My journey to CFO at Steemit.

in steemit •  2 months ago

Shedding the blue suit was the first step to becoming the finance leader I am today.

I was young and dumb in the summer of ‘74, full of piss and vinegar and armed with my 1965 Holden car and $50 cash. I drove 3000 miles north with three friends, and when we arrived in Cairns with our money spent, we refused to give our parents the right to say “I told you so”, so we became entrepreneurs instead.

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We spent the next eight weeks fishing off the coast for any kind of fish we could catch, then hocking them in local RV parks to raise gas money for our return journey. We slowly moved down the coast, edging toward home, succeeding (one fish after another) because we had no other choice.

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My alternative journey into the business world had already started. But I still lacked skills, knowledge, and experience. Upon earning my Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies, Marketing and Psychology from RMIT (one of Australia’s top universities), I immediately gained employment at a company called KPMG.

KPMG has a long and distinguished history. Founders Peat and Marwick met on a transatlantic steamer in the early 1900’s, and found they both had an affinity for accounting and business. Together with Marwick’s partner, Mitchell, they formed the first transatlantic accounting practice, with locations originally in Glasgow and New York, and soon additional offices throughout both the western and developing worlds. Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co quickly became a powerhouse within the accounting community, often ranking in the top two or three firms worldwide. In the late 1980’s, the company, now named Peat Marwick International (PMI) merged with Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG), to form KPMG. This merger of massive accounting practices thrust KPMG into the top two in the world, and to this day is considered one of the best accounting firms worldwide.

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When I worked with KPMG in my twenties, everyone wore a blue suit. No exaggeration necessary; literally everyone and their brother was dressed in navy blue (sometimes with pin stripes). Looking back, I’m amazed at my own audacity, but amongst the blue suit brigade that was KPMG, I made my own way. I had long hair, an always-loosened tie, and never wore blue.

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Was I a rebel, an individual, or something else? Here’s how I made my way:

  • I learned that working smart was better than working hard.

  • I learned that fairly valuing my contribution was more important than selling my skills for pennies.

  • I learned that asking for what you want is the only way to get it

  • I learned that I always have a choice.

My clients were a diverse range of public and private clients. Some were interesting ... most were not. And London was awash with “wannabe” businessmen, pursuing their dreams in an endless army of blue suits. But my stint in the London office allowed me to pursue my passion for travel while honing my skills in M&A, corporate divestitures, and forensic accounting.

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Upon returning to Australia, the allure professional accounting had once held was now wearing thin. But I was able to hone my analytical thinking. I began to see that there were three basic types of finance people:

  • Historians who simply recorded transactions and prepared financial statements, in an endless dance with those who would come along later to check them.

  • Auditors who came in after the event to ensure that the historians had recorded it correctly.

  • Change agents who understood where the numbers came from, what they meant, and dedicated their lives to finding ways to improve them through efficiency, operations, better management, improved work flows and an endless number of tools and processes that could actually make a difference.

I began to step into my career as a change agent when the blue suits tired of me, and I tired of the suits. What had been a fast-flowing river at KPMG literally dried up, and it was time to move on. I will be forever thankful for that day, as it was the beginning of parlaying my education and experience into a career that has built businesses, driven success, and in some ways, created entire new industries.

My early work experience gave me the technical skills on which to build a career, but personal style, fearlessness and self-belief are what have made my career great. In looking back to my post-disco years with KPMG, I realize that there are a few strong themes here. Let’s call them life lessons:

  • You need a bag of skills, knowledge and experience in order to find your own way.

  • Conformity is never the way to go.

  • Opportunity is what you find when things don’t seem to be going right; you find a way.

Throw away your blue suit. It could be the start of a greater journey than you ever imagined.

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Enjoy your journey,

Randy

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great motivational post.
I think as an analyst in his 20ties I should learn a great deal of wisdom from your journey and experience

Throw away your blue suit. It could be the start of a greater journey than you ever imagined.
@RandyBaker

That's well said, Randy!
Well-said-gif.gif

Awesome story. Thanks for sharing a bit of your history. Glad to have you on board!

My favourite part:

"Conformity is never the way to go."

When I started reading the post, I thought: "Ah what a funny troll. Trying to land a job as CFO of Steemit"

But then I realized that you're actually the CFO.

Thank you for the authentic introduction and welcome to Steemit!

