Illinois Chapter

Happiness is the Key to Success

Published April 17, 2018
“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you’re doing, you will be successful.”  - Herman Cain

As managers of our accounting practices, I think one of our main responsibilities is keeping people happy. It can be a copier that doesn’t break down during tax season, a benefits program that really helps people when they need it most, healthy snacks in the kitchen, pushing the partners for a dress-for-your-day policy, or even providing a new employee a list of acronyms we use day in and day out (is SALY an employee or Same As Last Year?). It can be giving a pregnant employee a back cushion for her chair, or even holding the door for an employee loaded down with her laptop, purse and audit bag. 

Maybe order lunch for your busy admin team, say thank you to your receptionist for dealing with a particularly difficult client, or send a sympathy card to an intern whose grandpa just passed away.  You will feel good about yourself, and how you are helping people with a good word or deed. 

As I write this, we are ten days away from the April tax deadline, and I think our team members are pretty happy.  They’re tired, but they aren’t grouchy or disrespectful. Happiness can be infectious. It’s pretty hard to be grumpy when someone is trying to help you, or smiling, or trying to find the positive in most things.  Serving people, helping people can make you happy. 

Our partners sit in corner offices in our building, and some days I say to myself, “are the corners happy?”.  If they’re happy, I’m generally happy.  But I don’t always rely on them for my happiness – I know I have to be happy for myself, and not get too worked up by any negativity. I try to anticipate what they want or need, and although I can’t always do that, at least I’ve tried with a smile on my face.

Another great quote is: Stay away from negative people.  They have a problem for every solution.” (Albert Einstein, in his infinite wisdom, said that).  I still am surprised by a negative comment from an employee when we talk about updating software during the summer months. Some have a problem with change, even when it is for the best.  They put a damper on everything you are trying to do to make it easier for everyone.  It’s the “if-it’s-not-broke, don’t-fix-it” mentality.  You know we always have to “fix it” – we have to make it better.  In our industry, if you’re not changing, you are dying.  Communicate the “why” and hopefully 99% of your team will be happy about the change.  Don’t focus on that 1% - they will come around, or they won’t, and you just have to move on to the next solution.

I love my job – it fulfills me, and it makes me happy to help our firm be as successful as we can be.  It’s not always easy, but I can always reach out to my CPAFMA friends who do what I do – they understand the role, the hard work, and also the happiness it can bring when you’ve done a good job. 

I hope this message finds you happy, and if not, please think about what you do, and put it in a perspective that you’re helping people.  It might make all the difference.