A Prescription for Survival

A Prescription for Survival
(Reprinted with permission)

The CPA (a publication of the New York Society of CPA’s)
September 1975

By Gregory F. Pashke, CPA
Fargo Dowling Pashke & Twargowski 

Today’s accountant must continually adapt to an unprecedented rate of changing environment. Tomorrow’s accountant probably faces even more formidable challenges. What are the implications of accelerating business change and its relevance to the individual accountant? How can he arm himself with the psychological and practical tools to survive and function effectively in the explosive industrial world of tomorrow?

From the philosophies of Alvin Toffler [1], Maxwell Maltz [2], and Dale Carnegie [3], the following suggestions are offered:

Do Not Fabricate Crises. Pressure, pressure, and more pressure; if we are to deal with it in an orderly fashion it is necessary to place things in the proper overall perspective. There are enough truly crucial deadlines to be met. Do not make mountains out of molehills. Stand back and objectively evaluate each situation as a part of the total scheme and then give it the energy and time it merits.

Learn to Learn. Face the cold, hard fact that most of what you know will be operationally obsolete within fifteen years, if not sooner. This is probably the single most crucial element in the survival framework: To realize the limited expectancy of what we learn and then enthusiastically proceed to view continuing education as a fundamental task for the future relevant accountant. Do not become stagnant. Make the commitment to grow.

Understand Change. Comprehend the role change plays in our everyday lives. Do not be overcome by it. Step back occasionally and evaluate its ramifications and adapt accordingly. Once understood, the awesomeness of change diminishes and it becomes somewhat manageable.

Implement Only Warranted Change. Avoid the trap of “change for the sake of change.” Play the devil’s advocate and initiate only warranted change. But do not confuse this with undue resistance to change. The key is to evaluate each proposed change on its intrinsic merits.

Simplify the Situation. Avoid complication of a given set of circumstances. Develop a feel for the salient information and use it to expeditiously solve a problem. Cut through the red tape.

Do Not Worry After the Fact. Perform the tasks for which you are responsible the best you know how. Do not dwell on past decisions you can do nothing about.

Maintain Routine Stabilizers. Keep some part of your day available for routine tasks. This should enable you to relax and free your creative energies for when you really need them.

Delegate Decision-Making. As new management accounting techniques develop, it will become more essential for decision-making within the accounting field to become more lateral than vertical. Tomorrow’s effective accountant will be the one who delegates decision-making. The “team’ approach to solving complex problems should become more prevalent.

Avoid Overwork. Do not become the office martyr who sacrifices all for the job. We know our individual limits better than anyone else. Why overdo it if the result will be reduced quality?

Take Mental Tranquilizers. I have yet to meet the accountant who does not feel completely exasperated at times and want to get away from it all. Well, do it, but do it mentally rather than by physically to a South Sea island. Put your feet up on your desk, relax in your chair, shut your eyes, and escape.

Set Feasible and Continual Goals. Break up long-range tasks into stages so you can develop successful feelings at the stages of completion. Congratulate yourself on your interim achievements.  

Achieve Self-Awareness. Occasional introspection is necessary to decide who we are, how we feel, what we want to do. As the acceleration of change continues, it will be paramount to truly know oneself to readily adapt more to the challenges ahead.

[1] Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, Random House, Inc., New York, 1970.

[2] Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Inglewood Cliffs, N.J. 1960

[3] Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1948

About the author:

Greg Pashke, CMA, CFM, CMC, CPA/ABV, CBA, CVA, CPCM, MBA is the President of Pashke Consulting, an organizational, managerial, and financial consulting firm. Greg assists organizations strategize, keep score, evaluate results, and monitor their game plans.He can be reached by email at GPashke@PashkeConsulting.com, or by telephone at 772-528-3871 and his web site is: www.pashkeconsulting.com.

Greg Pashke
December 7, 2008
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