While the phrase “creative accounting” may conjure up images of two sets of books, devilish executives and pleading the fifth, should creativity be an aspiration in every profession? A Harvard Business Review article says that “an idea, behavior, or product is creative if it is both novel and appropriate to some goal.” With that definition in mind I have to say yes, creativity in every profession – including accounting – can and should be pursued. I don’t care if you can’t sing, dance or paint. Each of us can, and should, tap into our creative mind to find new approaches to reach our goals.
In my work with clients I present improvisational comedy as an opportunity to develop stronger teams. Improv is certainly a creative endeavor, and developing strong teams most definitely leads to building business, the goal of most firms. So this meets the definition of creative behavior. Taken one step further, I teach a course on creativity, How to Dump SALY and Find a New Creative Approach to Accounting, that helps accountants focus on finding new ways to approach existing problems. (SALY stands for Same As Last Year, a decidedly non-creative way to do business.)
Too often accountants and other “white collar” professionals are told there is no place for creativity in the work place. The regimen and routine of doing the same thing every day can sap the life out of our team members. Help your staff break free of SALY and embrace creativity. Let’s change the concept of accountants from bean counters to creative problem solvers. No cooking the books here, just lots of innovative ideas that help businesses grow and succeed!