Excel is NOT My Co-Pilot. Business Run by Wusses

Morning Folks!!

Excel can not run a business. It can give you vital info and keep track of things but it can't run it. Guess what? 'Bean Counters' that use spreadsheets are now the pilot in the plane, the surgeon in the hospital and the Chef in the restaurant. But these guys don't belong there. They are in the wrong place. They belong NEXT to the pilot, NEXT to the surgeon and NEXT to the Chef.

These other folks have surrendered their power and knowledge and eventually there well being to bean counters that should follow not lead. Follow not lead. Why are leaders following? What genius figured that one out? What exactly turned them from risk takers into wusses that are scared to override decisions by others especailly when they are bad ones!

See, bean counters don't know about RISK! They know about SAFE! They are not entrepreneurs. They are not even business people in most cases. They are accountants. I love my accountants. Been doing business with the same 2 firms for 20+ years. They educate me on this and that. Offer advice to minimize risk. But I have NEVER deferred to them to make a decision. That would be INSANE!

Guess what? Many companies today are set up this way. It's like flying upside down with 'Safety' being the only factor. Sorry, RISK is a huge part of business. If you are not willing to risk losing money you are not willing to make money. Just depends if you lose a little, a lot or everything. That comes to judgement and other factors.

Sorry, I just see the world differently. I have a longer perspective on things. Have not been indoctrinated by Corporate America to think wrong. Every one of them started by taking a risk. Well not exactly. The new business model is to lose other people's money. A half assed untested idea looking for a weekly pay check.

See in the old days you would look for other people's money because you could not fill the orders. You need to expand and grow to keep up with demand. Today there is no demand but it if you invest money in this untested idea we will try and CREATE demand. They will 'Brand'.

This bullshit is so tangled up even this post is tangled because one bad thing leads to another bad thing. Selling would be next on the list. Most have very poor or nonexistent sales skills. How do I now this? I buy a lot of stuff. I run into folks that just can't figure it out. May as well just have the bean counter do that too.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

14 thoughts on “Excel is NOT My Co-Pilot. Business Run by Wusses

  1. Scott Alliy

    Rick, You have never been more right. I was told by a real estate investment speaker”Don’t ask an accountant how to make money. They only achieve a good but predicatable income usually far lower than any serious entrepreneur would accept. The issue is that the economy has everyone paralyzed. I released a website biz card software product designed to help people get more business and value from their website traffic. In 2001 this product gets 1000 or more sales yet not one order received so far. Further proof of societal and consumer and even entrepreneurial paralysis certainly for the time being and sadly for the foreseeable future IMO.
    Articles like this blog post raise serious questios about the timing of the GTLD Program release and make me baffled. End user sales are down traffic and revenues are down, new web business startups are down. Any investor would ask …”Where is the support level?”

  2. UFO

    Actually I know quite a bit about this having undertaken finance consultancy in Public sector health. But the question is where to start discussing this because it is a tangled spider’s web.
    One of the most notable failures is the massive slide towards senior management not actually taking any thoughtful intervention and asking consultants to plan and prepare everything at great cost. You don’t need CEOs in organisations like that as your average PA could coordinate just as well. Also, consultants are ALWAYS pro change even if it really has no benefit or indeed detrimental to the long term strategy of the organisation because all as they want is FEE’s.
    Anyway, Rick you should take a quick look at basic Jungian psychology which is roughly rolled up into MBTI ‘typepology testing’.
    Most accountants are ISTJ, the S for sensory and a typically LINEAR mindset. Lateral thinkers are N for intuitive. Generally ENTJs in the case of successful entrepreneurs. Basic tests like these show you the gulf in thought processes and makes you realise how few as a function of the population the Intuitive (n) Thinking (t) people are.

  3. Owen

    So true. For years when I was ahead of the pack as an Apple user people would ask”Owen why do you use that Apple. I just don’t see how it’s different and why if it was an good Microsoft wouldn’t make one better.” The answer was Microsoft is a bean counter and Apple is a seller. When the MS Office suite was unleashed in businesses employees somehow got the idea that their role was to sit in cubicles and produce endless spreadsheets and ppt presentations then set up endless meetings with management in corner offices to discuss, debate, change and even micromanage them out of existence. That’s why when 300 guys get laid off no one even asks what they were working on, the don’t get replaced and it doesn’t matter. I call this FailureToInnovate (com)- and while all look to blame the government for costing jobs, we should really be looking at Microsoft.

  4. Anthony

    When a company is not concerned with making innovative products or long term growth because it is only concerned with justifying 8 figure wages to the remuneration committee and shareholders, which in truth means a couple of pension funds, the best person to have in charge is a bean counter.
    Back in 2005 the rate of fortune 100 companies that had a former CFO as CEO was up to 20%, bear in mind this was during the good times, I expect that has risen significantly now.
    Everything is skewed towards greed. The last 4-5 years have seen massive lay offs by companies all over the world who were not actually due to lose money but did so to protect the share price and therefore the wages of senior management. An economic downturn becomes self fulfilling even as companies build up massive cash positions.
    Anyway, whatever.

