Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Last Word

Article excerpt

In these worrying economic times, I must admit I feel invigorated. This is when finance can really have a huge impact. In good times, everybody does well. It's not so easy to stand out in the good times; it's easier to stand out in the bad times.

I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit as an accountant, so I'm always looking for ways to make our business better. I am a big believer in following the concepts in Jim Collins' book Good to Great. One of those is finding out what you are great at, not what you want to be great at.

My company is actually comprised of two distinct businesses. We have our retail business, a place known for fine gifts where we have developed our reputation over many years. It's been a great business for us. The other business, which has grown dramatically in more recent years, is the management of employee recognition programs for large companies. About five years ago, we saw that these companies needed a global supplier. We were one of the first in our industry to open a fully functioning operation in Europe. I was given the task of developing the model for that business.

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As CFO I see my role as a mapmaker. My team takes information from each department and develops a budget that brings together plans and initiatives developed from throughout the organization. As we move through the year, the organization uses this map to guide us and judge performance. My passion is in using financial information we create to help drive effective decisions in the business.

I've been with the company 10 years. During that time our business has been on a fascinating journey of growth--400%.

Moving the company from a regional to a national to a global business has been incredible because the business has had to change at different size plateaus.

In addition to my passion for accounting, I have a passion for promoting the idea that members in private industry should have a strong voice within the profession. …

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