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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trust: The Single Most Important Attribute of a Business Manager


The business manager’s job is to oversee all of a client’s personal and business related financial matters, and then some, and must look after them as they would their own.

They are entrusted to make every decision based upon the best personal interests of their clients. There can be no conflicts of interest, there can be no personal agenda, and there can be no greater attribute than the simple, yet complex, element of trust.

As with many careers, there is certainly an element of “know how” involved in being a business manager. After all, my training is as a licensed Certified Public Accountant and the technical tools I’ve learned and developed are invaluable to my job as a business manager. But, I could be the best and brightest technician out there and it would mean very little if my clients couldn’t trust me. And choosing a career in business management fit with who I am and with what I believe to be important.

People may gravitate toward a career that sparks a personal interest. Some gravitate toward careers that can allow them to make a lot of money, while others gravitate toward careers that give great personal satisfaction. There are numerous reasons why people gravitate toward their respective careers. The reason(s) I became a business manager are many, but what made it easy for me to do is knowing that people would be able to trust me. And because of that, it would be relatively easy for me to succeed.

Yes, I enjoy working with numbers. They make sense and I find comfort in the logical aspect of accounting. Yes, I saw the potential to make a comfortable living as a licensed CPA. But, the biggest draw, and what led to my desire to work in business management, was the element of trust. It comes easily because it’s natural. Clients could trust that no matter the circumstance, their best interests would always be the priority.

When meeting my business partner Glenn Kaplan for the first time, it was easy to notice that he felt the same way. It was obvious that his clients’ interests were his top priority and that he truly cared about the work he did for his clients. It was easy to notice that it was all genuine, and that both his clients and I would be able to trust him. This attitude and basic principle has established the foundation of Armanino Business Management. The basic principle of trust has led to the success of Armanino Business Management.

This basic principle has guided the hiring of the people in the Business Management Group. The people we hire as part of our team are, first and foremost, trustworthy. We look for the people we feel we can trust and then we train them on the technical aspects of the job. We train them to be good account managers, tax planners, consultants, financial advisors, confidants—in a nutshell—Business Managers. The technical stuff can be taught, the “being trustworthy” stuff cannot. You’ve either got it or you don’t. And when working with a business manager, you need that  from them. You need to know that the people you work with are trustworthy and that they actually care about you.

As I’m writing this, I can’t help but feel how those two words, trust and care, seem to go hand-in-hand. If you care, you would have to be trustworthy. If you’re trustworthy, you would have to care. We’ve created a program at Armanino to reflect upon our outlook on client service, and the people who founded the program, adopted the anagram C.A.R.E., which stands for Communication, Attention, Respect, and Excellence. Pretty good words when put to practice. But, it goes beyond client service and begins to mean something deeper. It pertains to values. The values we hold ourselves to at Armanino. The values we place on each other and the values we place on our clients.

As mentioned, we gravitate toward things we find interesting, things we relate to, and things that bring us satisfaction. I have gravitated toward Armanino because it’s an organization that cares. It’s an organization that I can trust.

Isn’t that what really matters?

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