Smiling is Acceptable, Even in the Accounting Profession

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Don’t feel you have to keep a straight face every working moment to succeed in accounting. Studies show that a sense of humor is an in-demand attribute by financial services firms.

This sounds like great news for accountants, who may have felt constrained by industry standards to keep their more amiable sides under wraps in the interest of fitting in. As it turns out, fitting in means letting on that you’re a person with many facets, including the humorous ones. You want your resume and references to say “top-notch professional” as always, but the survey results should encourage you to go farther in sharing your well-rounded personality in your demeanor, your professional relationships and even your bio.

The accounting and finance staffing firm Accountemps conducted a survey asking CFOs, “How important is an employee’s sense of humor to fitting into your company’s corporate culture?” Survey says…very important! 79% of respondents answered either “very” or “somewhat” important, as opposed to the mere 20% who found the trait irrelevant.

Max Messmer, the chairman of Accountemps, told Annie Fisher of CNN, “Job candidates should let their personality shine through when they meet with prospective employers. An interview is no place for a standup comedy routine, but it is the right time to show hiring managers you are approachable and will be easy to work with.”

Senior Accountemps VP Ryan Sutton echoes that sentiment, with “From the feedback we’ve had, jokes are appropriate when you’re part of the team, but less appropriate during the interview. During the interview process, you need to separate humor from personality and highlight your personality, your lightheartedness and your approachability.” Sutton goes on to describe the importance of “mirror matching,” which means matching your interviewer’s tone and style of interface. Doing this well in the interview communicates that you can fit in with a workplace environment’s subtle personality and moods. You can read more of Sutton’s comments in this article on eFinancialCareers.

People who actually work in the financial services industry have always known that they had the ability to laugh when the situation calls for it, but the survey gives new hope that the secret is making its way out into the rest of the world, giggle by giggle. Take heart accountants – you not only can laugh, now you officially may laugh too!

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Sarah Warlick is responsible for making us and all of our clients sound professional and eloquent as the content director at bbr marketing. In this role, Sarah is in charge of ensuring that all copy is well-written, accurate and free of pesky typos before it heads out the door. Additionally, she is a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to bbr marketing’s blog sites. She spends a good deal of time writing copy for our clients and has a unique way of crawling into our clients’ heads to create ghostwritten copy that sounds as if it came directly from their pen.
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