the original survey I assumed it was just meant as a bit of fun, though the personality types had clearly been thought through. As a study to base conclusions on, it is badly flawed though.

Self-selection will always skew results, which is why random selection is used for research. At least one person talked about doing the test more than once to try to see different results. Unless these have been picked up and excluded, they also skew the results. When you factor in the "this answer will have to do" effect (unavoidable in quizzes like this) as well and the results become meaningless.

This is starting to look like one of those "formula for the perfect (x)" stories. The "research" itself has no value, but allows the company undertaking it to get their name in the news.

daniel.moss@expressaccountancy.com's picture

Interesting read and that's just the comments.....!

daniel.moss@exp... | | Permalink

Having worked with and employed over a hundred accountants, this topic always fascinates me.

In truth though we need the mix. Often behind a 'Personable Practitioner' is a 'Technical Boffin', both compliment each other and equally make great accountants!