By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
As the president and chief executive officer of Dillon Consulting Services LLC, Paul A. Dillon, is a Certified Management Consultant with more than thirty-seven years of successful business development, client relationship, and project management experience with professional services firms. His background is impressive with stays in the Chicago office of Price Waterhouse from 1985-87, and McGladrey where he retired in 2006. Dillon is also a veteran that served his country in Vietnam. He took some time recently to talk with Big4.com on his views surrounding the importance of volunteering and career development.
We started a conversation talking about the place volunteering has in relation to business development with Dillon whose many achievements include a seminar lecture at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago in 2011 and a radio podcast on “Why Business Executives Should Join Non-Profit Boards.”
“In an accounting firm, the job of business development is really the job of everyone at the
firm,” he said adding even those with significant billable hour requirements like junior accountants and managers need to get out into the community to meet potential clients.
“From a strictly transactional standpoint, it’s very important.”
Dillon is quick to point out there are other functions volunteering serves that can be just as useful like allowing people to broaden their horizons and look outward in what can be an introspective profession. He says it’s very easy for CPAs to get caught up in the audit process so they don’t always get the opportunity to put the whole thing in a bigger context.
“I think that being out with an organization and volunteering your time allows you to have a much needed external perspective,” he says, “and I think that’s a very important career skill for number orientated people.”
Being inspired and motivating others to see the project through without any traditional monetary rewards is one of the other benefits Dillon sees, calling it a good definition for leadership and a great way to build those skills.
We also touched on the specific industries where volunteering gets the most traction with Dillon saying it is more important in a professional service as opposed to something like a manufacturing or retail industry with sales teams gearing their efforts toward a designated market.
“In an accounting firm that’s different because people are purchasing a competence in the people providing the work, so getting out and fostering confidence in this competence through volunteering is very important,” he says adding a firm is comprised of individuals that are providing a service whereby people are interacting with clients everyday.