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Business is fun


Grey is the colour of an accountant or so popular culture tells us. Personally, I prefer red - for warmth, passion, love, adventure and danger. Maybe that says more about my personality than my profession. Many accountants choose the tried and trusted blue, grey, gold and sometimes, purple.

Designers will tell you that all of these colours have psychological overtones and that is why so many accountants' websites are a cold, chilling blue!

So here we have a very defined interpetative boundary between two primary colours.

Pets Cartoon #6239 by Andertoons

Nothing is so clear cut in life: mostly the edges are fuzzy, one colour often gradually becomes another making it a "grey" area between the two. Clarity and sharpness is an important characteristic of my profession, although my clients always want me to find grey areas in tax!

Many people have a less clear cut, black and white view of life, often finding opportunities to muddy the edges.

Take a very simple thing like an excuse. An excuse is what someone offers e.g. for not having done something they ought to have. A reason for not doing something "feels" more acceptable than an excuse but it depends entirely on whether you are the victim of the failure or the cause of the failure how you see or describe it. The words are the same: " I couldn't do it because..."; interpretation is flexible. So when is a reason really a reason or is it always an excuse?

Whatever your take on those words, what's important in business and in relationships is to take personal responsibility and ownership for the things which are yours, things to which you can (and ought to) say, "I am responsible for that....". That contrasts with the more normal situation where you ARE responsible but don't want to admit it. Once you accept responsibility there is no longer any need for a reason or an excuse. You simply live or die by your actions or lack of them.

The next question is, why was this article not published in the usual timeframe of 5 -9 am on 17th October?

Well, I had a lot on this weekend.....





I don't often write about ethics and so you'll be pleased to see that I'm not going to start today. Ethics, while interesting and challenging, is not a topic for a fun-focussed blog like this.

But Values are important - and different from ethics in some ways - and are the rules by which we work or behave or act. Embedded often by our parents, our values can change in time and because of our life experiences. Nowadays values seem less like values to me at any rate. Personal values like honesty, decency, integrity, loyalty, truthfulness, and fairness all seem such old fashioned concepts in our "who cares" world.

At times like this I am glad to be old and as an accountant to have these values deeply embedded in my psyche. It is not of course something we brag about in our marketing. It would be boring in the extreme and also because they are taken for granted by everyone else: our clients expect these as a basis for doing business and NOT as an extra that is negotiable.

After closer investigation, its become clear that we need to enter more than one value. - An Andertoons Cartoon

We've taken values to a new level though and imposed values on our team. It sounds like that was a difficult thing to do. It wasn't. Our team values include:








Feelings and Listening.

There is a whole paragraph of explanation goes with each one so it's not just a one word document. I've had many a bad experience in other organisations where the values of the people were assumed to be the same as that of the organisation. They never were and it led to no end of difficulty. That's why for NGM they are explicit, written and public.

Values matter in business. They matter because they work to make us more successful:whether they are explicit or secret.

You have values too but when did you last consider what they are...?