12 Rules for CPAs: A Jordan Peterson-Inspired Guide to Thriving in the Accounting World

Author avatarGarrett Wasny ·Jan 5, 2023

Are you a CPA struggling to find purpose and meaning in your work? Look no further! Here are 12 rules for CPAs to live by, inspired by the wisdom of Jordan Peterson.

Stand up straight with your shoulders back. As a CPA, it is crucial to hold yourself to the highest ethical standards and project confidence in your work. This means being honest and transparent in your accounting, audit, and tax procedures.

Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping. As a CPA, you are responsible for helping your clients and colleagues make informed financial decisions. But it is equally important to take care of yourself, both professionally and personally. Make sure to set boundaries, prioritize self-care, and continuously educate yourself to stay sharp and effective in your role.

Make at least one thing you do better by a small margin every single place. Continuous improvement is key in the fast-paced world of accounting. Strive to improve your skills and knowledge every day, no matter how small the increment. This could mean learning a new software program, staying up-to-date on industry regulations, or simply sharpening your attention to detail.

Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). As a CPA, it can be tempting to prioritize short-term gain over long-term impact. But true fulfillment and success come from pursuing projects and clients that align with your values and have a meaningful impact on the world.

Tell the truth, or at least, don't lie. This one might seem obvious, but it is crucial to maintain integrity and honesty in all aspects of your work as a CPA. From accurately reporting financial information to being transparent in your communication with clients, honesty is the foundation of trust and respect in the accounting industry.

Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't. As a CPA, it is important to stay open-minded and receptive to new ideas and perspectives. You never know where you might find valuable insights or learn something new.

Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens. Hard work and dedication are essential qualities for any CPA. Whether it's a complex audit or a challenging tax return, give it your all and see where it takes you.

Care about what you do. Passion and enthusiasm for your work will not only make you more effective as a CPA, but it will also bring joy and fulfillment to your career.

Pursue what you love, and let it kill you. This might sound counterintuitive, but it's important to pursue your passions with gusto and not let fear hold you back. As a CPA, this could mean taking on a new area of specialty or starting your own firm. Don't be afraid to take risks and follow your dreams.

Do not let bullies get away with it. Bullying and harassment have no place in the accounting industry. As a CPA, it is important to stand up for yourself and others and not tolerate any form of abuse or mistreatment.

Don't do things that you hate. Life is too short to spend your days doing work that drains you or goes against your values. As a CPA, it is important to find a balance between challenge and enjoyment in your work.

Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. This might seem like a random rule, but it's important to find joy and moments of levity in the often-stressful world of accounting. Taking a break to appreciate the simple pleasures in life can help you recharge and come back to work with a fresh perspective.

In conclusion, these 12 rules for CPAs offer guidance on how to live a fulfilling and meaningful career in the accounting industry. From standing up for what is right and pursuing your passions, to continuously learning and improving, these principles can help you excel in your role as a CPA and make a positive impact on the world. 

So don't be afraid to take on new challenges, speak your truth, and always remember to pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. 

Remember, as a CPA, you have the power to make a difference in the financial lives of your clients and the world at large. So go out there and make it count!

Garrett Wasny is a digital skills advisor to accountants worldwide, and author of the forthcoming ebook and CPE Credit webinar, “ChatGPT: The Future of Accounting Has Arrived.” Check out his online courses for CPAs at https://learnformula.com/profile/garrett-wasny


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