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Archive for June, 2012

Accounting is all about numbers, right?

Or alternatively “Accounting is not for me because I don’t like numbers.” These are the most common questions/comments that I hear when people find out that I am doing a Masters degree in Accounting. It is a very common assumption that accountants are the number people, great at math and love structure in their work, wallets and private life, thus accounting is a boring and number-driven profession.

But this is not the case! Well more like its an exaggeration. It is true that accountants use numbers, and it’s true that structure and form both play a major role in this profession, but it is not as mathematical as you would think. Numbers are a tool that accountants use to measure value, and value is a intangible concept, much like “love” or “fun”.

Now comes my favorite example to illustrate my point. Imagine you just bought an apple orchard. It cost you $2,000 but it was your life long dream and you are very content with your purchase. At this point how much is the orchard worth? $2,000 you would probably say. A couple of months are passing by and your orchard starts to bear fruit, how much is the orchard worth now? $2,000? But if you sell the fruits is has you could earn $300, so wouldn’t the orchard’s value be $2300? But wait, are you sure you can sell the apples for $300, not more, not less? How sure? Imagine that an orchard next door and similar to yours was just sold for $5,000. Does that mean your orchard is worth $5,000 now? So as the example illustrated the concept of value is not as defined as one might have initially thought.

It is true that numbers play an important role in accounting. It is a tool for an accountant to express their judgment, they must be proficient and accurate in using it, but it is still a tool, not the essence of the profession. I would argue that accounting is overwhelmingly a science about choice. What accountants aim to do is to document how much a particular item is worth, but in doing so they must identify and select appropriate accounting methods. In some cases no choice is given and accounting standards prescribe how to measure value, but in the vast majority of situations it is much more important to know how the accountant makes a choice, rather than how accurately he/she can do arithmetics.

Source: cartoonstock.com

Alex

Cover Letter of a Poet

June 22, 2012 2 comments

This is a short cover letter of mine. I aimed at creating the sweetest sounding piece of ink, however do you think it has what it takes to catch a recruiter’s attention?

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Is there a condition more fearsome than death itself? There is. It develops slowly and strikes without warning. First, it extinguishes the spark in your eyes. Next, it takes hold of your life and consumes your senses. It starts to control you and bends you to its will. Eventually, it devours your soul. The name for this disease is routine and mediocrity. These twin sisters of demise prey on people who gave up their dreams, who embraced complacency and forfeited their potential.

I have been fighting to keep this affliction at bay for the major part of my life. I pursued knowledge through international education. This journey took me across the globe: Switzerland, United States, Russia, Australia, United Kingdom and Russia once more. I established strong friendships and firm professional connections, discovered complexities of cultural interactions and was amazed by the power of perspective. And although I earned multiple degrees, learned several languages, participated in entrepreneurial ventures, gained consulting experience, and developed my client management skills, I realized that the colorless shadow of dullness was once again upon me. The only way for me to escape, to preserve what I believe myself to be, is to make the resolute choices regarding the direction of my future.

These searches lead me to XYZ firm. You, as I, believe in being nothing but the best.  You seek to develop expertise within your ranks and to deliver the utmost value to your clients. The path that you walk is not easy, but it remains the most rewarding path there is.

___

Would be delighted to hear your comments!

Alex

Categories: Uncategorized

How to leave a good job

During the last couple of years, a lot of my friends interned or finished Uni and started working for different companies in different industries. The one thing they had in common was the expectation of long working hours and working a lot of over-time.I guess that is what Uni-graduates expect their employers to expect from them. That’s fair enough and in most cases probably true. I’m also very certain 9-5 isn’t what is awaiting me.

Motivated by this expectation, all of them have worked their 60 hours per week and are majorly satisfied with their jobs and the work they are doing. So, I wasn’t surprised when I recently read the first bit of a study’s title: “Younger employees most satisfied with, work…”. But the second part confused me, by stating: “… but also most likely to leave”. (Study by Mercer: Younger employees most satisfied with work, but also most likely to leave.)

In this study they found that 65% of 19-24-year-olds agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend their company as a good place to work, but at the same time 46% of them are considering to leave the company – what means that at least some of them must have checked both of these facts in the survey. For the age-group of 25-34 it’s similar: 62% of them would recommend their company and 40% consider leaving.

Because I can’t think of a feasible explanation for these results, I would be very interested in your opinion about what would make you quit the job you really like…

Sebastian

How to handle the daily grind

Let’s face it! Time is a precious resource and “need-more-time-in-a-day” is a widespread disease. Unfortunately, most of us have only 24 hours in a day and in order to find more time we need to be more efficient (or happier) with what we already have. I know what jumps into your head right now, but this is not a post about time management or multitasking. I would like to share a simple technique to reduce the stress associated with the time pressures. It’s called “stop and think”.

The technique is very simple, so simple that most of you will not even try it, since at first it does not seem to add much value. But I encourage you to try . It entails stopping and thinking about what we have to do today. “But I think about what I need to do all the time, how would more thinking will help me?” – you may say. This kind of thinking is different. It requires you to dedicate 10 minutes at the beginning of every day to visualising what your day will be about. Instead of frantically making time allocation decisions in the midst of the hectic day, this habit will allow you to set your overarching priorities ahead of time.

So close your eyes and in your head go through the things you have to do, then map them to times of the day that you think you can do them in. Straight away you will see that you can get much more value out of your time. There is one additional benefit that you will receive! It is the peace of mind and a day free of worry, since you know that you have 10 minutes to set your sights straight. If you have other stress reduction techniques that work for you, please let us know in the comments!

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Alex

Categories: Alex, Core Business Skills