Magazine article Strategic Finance

Building a Foundation of Trust: Personal Trust Is Important to All of Us. We Desire to Be Trusted in Our Personal Dealings, and We Desire to Be Trusted in Our Professional Interactions with People Inside and outside Our Organizations

Magazine article Strategic Finance

Building a Foundation of Trust: Personal Trust Is Important to All of Us. We Desire to Be Trusted in Our Personal Dealings, and We Desire to Be Trusted in Our Professional Interactions with People Inside and outside Our Organizations

Article excerpt

Trust is the foundation of all business relationships, and that's particularly true for accountants and financial professionals. As accountants, we pride ourselves on our credibility--on the fact that our publics (management, colleagues, outside professionals, lenders, and other users of our numbers) can rely on us to make sure that what we tell them is accurate. We want them to know that our numbers tell a story and that the story is truthful. Why do we know that what we tell our publics is the truth? Because the data comes from an accounting system with proper controls.

As management accountants, it's our responsibility to design systems with internal controls that properly record source transactions, that summarize these transactions, and that produce good data. Our responsibility is also to turn this data into useful information and, further, to interpret this information to maximize its usefulness to management. We rely on these systems, and we're confident that their users can rely on the systems' output as well. Anyone who has gone through an audit has seen auditors test systems to establish that they can rely on the output of these systems for audit purposes.

Trust isn't established instantly; trust is earned. It needs to be developed and nurtured, which is a process that occurs over time. People need to get to know you and see you in action before they feel comfortable trusting you. They need to see you "talk the talk and walk the walk." Although trust isn't easily established, it can easily be lost. The key to maintaining trust is consistency--the knowledge that your publics can always rely on you to tell the truth. Most of us have experienced a situation that breaks this consistency--where trust is lost because of a single incident.

During my career, I arranged numerous financing transactions in both the private and public sectors to fund capital projects, working capital, business acquisitions, and general business needs. …

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