The role of the accountant and the core issues related to accounting have not changed much over the past 100 years. The core purpose of the accounting department is to compile, record, and prepare financial information. Another essential part of the accounting department is the human element.
The head of the accounting department has a great influence on its staff and on how the department is perceived throughout the organization. Accountants are hired because they have the ability, understanding, and accuracy to do their particular work. The additional qualifications of honesty, individuality, tact, and imagination greatly affect the workings of the accounting department and communication between departments. The human element is an essential aspect of how the accounting department is perceived.
Honesty: Honesty is always important from a dollars and sense point of view. It not only means that the company’s money is safe but that the work that is done is accurate. Honesty also should include the aspect of fairness and the ability to manage in a fair and equitable manner to all concerned. Honesty gives an impression of security through stable and fair actions.
Individuality: Every department in a company bears the stamp of the individual who leads it and the people who make up that department. Individuality is bringing an aspect of your self to your work and not following blindly the ideas and work of others. Individuals who tend to be disorganized or lack value in the work they do generally create work in much the same manner. An individual with confidence, resourcefulness, and a strong sense of value in the work they do inspires others around them to work in a similar manner.
Tact: Tact is an essential element of any manager. Tact is patience and an understating of conditions to wait for the right moment to act. Tact will succeed when forcing an issue will fail. It is a key aspect of managing people, in explaining issues, and in contact with the public. The benefits of tact are valuable in all areas of our lives.
Imagination: Accountants are not generally perceived as having imagination. Imagination is essential to an accountant because an accountant needs to have the ability to plan, analyze information, and foresee the financial future for the well-being of the company. Consideration of the past and the future in addition to the numbers involved leads to more accurate projections.
Whether your position within a company has contact with the public, customers, vendors, or within departments in the company, the above qualities can greatly enhance the value of your working day.
Source: “Electric Railway Accounting”, W. B. Brockway, Some Qualifications of the Railway Accountant, p 69-71.