Mastering Your Money Mindset
Welcome back to the Smarter Accountant Podcast. As an accountant, you most likely believe you know how to handle other people’s money and finances. But let me ask you a few questions:
- How do you feel about money?
- What is your relationship with your money?
- Do you know how to money (yes as a verb)?
Most of us, myself included, have a “money belief lineage”—a set of beliefs about money that we’re taught from an early age. Those beliefs are often passed down from generation to generation with tweaks and adjustments along the way.
For example, your great-grandmother may have stayed home to raise children and had the belief that there’s never enough money—one that she passed on to her children; your grandfather may have had beliefs that he inherited from his parents about how money “doesn’t grow on trees”; your mother and father probably inherited their parents’ beliefs about what it takes to make a decent living, and passed those beliefs on to you.
Think for a second about your own money belief lineage. What were you taught about money growing up?
The truth is that we’ve all been taught various things about money, from various people, which have culminated in our own set of beliefs about money. Some of them might be helpful but, if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “If I’m so smart, why am I not making the money I want to make?” you probably have some unhelpful beliefs about money.
I also want to point out that, if you are a parent, it’s important to address your money beliefs so that you don’t continue an unhelpful “money belief lineage” with them as well. If money beliefs have been passed down to you, there’s a very good chance that you are also passing those beliefs on to your children.
Your relationship with money
As accountants, we’re surrounded by other people’s money and helping companies and individuals manage their finances. But just because we deal with money doesn’t mean we have a great relationship with money.
The first thing we need to know when it comes to the truth about money is that, as we have relationships with the people, places, and things in our life, we also have a relationship with money. The reason it’s important to see money in this way, as something we have a relationship with, is that that relationship probably needs some improvement so that we can have the financial success we want.
The key is understanding that a relationship with anything or anyone is based on our thoughts about the thing or the person. Thankfully, mastering our mind will show us that we have much more control over money and financial success..
When I talk about having a relationship with money, I am referring to the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions we hold about money. These internal factors influence how we interact with money, make financial decisions, and perceive our financial situation. Just like in any other relationship, the quality of our thoughts and beliefs about money can impact the outcomes we experience.
By understanding that our relationship with money is based on our thoughts, we gain a powerful insight. It means that we have the ability to shape and improve that relationship through the mastery of our mind. This realization puts us in the driver’s seat when it comes to our financial success.
It allows us to identify and challenge any unhelpful or limiting beliefs we may have developed over time. Through awareness, we can explore the origins of these beliefs and consciously choose new, empowering beliefs that align with our financial goals and aspirations.
When we recognize that our relationship with money is within our control, we become empowered to make intentional choices and take actions that align with our financial goals.
Your brain’s role in making money
So what does our brain have to do with making the money we want? Everything! The reason why making more money can seem so difficult and daunting is that there are so many people’s opinions about what we should be doing—invest here, move there, sell this, buy that—it’s no wonder we can’t figure out what to do.
I’m here to make it super simple for you—focus on your brain.
When it comes to money, we need to understand what we are thinking when we are making money, and also what we are thinking when you aren’t. The key is that our thoughts and beliefs about money are going to fuel the action we take (or don’t take), which will ultimately create our money results.
As a Smarter Accountant, you will understand that the money you currently have is simply a result that your brain produced by virtue of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. So, if you want to change the result, you have to first get clear on the thoughts and beliefs that created the current result, and then choose more empowering thoughts and beliefs that will create the result you want.
For example, if you currently make $100,000 a year but would like to make $200,000, your current beliefs that created the $100,000 are not the beliefs that will create $200,000. You must become aware of what you are currently thinking and believing about money, improve your relationship with money (i.e. your thoughts about money), and use the higher, prefrontal cortex part of your brain, The Supervising Parent, to manage your lower, Toddler brain’s tendency to think $100,000-producing thoughts.
In other words, there are thoughts that created the actions that led to you making $100,000 and those thoughts will continue creating $!00,000 unless you intentionally choose more empowering thoughts. The key here is that mastering our mind takes awareness and intentionality.
