Test yourself against these situations. What would you do?
Keep a note of your choices and at the end find out if they mean you’d make a great accountant and why.
You find a purse on an empty street. It has a lot of money in it, plus credit cards, a driving license and personal items.
- a) Check that no one is watching, pick it up and put it in your pocket, then carry on walking, thinking of the things you’re going to buy.
- b) Ignore it and carry on walking – it’s none of your business.
- c) Pick it up and look for contact details. If there’s an address, deliver the wallet if it’s close by. If there’s a phone number, try to make contact and arrange its return. If neither of these is possible, hand it in at the local police station.
You’re at dinner with friends and it’s time to split the bill. One of your friends gives everyone a total, but you know it’s incorrect and some are paying much more than they should.
- a) Politely offer to split the bill fairly for everyone, quickly, without using a napkin or calculator – it’s your party trick! You’re good with this sort of thing.
- b) Stay quiet. Your friend split the bill so you'd pay less than you ate.
- c) Pay it. You’re tired and you don’t mind paying, even if it’s wrong and you can see that some of your friends are uncomfortable with it.
It’s your first day at college and you've just left a seminar where the lecturer covered some surprisingly complex points. A fellow student looks a little confused and asks if you could help them clarify one of the more complicated problems.
- a) Tell them you would love to, but you have to be somewhere.
- b) Invite them out for coffee so you can get to know each other, learn more about their struggles, and see if you can help them find a way to understand the problem.
- c) Tell them it’s easy and walk away. After all, college is a competition.
You’ve just lost a soccer match against your biggest rivals. Everyone in the dressing room is disappointed and you can sense they blame the coach for not communicating well or making the best decisions. Your captain is trying to stand up for the coach, but the team are starting to blame them both.
- a) Add to the frustration by joining in with calls for a new leader and better tactics. You tell the team what they should have done and the more the team agree, the more they get worked up. You spy a chance for revolution. You've always wanted to be captain, and now you’ll be one soon enough.
- b) Support your coach and captain. You know this situation cannot be resolved with frustration and anger in the heat of the moment, so you try to cool things down by reasoning with your teammates. You suggest to the captain and coach that they schedule a special training session so players can voice their concerns and work through any problems on the pitch.
- c) Assume the role of team spokesperson and face up to the captain and coach. The team see you as a natural leader – someone they trust on the pitch. They implore you to take their side in venting their frustrations with the coach and captain. This is your chance to seize control of power in the dressing room.
Are you an accountant in the making?
What your answers say
- A lot of people would pick ‘b’ and while it wouldn’t technically be wrong, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. If you chose ‘c’ then you’re on the right track. Accountants can’t ignore doing the right thing. They’re bound by a code of ethics, which means instinctively picking up the purse and trying to deliver it to its owner.
- Again, this comes down to doing the right thing by others, but it also requires ability with numbers and a soft approach to avoid upsetting the person who originally split the bill. Accountants need to be able to explain complicated concepts clearly to others, which isn't always easy, especially with numbers. Accountants would choose ‘a’.
- ‘b’ of course. Accountants would help a teammate understand a problem by leading them to it and helping them to find the answer themselves. Modern accountants are strong approachable communicators.
- Accountants need to be good leaders. They can lead teams or businesses, some involving thousands of people spread across the globe. But the path to leadership also involves being a team player, being open to all sides of the argument and supporting those above you. You don’t make a good leader by invoking mistrust or being opportunistic at the detriment of others. A good leader would choose ‘b’.
So, are you an accountant in the making?
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