Hayley Chiba: I am not just an accountant… I ‘m a human being!

Hayley Chiba: I am not just an accountant… I ‘m a human being!

The biggest compliment I was ever paid was to be told by someone 20 years ago, ‘You aren’t like a normal accountant’

I was delighted!

Hopefully he didn’t mean, ’and that’s because you can’t count….’

I wanted to be recognised for how I spoke and saw things differently. In a way that resonates with the normal man on the street.

He did then go on to say, ‘You are like a breath of fresh air’ so it was confirmed. I was recognised for something more than reporting the figures and many years later this different approach has led me to many successes.

But why bother to take a different approach, especially in an area notorious for it’s, (ahem) ‘dry’ approach. Why strip away the jargon, the formulas and the complexities of EBITDA, ROI and NPV?

Because I know most non accountants don’t understand it and more to the point they don’t want to understand it!

Having now started my own Finance Consultancy business and recently launched into selling my knowledge through online courses I feel it is now safe to share the reason for MY different approach.

It was certainly not a secret I was happy to share whilst climbing the corporate ladder for 25 years. But maybe if I had, I would have realised quicker that this route was not the one for me.

Working with small business owners today, I get more ‘you are different’ comments because knowledge and understanding has not be tarred by corporate expectations. Small business owner don’t feel they ‘must’ understand. I have to be able to get the most important messages across. My role is now about instilling understanding and often that can involve pictures, stories and good old fashion jokes to get the point across.

So having the theory under my belt I am able to use more of my own natural creativity to put the few critical and essential metrics across. Using diagrams, simple models and practical examples I work more on helping to see where making changes to the business will make the biggest impact.

As for the numbers, well you know we have very good systems now. I don’t have to crunch away on a calculator or scratch away on a ledger to achieve insight from the figures. With simple templates and pre-set modelling, once these are set up, you would be amazed at how much of the forecasting and scenario work can be carried out by a non-accountant.

So, my secret is obvious and quite simply I never wanted to be an accountant. More to the point, I never wanted to be that stern, dried up, miserable, soulless bean counter (my stereotype!).

In fact the only reason why I chose accountancy all those years ago, is because that is what my parents told me to do. Back then, if you were an obedient Asian girl, you always did what your parents told you to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do now, in fact last night was one of the best moments I can say I have had the opportunity to experience.

Sitting across the table having dinner with one of my clients his phone rang. He took the call as it was from his wife. I observed the transformation on his face, like the sun slowly spreading from one side to the other, lighting up every feature as he took in the news. The large customer they had been working on for the last year had placed the order and this was going to be phenomenal, the start of the next step change we had all been waiting for. High Five!

No amount of net margin calculations, pricing structures and reclassifications of costs can take that moment away from  me and if I have to keep being the backroom machine  that ensures that the front end can continue to push forward and grow, that’s  what makes it all worthwhile. Seeing the sheer joy of achievement in my client’s eyes, as they realise their growth potential is why I want to provide the understanding that contributes to that growth.

I hope to meet you soon. Follow me on Facebook to read and learn through my un unique approach, practical, focused and tailored tips for small business owners.

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