The “time plus effort” perception
In addition, as accountants, we also tend to have a “time plus effort” perception when it comes to making money, leading many to have huge issues with time management and burnout. What I encourage you to do is shift your beliefs about needing more time and effort to make more money, and instead switch to a belief that value is what creates more money.
The truth is that we do not need to spend more time working or put in more effort to make more money. That is just a belief that you’ve probably never considered challenging before.
Instead, consider this—what if the more value we provide, whether it’s to our boss, our company, or our clients, and the more willing we are to receive money—the more money we’ll make? What if, instead of equating time with money, we instead equate value with more money? What would be possible then?
As accountants, we often find ourselves caught in the belief that time equals money. We measure our worth based on the hours we invest in our work, assuming that the more time we dedicate, the more money we will make.
However, it’s time to challenge this conventional wisdom and explore a paradigm shift: What if time doesn’t equal money? What if value equals money instead?
Imagine the possibilities that unfold when we prioritize value over time. By shifting our focus from the clock to the impact we create, we can revolutionize our approach to making money.
It’s not about working harder or longer; it’s about delivering exceptional value that drives financial growth. And where does exceptional value come from? Your brain.
You have to master your mind in order to master your money. So, how can you make this shift?
Making a shift with brain management
Start by examining your beliefs about money, your confidence, and your current activities. Then ask yourself: How could I think differently about money? How could I think differently about myself? What value could I offer that I’m not offering now?
Take a moment to reflect on your skill set, expertise, and unique strengths. Consider how you can leverage these qualities to provide additional value to your clients, your organization, or even your own business.
Here are a few strategies to help you embrace the value-driven mindset and unlock new opportunities for financial success:
Expand your knowledge and expertise: While most accountants would suggest staying updated with the latest developments in your field and investing in continuous learning, I’m going to suggest something different. Let’s face it, as accountants, we have plenty of knowledge available. What no one is teaching is how to manage your brain so that you can manage everything else.
If you want to take steps to increase your value, improve your financial success, and decrease the amount of time you spend working, you need to first understand how to manage your brain. The truth is that you are in business with your brain, so you have to make sure you’re managing it properly.
Offer strategic insights and guidance: Brain management plays a crucial role in offering strategic insights and guidance as an accountant. When I talk about brain management, I’m referring to understanding and harnessing the power of our thoughts, beliefs, and cognitive processes to drive positive outcomes.
As accountants, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of number crunching and focusing solely on the technical aspects of our work. However, to become a strategic partner, we need to expand our perspective and tap into our cognitive abilities to provide valuable insights beyond the numbers.
Ultimately, becoming a Smarter Accountant involves brain management and empowers us to leverage our cognitive abilities, think critically, tap into our creativity, and communicate effectively. These skills enable us to provide valuable insights on financial trends, cost-saving strategies, and growth opportunities that can positively impact our clients’ bottom line.
Streamline processes and improve efficiency: Brain management plays a significant role in streamlining processes and improving efficiency as an accountant. It involves harnessing the power of our thoughts, cognitive abilities, and mindset to identify opportunities for optimization and implement innovative solutions.
By leveraging brain management techniques, we can contribute to saving time, reducing costs, and adding value to our clients’ or organization’s operations. Brain management helps us optimize efficiency by leveraging analytical thinking, problem-solving mindset, continuous learning, change management skills, collaboration, communication, and innovative thinking.
By applying these cognitive abilities and techniques, we can identify areas for improvement, introduce automation or innovative tools, and streamline financial processes.
Provide proactive financial planning and forecasting: Brain management plays a crucial role in providing proactive financial planning and forecasting services as an accountant. It involves utilizing cognitive abilities, critical thinking, and strategic mindset to help clients anticipate future challenges and opportunities.
By applying brain management techniques, we can demonstrate our value as forward-thinking professionals and provide valuable insights for informed decision-making. Brain management enables us to provide proactive financial planning and forecasting services by utilizing strategic thinking, data analysis, scenario planning, risk assessment, effective communication, and continuous learning.
Develop strong relationships and foster trust: Brain management is important in developing strong relationships and fostering trust as an accountant. It involves utilizing cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, and effective communication to build connections with clients and establish a foundation of trust and reliability.
