#086: The transformative power of finance & accounting with Dr Noel Tagoe (Part 1)

with Dr Noel Tagoe

Our Guest Mentor:

Dr Noel Tagoe is the Executive Vice President, Academics at AICPA where he oversees the formulation and implementation of AICPA-CIMA’s research strategy, the development of qualifications and related assessment. Noel was previously Executive Director at CIMA Education.

Prior to joining CIMA, Noel taught at University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland and the universities of Manchester, Reading and Oxford in England. Between academic appointments Noel held senior accounting and strategy positions with BP and Elf Aquitaine (now part of Total Oil) in Africa. In addition Noel established and led KPMG’s financial advisory consulting practice in West Africa for 3 years.

Noel is a chartered accountant from Ghana. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Ghana and postgraduate degrees from the universities of Dundee and Oxford.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“[On how where accountants really make the difference] Any time you mention costs your strategic and instinctive behaviour to reduce costs – so if accountants are regarded as costs, the strategic behaviour towards that is reduce what we do; on the other hand, if you shift the thinking from cost to value, everyone’s strategic behaviour is to maximise value. So if we shift accountants from doing stuff that is merely from a cost perspective, to one that is adding value, there is no end to that use and people want to use us more  [07:46]

 “[On value itself] … value is value to somebody. So the first thing you need to identify who am I relating to and what I am giving something. The second thing is for me directly, is find what is of value to the person and ask the people- what is value to you? And once you have done that, begin to engage with them on how to provide value to those people” [09:28]

“[On continuous improvement] If you decide as an accountant to improve yourself just 1% a day consistently, at the end of the year you’d have improved yourself 3740% and the end of the year, in other words 37 times over, it is consistent discipline, just baby steps …. And that is doable.” [12:00]

“[On why automation will not kill outsourcing completely] A lot of finance people really do have an inquisitive mind, it just needs to be channelled into the right direction to say, look, this can be done, so why don’t you go find out how to do it, you don’t know what you don’t know.” [15:19]

“[On learning in communities] Learning can never be private, it can be personal but never private.” [16:27]

“[On the power of Finance & Accounting] Finance and Accounting is transformative of individuals, it is transformative of communities and corporations, it’s transformation of nations, it changes the destiny of things. So if you want to do something that is worthwhile, that is changing that has purpose there are many things you can do but a strong contender is finance.” [21:28]

(Other resources and how to connect with Noel below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • Deconstructs 3 steps to become more valuable and relevant to your organisation
  • What to do if we encounter failure and why it’s the best risk management tool we have.
  • The importance of learning in communities, the 3 communities Noel belongs to (moaners, , & why learning can never be private.
  • Noel shares 3 ways to think about approaching choosing a profession like finance & accounting to find it rewarding plus a personal story about the transformative power of finance.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[02:24] – Noel shares his career journey from industry to academia.

[05:46] – The turning point when moved from accounting practice & industry to strategy and studied how to merge the two

[07:32] – Noel deconstructs 3 steps to become more valuable and relevant to your organisation

[09:28] – Noel explains his approach to value, interacting with stakeholders and skills involved.

[10:40] – The concept of an open mind vs. a dangerous empty mind in lifelong learning.

[11:49] – We cover the idea of exponential progression- the compounding power of improving just 1%

[13:24] – We discuss the concept of Kaizen.

[14:08] – Noel shares some of his background in philosophy, theology and the interaction with the world of economics particularly around the analysis of failure plus a quote from Churchill.

[15:45] – What to do if we encounter failure and why it’s the best risk management tool we have and milestone on our journey to success which is another milestone..

[16:20] – The importance of learning in communities, the 3 communities Noel belongs to (moaners, solution providers, and practitioners) & why learning can never be private.

[18:42] – Noel shares 3 ways to think about approaching choosing a profession like finance & accounting to find it rewarding plus a personal story about the transformative power of finance.

[22:10] – What’s exciting Noel most about his current work (and it’s the huge amount of opportunities with finance technology and education in finance).

Resources Mentioned:

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Credit: Edited by Andrew Codd



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