I don’t do sales, numbers or computers

What is it that people come up with this kind of phrases. They always astound me.

I don’t understand numbers usually means I do not understand financial statements. Well to be truthful, nobody does and this includes most accountants and all financial regulators. However, when it comes to calculating hours worked and checking whether the pay check matches those hours I have found even the most ‘numbers challenged’ person able to figure it out to perfection.

The accountants at UBS had no idea that £1.3 billion or something like that was leaking away, presumably over a long time period. Amazing.

As for regulators – I just point to our persevering financial crisis and way it took our central banks (worldwide) and regulators like the FSA by complete surprise. Or the failure of Southern Cross and the complete lack of awareness of the Care Quality Commission.

Accountants are trained to prepare financial statements and tax returns. Too few of them are trained in the using the numbers to run the business – as the employee does when he or she reconciles pay with hours worked.

So, OK, we understand some numbers, but ‘I am definitely not a sales person’ said with some venom because, let’s face it, nobody likes a sales person. Why not I always wonder, but if you call a company and tell them openly you want to sell them something, chances are the person taking the call will get stroppy and hang up on you.

If you are not a salesperson, how did you get your job? Somehow you had to sell yourself. I know in the case of local authorities it is about bits of paper, but in the real world we look for people who will fit into and benefit our organisations. Therefore the candidate has to ‘sell’ him or herself.

Of course in our increasingly networked world, this becomes even more important. As we send out tweets and Facebook stuff (what do they call it there – Pulling Faces?) we are often representing the company. Just look at some of the stupid things footballers tweet and the trouble it causes. Turn that around and they sell themselves, their teams and the game.

And finally we have the confusion with computers. I generally ask one question: are you on Facebook? Almost invariably the answer is yes. Now I cannot get my head around Facebook. I find it complicated, intrusive and threatening, yet all these people who admire my skills on Excel fly around Facebook without a problem. What they really try to tell me is that they will only touch a computer for work if they get training, a personal laptop and extra pay but on a personal level they can do anything. Well if you can work on Facebook you can send business emails.

What is important is that we realise and help our staff realise that when they are not computing but Facebooking and when they are not selling but merely chatting about say your company, they are in a computerised sales mode. It would be nice if they talked favourably about your company so the numbers in their bank accounts at the end of the month have a chance of going up.

Please leave a comment - we all like them