About those beancounters
I see extensive mention of the much-maligned beancounters here. Now appraoching my seventh decade on this
unconvincing simulat- planet, I remain convinced of a rule the ineffable truth and rightness of which dawned on me after about five years into my second career (sort of fell into IT in the mid-90s, long dull story, eventually included a surprising amount of consultancy stuff).
The rule is this: beancounters, sometimes styled as accountants, most accurately referred to as book-keepers, should never, ever, ever, ever be allowed anywhere near a corporate board, or indeed, above the middle-management layer (and even in the latter circumstance, they should be "managing" only other abacus-fondlers). Their function is and should always be confined to applying rules and doing sums. Their purpose is to obey the rules and perform simple arithmetic. The idea that such (admittedly, in all other respects undoubtedly wonderful, charismatic and richly virtuous) human beings should be allowed to influence policy is simply crazy, explains much that is otherwise appalling and mysterious in the commercial world, and is suggestive of some kind of mind-control infection.
Why on earth would any business actually need a CFO? To provide inflatory, buoyant support for an otherwise empty suit, while repeating through Death By PowerPoint what Anon B. Counter already said in his monthly report (which was 96.3% automatically generated by computer anyway, the only wrong bits of which will be because ABC screwed up an Excel chart and should have let a monochrome graph speak for itself anyway)?
Seriously, if you can only see income and expenditure; if you can only think in the ten available digits; if you see costs as only ever a sink of value, always to be cut; if your mind is moated by the metaphors of an indifferent grey suit and crippled by zero-sum philosophy: then you're looking past almost everything that actually matters.
For those who doubt this as a mere curmudgeonly jeremiad, ask yourselves this: having heard so much recently about computing and automation potentially replacing human skills, and considering the emphasis of these speculations so far on low-paid, unskilled jobs—what traditionally highly-paid, very senior role can you see being effortlessly performed by a robot?
In short, if any so-called "profession" ought to be quaking in its boots for fear of redundancy-by-robot, how can beancountery not be at the very top of the list?