From Martin Quinn, Book-keeping and Accounts for Entrepreneurs: As an accountant, when confronted with business situations my brain turns to costs and revenues. It’s a typical accountant’s problem. In my other life as a parent, there are many hills to climb as you do your best to ensure your child gets the best possible upbringing. And boy can it cost you! Sorry, there’s the accountant again.
After a recent visit to Finland the accounting brain and the parenting brain came together – cost conscious Dad, a dangerous phenomenon for my kids. That’s not how the two came together actually. During our week as a family in Finland, it became apparent that the country is very child-friendly. Restaurants typically have a small play area for kids equipped with table and chairs, colouring books, soft toys, wheeled toys etc. Even mainline trains have play areas on board. While in a restaurant, I observed one such play are. It probably took up the space of one normal dining table. What a great relief for Mum and Dad, as the kids can play with other kids and we can eat in some peace. Now the accountant’s brain kicks in. How much would this play area cost? Maybe £100 for the toys and equipment I’m thinking. But a table could be there, so how much profit is lost each (busy) night by not having a table. I’m not even trying to guess. Nor am I a marketing expert, but I think happy long-term customers is very important. Would this balance against the lost revenue?
The point in this example is that sometimes business decisions can be made which are at a minimal cost (yes, accountants love this) and provide long-term benefits which cannot easily be expressed in monetary terms (danger zone for accountants). So, sometimes it is good for accountants to switch off their well-trained accounting sense and see the broader picture.