By applying brain management techniques, we can enhance the value we bring to the table and strengthen our client relationships. Brain management allows us to develop strong relationships and foster trust by practicing empathy, active listening, effective communication, transparency, reliability, problem-solving, proactive support, continuous improvement, and learning.
By utilizing our cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence, we can build connections with clients, understand their needs, and demonstrate our commitment to delivering personalized and valuable financial services.
Explore new service offerings: Brain management helps us to explore new service offering. It involves utilizing cognitive abilities, creativity, and strategic thinking to evaluate existing services and identify opportunities for expansion.
By applying brain management techniques, we can make informed decisions, adapt to market demands, and effectively cater to evolving client needs. Brain management enables us to explore new service offerings by engaging in strategic thinking, stimulating creativity, conducting market research, assessing and mitigating risks, incorporating client feedback, embracing continuous learning, and effectively managing resources.
Remember, embracing value as the driving force behind financial success requires a mindset shift. It’s about recognizing that your worth is not solely determined by the hours you put in but by the impact you create and becoming a Smarter Accountant.
Becoming a Smarter Accountant – Money mindset mastery
Becoming a Smarter Accountant is about transforming your mindset and embracing a new perspective that will lead to professional growth, increased opportunities, and a competitive edge in the accounting industry.
In my book, The Smarter Accountant, I told the story of Danielle who was a CPA, a wife, and a mother of two teenage daughters. She had a good job in a medium-sized public accounting firm and had received the standard pay raises each year.
Although Danielle’s husband was also a hard worker, they never seemed to be able to make ends meet. Even from the beginning of their marriage, money was a struggle for them, often causing arguments and creating problems in their relationship.
The truth was that Danielle grew up in a low- to middle-class neighborhood and watched her parents struggle to make ends meet as well. Her parents also often fought about money issues, which she and her younger brother witnessed.
Part of the reason Danielle chose an accounting career was that she wanted to have a better understanding of finances and not repeat the same mistakes her parents had made. She wanted to not only understand how to account for other people’s money, but also to earn a good living doing it.
The latest issue was that she and her husband had accumulated $50,000 in credit card debt, in addition to their mortgage and car loans. It seemed like they would never get out from under the pile of debt or be able to help their children pay for college.
On top of being frustrated by their debt, Danielle was also embarrassed by it. She felt a lot of shame from the fact that she was a CPA with a good job, yet she just couldn’t get a handle on her money.
Because both she and her husband were frustrated and embarrassed, they often looked at ways to drastically cut their expenses rather than how each of them could make more money. They were so focused on the money they spent, and feeling bad about it, that they just couldn’t change their scarcity mindset around money.
For Danielle, it was essential to let go of the conventional notion that time equals money and instead, shift her focus to delivering exceptional value. This mindset shift is powerful because it moves you away from the limited mindset of trading hours for dollars and opens up a world of possibilities for financial success.
When she learned to recognize that value equals money, she understood that it’s not about the amount of time you put in, but rather the impact you create through your expertise, skills, and unique contributions. By aligning her actions with this value-driven approach, she positioned herself as a trusted advisor who went beyond traditional accounting services.
Taking it a step further, she learned to consider the fact that her brain is what produces value. As an accountant, your knowledge, problem-solving abilities, analytical skills, and strategic thinking are the valuable assets you bring to the table.
Your brain is the powerhouse behind these abilities, and by learning how to manage and optimize your brain’s potential, you can maximize the value you provide to your clients and your organization. She learned that managing her brain involved understanding how to intentionally use her higher, Supervising Parent brain more often.
By learning techniques and strategies to manage her thoughts, emotions, and cognitive abilities effectively, she became equipped to navigate challenges, make sound decisions, adapt to changing industry trends, and provide innovative solutions to her clients.
So for the listeners, recognize that your brain is the source of value, and by managing it effectively, you unlock your full potential as an accountant. The possibilities for sustainable financial growth and professional fulfillment as a Smarter Accountant are limitless.
That’s what I have for you, but make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.
Make sure you go to www.thesmarteraccountant.com and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..
Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast. The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.
The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.