Wow! I work with some smart people. I’m not alone. There are smart people in just about every company. I’m not so sure there is such a collection of intelligence, however, as there is in public accounting.
Yes, I know that is a broad generalization. Smart people work in healthcare (think doctors), education (think college professors), business (think venture capitalists). They’re within every industry.
So why do I love my career in public accounting so much because of the smart people with whom I work?
I could say it’s because almost everyone in public accounting has at least a Master’s degree or it’s equivalent. But, we all know that college education doesn’t equate to intelligence. I’ve met plenty of college graduates who don’t have a clue.
I could say it’s because collectively my firm’s employees are smarter than other firms’ employees. That wouldn’t be true though.
I could say it’s because we weed out the people who can’t cut it so only smart people remain for any length of time. That’s not true either. Some of the smartest people I’ve worked with over the years decided to leave public accounting early in their careers.
Smart people are the number two reason for why I enjoy public accounting. Reasons three through twelve can be seen in previous posts. Working with smart people is so important to me that it almost is the number one reason why I enjoy public accounting.
One day a few years ago, I went to lunch with the Chief Financial Officer of one of my clients. This particular day was only the second time I had met him. The first day was the day I presented and won the proposal to provide services.
We rode together to the local country club and had a very nice, but not fancy, lunch. During our conversation I discovered that he used to work in a publicly traded company with many venture capitalists and he said he missed working with that many smart people.
He was not being degrading to his new co-workers. He was praising his former co-workers. I completely understood what he was saying. I’m the same way with my co-workers.
When I bring people onto my team in the firm, one requirement is that the new person be proficient in a skill at which I’m not. I want people smarter than me working for me. Not only does it make me look good, it makes us all look good.
My goal is that the team as a whole not have weaknesses. We can’t be masters of all. As a team, however, we can collectively master everything.
Working with smart people is such a blessing. I feel so lucky to have so many smart, hard-working people to learn from and work with.
Having intelligence, however, is not what makes working with someone enjoyable. We pride ourselves on hiring smart people. Those smart people have to have personalities though. Intelligence without the ability to communicate and build relationships is pointless.
We can teach someone how to perform an audit or complete a tax return. We can’t teach someone to have a personality. That’s what’s great about my co-workers.
Hopefully you feel the same way about the people with whom you work. Do they complement your strengths and weaknesses? Are they able to communicate with others? Besides being smart and having a good personality, what other personnel traits make your career enjoyable?