Hey @randybaker welcome to steemit! Glad you are here and can't wait to see what you and @ned do together!

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Welcome to Steem @randybaker! I make a daily news video called the steemit news minute and have chosen to feature you as the new steemian of the day! We hand-pick some of the best new users each day and give them a jump-start to success on the platform. This post will be given more exposure on the platform to grow your following plus some nice upvotes to get you started sponsored by @yabapmatt and the @postpromoter content promotion service!

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This is fantastic. I’m super excited that someone who worked at KPMG is manning the financials internally at steemitinc. This adds material legitimacy to the company

Sage advice... Welcome to Steemit, looking forward to this last quarter

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Great to have you onboard. Thanks for the story! Smiled all the way reading it :)

Welcome aboard with steemit. If you like being different then you should fit in well here. We need radical ideas to make this thing take off. Hope to hear more from you soon

Opportunity is what you find when things don’t seem to be going right; you find a way.

I can relate it is a Life lesson indeed. This made my night, I saw this post from twitter because of @steemit twitter account.

Great presentation! The big accounting firms are well known as school to future finance professionals aimed to move organizations to the next level. In my time working with many former big 4 accountants, many moved elsewhere to apply most of their learnings and experience to bring dynamism to the finance departments. Many do not succeed and go back to the static public accounting and auditing that is soon becoming obsolete thanks to blockchain technology. However, the knowledge acquired still hs value to many organizations looking to revolutionize technology. Welcome to Steemit and look forward to seeing more from you!

I bought what I call the Don Johnson years ago and a black Calvin Klein t-shirt , I went like a decade with no tie!

Randy - good to hear your background and I'm glad you fall into the Change Agent category (me too). I expect you have a fascinating position - hopefully you can surround yourself with a fantastic dynamic team and can invest more resources as early as possible to make the most of this great opportunity...….. nowadays we are all loosening the ties and growing beards so maybe you set a trend...

Hey, great post and good to hear you enjoyed your time at KPMG too. I spent many a happy year there too but when opportunity beckons, you have to jump!

Good luck with the role at steemit

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Great read, thanks for the experience!

I enjoyed reading something that had accounting in it (well, not in it but something about accounting to start from)... Now, that's a writing skill I will be glad to follow and resteem. I also agree it's a great motivational post.

Thank you for sharing this advice with us. All the best and good luck!

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Thank you for sharing your story! You are so right, conformity is never the way to go and you must ask for what you want! All I want is to grow on Steemit! I love this platform and can’t wait what bigger things are ahead for all of us!

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Congratulations, @randybaker! Thanks for the life lessons too.

Great story and it's very nice to have you on board!

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Hi. Vote for my posts. Return of 105% steem. You will be satisfied

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Welcome @randybaker what a fasinating and motivational story for the new generation...".if there is a will there is way" cant be better than. From struggling to catch a fish then moving to KPMG and now CFO. I too did work for kpmg in India for a shortwhile...and it was worth of an experince...great to see you 👌

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Thanks for this life-changing lesson; "You need a bag of skills, knowledge and experience in order to find your own way."

Cool Journey 😀

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Great journey man !!

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Cool story Randy! I think it will be good to bring some of that Aussie vibe to Steemit Inc!

I recently got back from my first trip to Australia for the EOS Global Hackathon in Sydney. I can't wait to go back to Australia!

nice article, anybody with a bit of mileage should sit down and write something like this, to reflect on the curvy road that life is and how one took those bends as prep for the rest of the road. For people starting out it's a heads up to not be afraid to make risky decisions along the way, you don't want to be buried in a blue suit do you..

Very powerful story. Thank you for sharing.

Nice. What you got away with in the old days. Do you still have the old Holden?

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No...old Holden has long gone... but I do have a '73 Mustang convertible now....lol 20180715_121357.jpg

The sweet lines of the Holden HD in the 1st photo, I had one in black for a while. Powerglide 2 speed auto, smooth!

"we refused to give our parents the right to say “I told you so”, so we became entrepreneurs instead."

my mum used to say "see i told you get a proper job" parents are mostly protective for your children

Looking forward to the next post of your life stories

Hey, @randybaker.

Glad to hear from you. Thanks for sharing with us some of your life and experience. Some of us don't mind a seasoned CFO in the slightest. :) Looking forward to hearing more from you as there is more to say. Welcome to STEEM and Steemit.