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We’re (Accounting) not as bad as you think

Jun 20, 2024

Accounting has a bad reputation.

But will you give me a chance to change that?

Today is the start of a 4 week series that goes deep on what you need to know about your accounting team.

 But first, our sponsor. 


Thanks ​Ramp​ for sponsoring this issue.

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We’re (accounting) not as bad as you think

Accounting has a bad reputation. Off-putting. Combative. Enemy. Arrogant. Unresponsive. Outdated.

These are all adjectives I’ve heard in relation to the accounting function at big and small businesses alike.

But there is a better way. There is a way where accounting is a partner in the business.

On Sunday, Bryson DeChambeau won the Golf US Open at Pinehurst #2, one of the most iconic courses in the United States. The ​shot Bryson hit to leave a tap-in to save par and win​ was somehow just as iconic as the course, amiright golf fans?

During his round on Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for him. What changed I asked? Because that certainly wasn’t the case a few years ago.

In 2019, Bryson was criticized for his pace of play by other players and he responded telling them to “say it to his face.”

In 2021, he criticized his equipment manufacturer, Cobra.

Around the same time Bryson had a public feud with Brooks Koepka that resulted in ​this epic interaction and gif​.


Then, in 2022, he joined the LIV Golf league, which brought significant criticism to him and all others who joined because of the Saudi involvement.

Bryson was either loved or hated. For those who “hated,” he was seen as combative, arrogant, off-putting, and obnoxious. Sound like the accounting department much?

But somewhere it all changed.

After joining the LIV Golf League he started to change. In interviews leading up to and after the US Open, he stated he had some things happen in his personal life that made him step back and reflect.

He changed the team around him.

He started creating content on a Youtube channel.

And he was intentional about connecting with fans at tournaments.

Through these means, and allowing his real personality to show through, he managed to go from polarizing to endearing.

While winning the US Open, he was seen staying late signing autographs, running around the 18th hole ​letting fans touch the trophy​, and capped the evening with ​this epic TV segment with Johnathan Wagner (a Golf Channel TV analyst)​.

The impact of the win was undeniable and it has permanently changed the perception around him.



You may be wondering… what are you even talking about Kurtis?

Well, the accounting department needs a Bryson DeChambeau style makeover.

So, these next few weeks is my effort to give the accounting team a makeover.

I’m going to call this series “We’re really not weird: your guide to understanding SMB finance departments.”

Over 4 weeks I’m going to address:

  1. How should you structure an accounting department?
  2. What do all these people actually do besides annoy me with receipt requests?
  3. The Accounting Cycle & rhythm of existence (why we’re so uptight)
  4. How to create processes and procedures that work for accounting and you (why we’re so uptight part 2)

So this week, I’ll lay out my case for what I think the accounting department should be.

Accounting should be fast: Starting off hot, right? Accountings job is to get the correct numbers to the correct parties as fast as humanly possible. Sometimes accountants get too focused on the “correct” part, which slows down the process. So to amend, sometimes the goal should be directionally accurate over “correct.” Know when and how to use this key.

Accounting should be customer-centric: Customers for accounting are both internal (other departments) and external (clients and vendors). Accounting should be responsive, helpful, and approachable to all these customers. It should approach their interaction with the outside world with an attitude of service. Instead of the traditional siloed approach, accounting should proactively seek out other departments to understand their needs and figure out how to serve them.

Accounting should be technology-forward: Because they’re not a revenue-generating department, accounting overhead costs the business. Accounting can become a profit generator by actively seeking to streamline processes, provide more timely data, and implement new technology and automation.

Accounting should help promote financial literacy in the business: More than 50% of business owners wish they had a better financial understanding, which. means the general employee’s financial literacy is even worse. Accounting should help the team understand financial concepts, empower them with relevant and simple data, and provide opportunities to teach those who want to go deeper.

Accounting should set the standard for integrity, transparency, and accountability: Trust is huge. The whole goal should be to be above reproach. Sometimes that means doing things that aren’t required to maintain that standard. Accounting should be the group looked to in the business as the standard-bearer of integrity and transparency in the business. They should be so inspiring in their stance that it encourages others to take on those same attributes.

Accounting should be a strategic partner: Beyond the numbers, the accounting team should be involved in strategic planning, helping to shape the direction of the company. This means being an expert and evoking trust from leadership.

I’m sure there are many more things that I missed, so tell me what those are?

Also, as we head into this series, what questions would you like answered?

Reach out with your questions and I’ll either incorporate them in or add a Q&A week.


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