Accounting is easy

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Don’t “get” accounting, and how you can improve your business with it? Read on…

Accounting is easy

Mention the word “accounting’ at your next social gathering and notice the varied reactions. Those in the know will start to talk in accounting “tongues”, which will almost certainly kill your party dead. Expect everyone else to start parroting Pythonesque parodies with perverted pleasure.

Accounting is a subject with a bad rep, and unsurprisingly is now struggling to attract quality people into the industry even though jobs are plentiful and the money quite good.

I didn’t want to be an accountant. I wanted to be a marine biologist. For some crazy reason that I still don’t understand, I signed on for accounting at uni and began three years of mental torture like nothing I had ever experienced. I absolutely HATED accounting with a passion, which was a bit of a problem as I had apparently chosen it as a career.

I never did get accounting, but graduated all the same and entered the business world pretty much clueless. Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered so much except my first job was as a tax accountant.

Later in life, I realised that there are many, many more people just like me. Smart people in all walks of like who, for some reason or another, have not been able to “get” accounting. It’s like some mysterious language open to only a select few, and they don’t like sharing. A business version of the Da Vinci code – all smoke and mirrors, exclusive jargon and subjectivity.

Eventually the lights came on for me and, in somewhat of a classic irony, I later became the national training manager for KPMG, which was then the largest accounting firm in the world. I had finally realised that accounting is actually quite simple, and surprisingly logical.

It’s also a pretty damn useful subject to know. You can bet that your performance at work is partly or wholly measured using financial information (that is, accounting). But just how accounting literate are you really?

Let’s find out with this simple survey. Add your responses as a comment below. Score your responses from one to 10 where 10 is the maximum.

  1. I believe that to do my job properly, the required accounting literacy level should be: ___
  2. I estimate my actual accounting literacy level to be: ___

The plan is for this to be an educational blog. We had a workshop participant just last week who described himself as an entrepreneur and yet was unable to differentiate clearly between an asset and a liability.

And that’s what this blog will be about – cleaning up your accounting language knowledge and skills so you can see differently. Enrich your language and thereby your value as a decision maker.

Are you in?



Mark Robilliard hated accounting as a university student and never ‘got it’ until he started working as an accountant! Years later he and business partner Peter Frampton started a journey to find a new way for anyone to ‘get accounting’ and use it in their job and life to create value. Accounting Comes Alive was born and now provides workshops all over the world using their unique learning system that really does work, for anyone. Mark is a chartered accountant, has done a bit of NLP, worked as a public accountant, taught accounting at university, been the national training manager for KPMG Australia and held various senior line, executive and consulting roles here and overseas focusing on human potential and development. But mainly he lives with his family near the surf.


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