Don't let the accountants run your business!

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I've worked with some great Finance Directors. People who assisted in turning a business around and helped keep it running properly. But they weren't running the business. They were partners. There to support and help fund growth (and keep a handle on the money).

(I've also worked with FD's who thought they were creative geniuses. Outside of the money, they weren't).

Accountants are accountants for a reason. They like numbers and get really excited about developing financial models (for some reason they always call these "business models"). But less so about people and products.

As soon as you let your accountant run your business, your'e in trouble.

It's interesting how, once you let the accountants take charge of your business their department grows like athletes foot in a boy's boarding school. Before you know it you have gone from 1 or 2 properly motivated people, then 10, and then you look around and there are now 30 glum unhappy people in your office (and they're glum now because while their boss is running the business, they have become processors and are no longer engaged with the people at the front line of the business).

And worse, to keep costs down, the finance department has put a hold on the hiring of business development people, operations executives, and R&D. Now your business basically slows down, your clients hate you, your suppliers − because of a very clever delayed payment strategy − now insist on upfront payments, and business has shrunk.

Sure you need a Finance Director. They are essential to help you manage your business and, the best ones, are fantastic in helping to build your strategy. Just don’t put them in charge.

Accountants are there to run the numbers, not the business (unless, of course, your business is accountancy).