Accounting can be lonely. So much of what we do is by ourselves. I was at a the finance committee meeting of a charity last week. We were discussing how much money the charity needs to have on hand as a contingency fund. We decided that three month’s worth of expenses was a realistic, practical amount. After the discussion, the Treasurer thanked us. He said he and the other management staff had wrestled with the question, but he felt better having the chance to work with other accountants.
I have to agree. Having another professional accountant to challenge your thinking and check your work is invaluable. The work of two together is worth more than the two individuals. Sometimes you get that kind of discussion with your auditor, but I find a peer’s advice so much more practical and useful. It also helps that I’m usually not paying my peer by the hour!
Earlier this week I attended a meeting of an industry group. They bring together representatives from the various organizations in our industry. This, too, gives me a chance to check in with my peers. I can stay up to date with them, check our performance against theirs, find out what issues they face and what opportunities there are to work together.
So, this is just a little reminder: if you’re feeling alone in your work, consider volunteering on the finance committee of a charity or getting involved in your industry association. You’ll be glad you did.