I used to love numbers and would spend countless hours doing my trigonometry exercises. I could not explain it except that I (probably) had the genetic predisposition for it – dad was an accountant. I could have been one too, but for some twist of fate, it was my younger brother who became an accountant (okay, okay, he’s also pretty good in Math) because I wanted with all my heart to become a newscaster, and shunned what I now call my lost inner talent.
In one desperate (yes) moment to get into a tax law firm, I told my interviewer that my dad was an accountant and my brother was an accountant. Silence. Without batting an eyelash, he told me, “Maybe I should hire them”. He’s got a point.
Imagine my surprise when they hired me.
Imagine my surprise (!) when Robert Kiyosaki mentioned in Rich Dad, Poor Dad that if he were to do everything all over again, he would be an accountant. And that this is the course he would recommend to kindergarten students.
The destiny that I denied.
Kiyosaki was so enthusiastic about accounting and had such love and respect for it that in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, there had to be the word “accounting” in every 200 words. He explains (well, his rich dad explains), “In accounting, it’s not the numbers, but what the numbers are telling you. It’s just like words. It’s not the words, but the story the words are telling you.” Accounting is it.
I guess it did not help that my father did not ask me if I wanted to be one. That he let me be. Now, I feel that I can no longer understand the story the numbers tell and seriously (seriously) doubt that I still have the gift. I even doubt that I had the gift, except that my class cards do not lie (I think). On the other hand, if I became an accountant, it would probably not have led me down this path. Hmm…
But maybe looking back and regretting (or justifying) is not the point – and the point is to move forward, which is where I am – and each of us – are going. There are courses called accounting for non-accountants and mini-MBAs or full MBA courses. Maybe it is not yet too late in the game. In no time, maybe financial literacy will come to those who seek it and the numbers will no longer be meaningless because they have become words and words being words, they disclose their meanings.
Kiyosaki himself is also a non-accountant, but after his military career and through “osmosis”, through working with accountants in rich dad’s firm, he learned his math and learned to balance his sheets until those sheets told a story. Buffett too, is not an accountant but an economist (okay, maybe there is a thin line between that and accounting) but he became one of the greatest investor, businessman, philanthropist of our time. If they can do it, we can do it too.
I told my daughter, you are going to be a CPA, you are going to be an entrepreneur. She poses, hands akimbo, and tells me, her eyes twinkling, “No. You do it. Why are you telling me what to do?” Life has gone full circle and it ends up in the same path. I am amazed.
If you are in the business of accumulating great wealth, think seriously – invest in your financial education. Look at accounting and see if it will lead you there. I am.