The perfect job?
Early in the New Year marked 3 months into the newest challenge of my 20+ year career. Arria NLG Plc is the leader in real-time data storytelling, an Aberdeen University project initiated by techie professors, led here in Sydney by Dr Robert Dale.
I’m here to provide the technical guidance and expertise (what they’ve called a Subject Matter Expert) for Arria’s first product, Recount.
Recount provides a story behind the charts and highlights the important things that are happening with your business just as an accountant would. If we get this right, this will be a game-changer, freeing-up the accountants to add value elsewhere and liberate the business owner to run their business without worrying about delineating the results. Recount applies skills common to a financial analyst / management accountant to serve your company tirelessly, providing reports written with the expertise of a human.
Recount first appeared to me as an elegant, well laid-out, clear and concise masterpiece that neatly examines a company’s key financial performance metrics and presents them as better-than-dashboard-style charts with easy-to-read text in plain-language. Spotting trends, calling out problems and forecasting what’s likely to happen next. People still read text as opposed to just pretty pictures, emoticons and tables? My experience reminded me of that fact, and the need for accountants to chat to their clients over coffee with reports to articulate the numbers, proves the point. As a numbers geek with a creative streak, my eyes lit up when I first saw this product, especially the automated Management Accounts.
As a Chartered Accountant since 1998, forging my early career with a “Big 6 Firm” (now only Big 4 thanks to Enron) with over a decade of international experience in diverse financial and business planning roles. I’d never considered myself an “expert” until they revealed how much finance and accounting knowledge I’d accumulated and taken for granted over the years.
My role in Recount as Subject Matter Expert; lending my MBA, finance and accounting experience, providing the Recount team with advice on under-the-bonnet formulae, ratio analyses & presentation, balance sheet details and profit and loss peculiarities. At Recount, I guide the formatting, design, wording, calculations and validate the amazing work that my techie colleagues have produced. These kind of reports and insights that Recount is generating were what I’d laboriously produced for numerous employers and clients in the past, using spreadsheets, docs and bits of paper. Now we’re automating that for businesses, to be produced in seconds!
What’s best is that I’m living the international dream whilst based in my home town again – with colleagues from Estonia, India, England, Scotland, USA, Philippines, Germany, Egypt, Pakistan, China, Belorussia and a few Australians. We have a pool table, regular pizza & beers, cafes & bars all around the office and we work from home (or wherever) on Wednesdays. I’m loving working on a great product with wonderful colleagues in an excellent work-environment – and I’m not in the back-office/accounting department of a company!