  5. Uzoma

    It’s a case of 6 on one hand, and half a dozen in the other. Without Bean Counters, Risk averse sales people (business people) will not look at the numbers, and numbers are the only things that don’t lie (Schwartz).
    What we should blame it on is the new culture. We might therefore conclude that our challenge at this stage of evolution is to recognize that ‘business controlled by people’, just like human nature, is richly diverse and flexible. Among the things we might take into account is the evocative power of our assumptions about ourselves, each other, and what’s possible.
    I recall an elementary teacher Jane Elliott, who did a famous experiment in 1968 in which her young students behaved — with unexpected intensity — according to her assumptions about how bright and competent they were. One day brown eyed kids were smart and blue eyed kids stupid, and the next day the opposite. Her results suggest that in many circumstances our assumptions about each other have a profound effect on which aspects of us show up in the world. And this is only a small piece of what is going on within us and among us.
    Rick, I’d be careful in dismissing a whole group of people. These Bean counters looked at individuals might produce remarkable heroes among them, and could have contributed mightily to some enterprises and industries.

  6. steve

    I was the creative / idea man. And I took big exception to the bean counters and paper pushers. They made huge sums for what I thought was useless. Around 100k to 200k depending on their level. I came up with ideas and had to also program them and my job would end at any time if I finished and had nothing existing needed help and I couldn’t sell them on anything.
    So midway through what was surely the last project I just said f them and walked off. As I thought how can they treat people like this. Yes they were just bean counters. But you lose your best people this way to!
    I was talking to some piece of garbage outside and looking into the sunset I just said ‘man I worth 300k easy and nobody will pay me what I am worth’. But out of the corner of my eye I saw that smirk. That yea sure you are smirk that makes you livid. That is when it dawned on me I had to go take the risk and do my own ventures so I could make the money I thought I was worth.
    Now I see Obama saying those people that made money stole it from the American people. This guy is a pure communist. Everything he says I disagree with.
    Most people should just work. They are not prepared for the risk and will lose all there money. If you don’t have all the skills needed your chance of success is near 0.

  7. Dave Wrixon

    Haven’t met an accountant yet who uses a Spreadsheet for anything more than adding up.
    I am working on a relational database in Excel at the moment. Most accountants would not even understand what I have done with the formualas and formating of the cells, let alone the VBA Macros that drive the bloody thing.
    But would I use Excel to make investment decisions?
    No, because what you need is qualitive analysis not quantative analysis. The variables involved are too complex to quantify. Sure there are chareltons on Wall Street that will claim to be able to do these things and many are probably so far up their own arses that actually believe what they are telling you.
    The bottom line it is about experience and judgement. Conceptual analysis does not involve defined variables. Excel is absolutely no bloody good for this kind of thing. However, possessing the skills to do spreadsheets does not necessarily preclude you from making value judgements.

  8. JR

    ‘I love my accountants. Been doing business with the same 2 firms for 20+ years’
    Cool can you refer them? We been looking for good accountants that is not just bean counters.

  9. UFO

    I can state that many a time with business cases and so forth if senior management have not liked the financial result they just have some of the assumptions/variables changed. Unless the finance person is completely independent and isn’t paid for by the project sponsor then the answer given is the answer desired.
    Effectively accountants are the ‘scientists’ that ensure validation / proof of qualitative ideas. Most often another tick in the box for sign off of capital spend.

  10. Patrick Hipskind

    Hi Rick. Your post is spot on. You point out the key difference between leadership and management. They are not the same. Leadership is about vision and steering the ship, while management is about creating processes and procedures for accomplishing objectives. All too often true managers are promoted to leadership positions. Harvard professor John Kotter says effective leadership is about aligning people, communicating a vision to individuals who can create coalitions and who understand the vision and are committed to its achievement.
    It is because of the consistent soundness of your advice that I now have several domain names parked at DomainNameSales.com. I wish I would have had you as a professor when I was completing my MBA at Post University.

  11. Dave Wrixon

    Big businesses work like that. I have to make up cost projections all the time to back up my qualitive analysis. Is it lying no, but yes there is a degree of manipulation involved. Unfortunately, many in senior positions are almost brain dead. So what else are you suppose to do to get projects off the ground.
    At the end of the day, you and die on whether you turn a profit at the end of the day.

  12. bodo

    Well right, already, who rethinks need much convincing. Ultimately, however, the only one who wants erfolg.wer risk, should be open for new experiences.
    Cordial greetings from berlin


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