“Accountants are Number Cruncher"​ - A Limiting Mindset of Accounting Professionals

Accounting is not about Numbers”. Yes, you read me correctly. There is more to accounting than just numbers, debit and credit, etc

The Headlines of various accounting professionals tend to include references to ‘numbers’ such as Number Cruncher, Number Nerd / the Number Guy. There is nothing wrong with it.

Although the numeric tax & accounting skills are the fundamental of the profession, the irony is that they are not differentiating skills. They are not what make a great accountant.

So, the accounting profession is not about numbers. It is about people

In the history of business, almost in all sectors & industries, low-value skill-sets get outsourced to lower cost providers or get replaced by automation. This is already evident by the outsourcing of bookkeeping by many accounting firms globally. 

Now is the time to start planning and making changes for a better future for accounting. 

Thankfully for accountants, the higher-level advisory work across more complex Tax Planning, KPI - Key Performance Indicator analysis and Financial Advice provide them with a solid future. But it will be a very different future.

The great thing about this is, all this work still has at its core, numbers.

And the best way that a set of numbers will help a business owner to make effective business decisions is when they are guided by a great advisor someone who can tell the stories behind the numbers.
Warren Buffett, an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist said: “Accounting is the Language of Business”
Management accountants have a deep understanding of the financials and drivers of the performance of a business. They take care of various tax implications, do ‘What If’ sensitivity analyses on different business scenarios, forecast and track cashflows for a business and advise on strategies for improving the liquidity, profitability and value of a business.

So, the person to provide this business advice should be the business owner's accountant. After all, they have all the required numbers, data & insights. More often, accountants don’t provide future-focused advice. They merely write the history where as they have the potential to help their clients make the history.

The clients of accounting firms wanted advice on how to improve their business, but they weren’t getting it from their accountant. Accountants played no advisor role. So their clients looked elsewhere.

Now the question comes: What has caused this?

It results from the accounting professionals’ tendency to revolve around numbers only. The words "We are number cruncher" is a limiting mindset of the accounting professionals which holds them back from maximizing their value to business and the society.

I would love to highly encourage the accounting professionals to go beyond the numbers & help clients make the history.