Innovators are people who start something new, who are creative and who bring excellent new ideas to life. Innovators are referred to as the ‘red people’ and accountants are ‘blue people’. Is that true or can accountants be innovators?
People will often say to me I am not a ‘typical accountant’ or I am very innovative for an accountant. People will also find it strange that as an accountant I own a guesthouse, I am a qualified personal fitness trainer, I had my own radio talk show, I am comfortable in front of camera and I often act as guest speaker. Apparently these are not trademarks of a ‘typical accountant’. I also had previous experiences where people will immediately classify me as a ‘blue person’, ‘numbers person’ or ‘left brained’ based on the fact that I am a CA. Yes I do have qualities of a ‘blue person’ and a ‘left-brained’ person but my abilities or personality are not limited to that. Once I have completed my profiling or they get to know me, they then seem quite surprised that I am in fact stronger in other areas/quadrants. These perceptions and comments always make me think. Why do we put people in certain boxes based on preconceived ideas? Why do people often limit themselves because of other people’s perceptions?
I was fortunate to attend the SAICA Top-35-under-35 awards evening. Sitting there listening to the stories of the 35 finalists I got goose bumps. Apart from their incredible achievements and inspiring stories, there was a strong theme of innovation, entrepreneurship, creativeness, social responsibility and strategic direction coming through. Any person having a perception that accountants cannot do certain things would definitely have had a serious change of perspective after attending the awards. Well done to all the finalists who are living examples that accountants can in fact achieve absolutely everything in life.
We should not put labels on people because of their career choice and we should also not allow other people to put a label on us. Our abilities and what we can achieve in life are definitely not be defined by preconceived perceptions. South Africa need plenty of innovators, movers and shakers, and entrepreneurs to really transform the country. I also believe that as accountants we have the skills, knowledge and strong foundation layer to play a big role in transforming the country. Next time when you have that bright idea, don’t let it die, bring your ideas to life and demonstrate to the world that accountants can be brilliant innovators.