The language of Accounting is rooted in the General Ledger. Finance people pride themselves in knowing the general ledger accounts inside and out, and often they refer to these accounts BY NUMBER rather than by their description. Who else does that?
Because Accountants think in General Ledger account terms, when it comes time to do a budget, the process becomes one of assigning numbers to each of those accounts. It’s very linear. You have a General Ledger Account, you assign a budget number to it, and you’re done. Mission accomplished.
The problem is that’s not how Managers think… It’s not how they run their business… And it’s not how they’d do their own budget.
Marketing Managers tend to think in terms of Marketing Campaigns. IT tends to think in terms of IT Projects. Human Resources will think in terms Training programs. Sales people think about customers and how to reach new ones.
And if you take it up a level, Seniors Executives think in terms of Strategic Initiatives. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Managers know what it takes to run their business. And it doesn’t always fit neatly inside a single General Ledger Account. In all the examples I gave above, those projects and initiatives actually span multiple G/L accounts.
So when we’re talking about solutions, we’ve got to figure out how we can translate Manager-Speak into Accounting-Speak.