Dear Aunty B,
My accountant told me at the Christmas party that I am “psychotic” and she wasn’t drunk (at that stage.)
She told me that she hates our monthly meeting on accounts because I react to the accounts like I have been told I have cancer.
First there is disbelief at the numbers, where I tell her that her bottom line is astonishing and it couldn’t be happening. Then there is denial, when I tell her the numbers are wrong and can she re-run them. This is followed by grief as I let go of the bottom line I had envisaged and embrace the true figures.
And then she says I pass into the acceptance phase, where I sit in a depressed daze and take in nothing she is saying.
She told me that I should get a better grip on things and stop catastrophising as the business is actually going really well.
Why do I act like this? Is it normal for an entrepreneur?
Dear Not Psychotic,
Do you know something? She’s right. Often business owners lie at awake at night, stewing over things that in the morning resume their proper perspective. I know that accountants rant about business owners who are doing badly and have no idea they are. On the other hand, there are a lot of business owners doing well that constantly lose sight of that fact in the face of the daily demands of business.
Here is what you should do. Make sure before you approach your management meeting that you take some deep breaths and see the big picture. Remember when you started and how tough things were. Reflect on where you have come from and congratulate yourself (no one else will) on a job well done. Imagine the future – well, maybe skip next year and fast forward to 2010. Things are going even better!
Another thing you can do is this. You probably approach your accounts with an entrepreneur’s optimism. This usually means making things 10% to 20% better than they really are. Don’t worry. It’s subconscious and there is not a lot you can do about that.
What you can do is adjust your expectations by about 15% (down not up!!) and then you should be prepared for anything she has to say.
Not Psychotic, you have a wise accountant.
Give her a kiss for Christmas.
Your Aunty B.