By Trevor Mwale : B.Com (Hons) Acc /FCMA / CGMA / MBA (Cum laude)/ M.Inst.D.
Accountants are stereotypically risk averse, cautious, conservative and prudent. Good qualities and virtues for the work that we do. However, these qualities may not necessarily be good for you if you want to become a Billionaire, because the skills set and qualities required are different. In order to belong to the Billionaires Club, one has to be a risk taker, adventurous, aggressive, and sometimes, ruthless. It is however intriguing to come across a Billionaire Accountant, like Phil Knight.

Phil is one of the leading businessmen in the US. He is the co-founder and former chairman of NIKE. In 2016 he was considered the 15th richest man in world with a wealth of US$28 billion. Currently, Phil is the richest Chartered Accountant alive on earth. As of June 2019, Phil was ranked by Forbes as the 26th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$31.8 billion.

But why does Phil stand out? I think part of the answer lives in Robert Kiyosaki’s book “Why A students work for C students”. Let’s accept it, generally, for you to make it in an Accounting class, you have to be an A student. And A students generally work for C students. There is something about being academically gifted and being an A student. It’s almost a numbing effect on the creativity, and tolerance for risk. I could be wrong, but that’s my inconclusive observation. Is it the design of our education system? Is it too much content on Risk Management in most of these major Chartered Accountancy professional syllabuses? It would be quite interesting to put a finger on the pulse, and know why, as A students, as Chartered Accountants, we generally work for C students. Or maybe Phil was just a different A student?

Another view may be that A students are generally qualified, yet C students are educated. Is there a difference? Yes, a huge difference. Education comes from a Latin word educo, which means to draw out, to erect, to raise up, to lead. One may get a qualification, but unless something is drawn out from them, then they are not educated. What may be drawn out is the propensity to take risks, what may be drawn out is a defined purpose in life, what may be drawn out is ambition. Whatever it is, it may assist you on your journey, to become the Accountant Billionaire.

Trevor is a Chartered Management Accountant (FCMA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), holder of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with Distinction and Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree in Accounting. Trevor lectures CIMA, ACCA, CFA & SAICA students.