One of my customers sells to accountants. A rep there frustratingly recounted to me how a paradox causes him much irritation. Bean counters tend to espouse diligent processes and talk of returns to their clients when assessing investment, yet when it came to his wares, they rarely applied such vigilence to their own decision making.
I repeated the tale to a pal of mine that is CFO of a £100m group of businesses in the transport sector. I explained it using two well-known adages that as a cub rep I got to know that remind you to be aware buyers don’t always practice what they preach:
the cobbler’s children have no shoes
the butcher’s children eat no meat
And to my astonishment, he confirmed this from his own experience. When his subsidiary finance guys come to him for spend approval, he ensures they’ve calculated a thorough assessment, including a full sensitivity analysis with pessimistic and optimistic cases outlined. Yet in many instances, when he weighs up a decision, he finds himself avoiding the application of the same rigours to his personal task and, would you credit it, he considered he made up his mind more influenced by his emotional and gut feel. Can it really be that Accountants are human too?!