We never thought we’d miss the accountants…

Like a lot of people who are starting businesses we have worked in the corporate sector in organisations varying from SME to FTSE25. Having sat there worrying about making your budget work (rather that worrying about how much money you’ve actually got) and if you’ve got sign off for something (rather than will it actually work), being ‘stuck’ back in a corporate at times seems very attractive.

There was a conversation recently on Twitter and XPertHR about the need for HR professionals to be as numerate as any of the other functions. At the time hardly any notice was paid to it but recently it’s REALLY started to resonate and here’s why…..

We have a product called Beachbados. It’s a business simulation (rather than a game) where two teams compete as tour operators on the mythical island of Beachbados (we were up all night thinking of the name and no we haven’t been on a research trip to the real life version!). The teams have a number of resources and variables and get to make choices on how they want to build their business. The facilitators then crunch those numbers and give a set of results after each phase of the simulation.

Simple? NO!

The simulation has been up and running for a while but there was a real problem. The spreadsheet we initially built relied too much on either a) the person running it being the person who designed it and b) the person running it having a working knowledge of algebra (or at least one they can remember). So a quest was embarked on to build a spreadsheet that could automate it to allow anyone to plug the numbers in one end and get the numbers out the other.

The last week has now become known as “NestedIF Week” and the back of the spreadsheet has been broken but it would have been far simpler to wander next door to finance, find the person who is the wizard on excel (there’s one in every finance team) and ask them really really nicely to just ‘whip up a formula’. Oh well, who said starting a business was easy?!

This was the view of one of our desks at 1.53am on Thursday night/Friday morning. Come back accounts – all is forgiven!


One thought on “We never thought we’d miss the accountants…

  1. I sat in on a business simulation once, called Business Acumen. It’s designed by a company called Profitability. I’m not endorsing the company, but the simulation itself was a treat to see played out. The facilitator, whose name escapes me, was an absolute whizz at accounts. Because he was an accountant. And because the simulation was heavily focused on profit, loss, balance sheets and the such like, you really needed someone like this to do the role of facilitator. It taught me a valuable lesson about my own facilitation skills. Although I could have facilitated the game, the technicalities of the game were far beyond my remit, and as such it was not appropriate for me to be a facilitator in the simulation.

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