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About ‘Business Integrity And ‘Being Inspired’

By Richard Cornelisse, Guest Blogger


What do I consider important from a business perspective?  I am rather new in the blogger society – published my first post on my own site on February 12 – got today my 2,500 views – and it is nowadays all about writing, introducing and getting introduced. It is about maintaining and building new relationships. My personal Blog is my brand-name (it is also my own name) and you have to be selective and careful to avoid any reputational damage. That means all the hard lessons of the real world are applicable.

This is what someone wrote me as way of first introduction:

“I do not lie, cheat or steal, nor do I tolerate those who do”

He started with mentioning his values and what he expects from me. That message still inspires me. It is all about doing the right thing and if that is lacking walk away as fast as you can. It triggered me to write a blog: “Richard, Why Are You Doing This?“. It was published on March 9, 2012.

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs?

Social Media is great as on March 19, I received a Tweet of Ed Oakley ” Leadership, Integrity, Trust…and Ski-Racing“.

Greg Smith: “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs: “The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for…. To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money…I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.”

The great thing about the above is that it confirmed my own state of mind.

Do great artists really steal?
“Good artists borrow, great artists steal” Picasso

In the academic world we have experienced lack of integrity as well. Once respected professors are outcasted now. They either fabricated their scientific analysis or copy paste other people’s work without source mentioning.

Can this happen in our tax profession? If you publish an article in tax literature and have not provided any contribution, have no practical experience in the matter and the only personal aim is to establish the perception of being a subject matter expert in the market, is that integer?

What is the similarity with the professor who was outcasted? You not only lie to yourself, but you lie to your audience and that is not the way to maintain and start relationships.

If integrity is an important part of your organizations values, you should always act accordingly and proactively manage as leadership. It is always about doing the right thing and never bargain these values.

“In a profession that sells a promise of performance versus a tangible product or service, a firm’s vision, values, and culture lie at the heart of that promise. Vision is where the firm is headed. Values are the behaviors the firm holds important, and culture is the feel, the energy, the society within the organization. Collectively, they form the core around which the business is built.”  Maureen Broderick

Where did I get my inspiration?

I am a fan of Jack Welch, Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. They inspire me. Understanding the bigger picture is what I consider important in order to function effectively. I like to know a common aim first and contribute value to make it happen. We simply learn from others especially if we disagree, take position and keep an open mind.

In the start up phase of my own site I read other Blogs simply to find a role model. I have found one in Chris Brogan. It is about common values.

My own mission statement

How often do you see me selling directly to you? How often do I ask for your money? I ask for your time sometimes, but I usually trade you that time for something of value to you. Do you know why? I give away over 90% of what I do for free. There’s a method to this. I do it because my primary goal is to earn your sense of community. I want you to feel like we are going to learn and grow together. I want you to share with others that you’ve learned something. I want you to be successful. And there’s a reason for this, too. If you are successful, then two things will happen. One, you will do better and that just makes me happy. Two, if you’re successful, you’ll think of me when there’s an opportunity that might be of benefit to me, or to both of us. That’s the opportunity” Chris Brogan

Chris inspires me. My own mission statement is already written: this time all copy paste or as Picasso said steal.

Richard, why are you doing this?

I can repeat in my own words what Chris wrote and try to improve. For a Dutch guy that is definitely “being overambitious” and even if I would write it in my native language first, this will still not be possible. Why? His way of thinking – how it is written down – is exactly expressing what I feel. Don’t change the lyrics, a singer song writer would say.

My Guest Blog”About Market Leadership And Non Traditional Competitors” was about vision. I gave my view on the impact of technology development on among others our profession and ended with a provocative statement about automating the adviser. I consider the use of ‘humor” important. However, I believe you can automate a lot more than we currently can comprehend. Having an open mind was the message I wanted to get across. What likely can not be automated is what we feel and how we interact. That is why it is and remains a people business. The conditions for success are “business integrity’ and ‘being inspired’.

Like to end with a quote:

“I want you to feel like we are going to learn and grow together” Chris Brogan

Richard’s other Big4 publications

Richard Cornelisse is CEO of the KEY Group and worked previously as Big4 Partner in the Tax Performance Advisory and Indirect Tax Practice and blogs on Tax Function Effectiveness and Tax Control Framework developments.

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One Response to About ‘Business Integrity And ‘Being Inspired’

  1. Denys says:

    Just relax is the best advice I can give you. Interviewing with a Big 4 is no difnereft than anywhere else. Big 4 firms are located all over the world and newly hired accountants by them are a dime a dozen. Do not be in awe of KPMG as it will mess with your mind during the interview. I got offers from 3 of the Big 4 with no major preparation and just being myself. Just do some research on the standard interview questions and have answers prepared ahead of time.