Why do you do what you do? It sounds like a simple question. However, do you know why your firm does what it does?

Dan Griffths, CPA of Tanner Co. presented on Business Development at the recent INCPAS Young Pros Conference.  He referred to a TED Talk by Simon Sinek, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” In this video clip, Simon discusses the Capture_goldencircle“golden circle.” Simon advises most companies know what they do and how they do it, but do not know why they do it. He discusses examples of Apple, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright Brothers successes. He quotes “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” But what if you don’t know why you do what you do?

In the CPA profession, understanding and communicating the “why” is becoming increasingly important due to environmental changes. With the pace of change accelerating, it is more important than ever for firms and companies to be resilient, adaptive, agile and dynamic. The other “Griffiths,” INCPAS knowledge management and complexity advisor David, has been advising us on these concepts and the Society is developing resources and new classes that will help our members.

Dan Griffiths’ session inspired me to look at my firm, our profession and my career. Why do we do what we do? It’s certainly more than the “what” of doing tax returns and audits. From my personal perspective, I know it’s more than a job, it’s a career, but why? Why do I do this?

Recently a group of staff at my firm sat down at lunch and brainstormed our “why.” What we found was inspiring. We listed what we believe in and value as a firm and how it aligned with our personal beliefs and values. What an amazing list we created. It was refreshing to be reminded of the why of our firm. We take for granted our daily work and forget the underlying reasons we do what we do. For example, our focus on quality, advocating for our clients, our community outreach and the list goes on and on. One co-worker said after, “Wow, I feel good now.” Another commented, “I knew our firm valued all those things, but never sat down and thought about it.”

It was a wonderful renewal of the why of we do. When talking with perspective clients, existing clients, business associates it’s now nice to be able to explain our beliefs and values instead of “we do tax returns and audits.”

So, why do you do what you do?