The core skills of a 21st Century Accountant


Over the past few days, I’ve had around a dozen 1-2-1 meetings with clients. We chatted not just about their business, but also about their lives – their goals, dreams & ambitions.

Some of these meetings were in our office; some in cafes over delicious coffee & cake. Some were at their place. Some on Zoom, and I even had one over the phone.

We talked about the challenges and opportunities they’re facing. About growth; the problems of finding good people; and launching new products & services. About family holidays, partner’s achievements, yoga, and cats.

We imagined futures yet to come.

I listened a lot. Asked some questions. Took pages of notes. I was fully present and giving myself entirely to the person I was with. It was intense. It was enlightening. It was fun.

Occasionally we even talked about accounting, but mostly not. You see, for us to do our job well as modern accountants we need to deeply understand and empathise with our clients. By listening, we learn how we might best help.

They need to know that we care about them. That we’ve got their back. That we’ll make sure the accounting works. That they have the right tech in place. It’s our expertise, but we don’t need to showboat. Quietly, we make it all happen.

We love our jobs at Ashton McGill.

For many years I struggled with being an accountant. I didn’t like to say that’s what I did. The stereotype didn’t fit, and I felt embarrassed that people would think that’s who I was, what I did.

But now, a couple of years into the Ashton McGill journey, I’m finally proud to say that I’m an accountant. A 21st Century Accountant, where the most important skills are listening, communicating, empathy, and curiosity.

Every day we get to help people make their dreams come true. It’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in my career.

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