‘Accountants’ and ‘Passion’ in the same sentence? Too damn right!

Alex Malley CPAIn my previous blog, when I talked about leaders in business bringing their highest expression of themselves to the work they do, little did I know that I would find a wonderful example of this in action slap bang in the middle of a profession where you would never expect to find the word ‘passion’ as the defining description. More likely, you would expect to see words like ‘conservatism,’ or ‘diligence’ or ‘reliability.’ But ‘passion?’  I wouldn’t have thought so.

So this week when I read an interview that was conducted with Alex Malley, Chief Executive of CPA Australia since 2009, in The Australian’s April copy of “The Deal” it reinforced my belief that bringing passion and our authentic self to the work we do, doesn’t just belong to the realms of the entrepreneurs or artists.

For example, it’s now late on Sunday night, and I and my family have just enjoyed another session of watching “The Voice” here in Australia, the TV programme where the mentors/judges coach their chosen singing protégés on to (hopefully) success and recognition in the national and maybe even international spotlight. Ricky MartinAnd yes, as we watch the unbridled joy and enthusiasm of global singing sensation, Mr Ricky Martin, the words ‘passion’ and ‘spirit’ readily spring to mind. This amazing artist and performer simply oozes authenticity on the show for all the world to see, and there is no doubt in my mind that any aspiring singer/performer studying under the tutelage of Ricky Martin as their mentor and coach can’t help but be inspired to strive for greatness in their own performances. There is nothing superficial about Ricky Martin. He wears his heart on his sleeve. What you see is what you get with him… and boy is it deep and genuine.

But accounting? Probably one of the most influential professions in our corporate and business environment, but certainly not a profession where you would expect to hear words like ‘passion’ and ‘authenticity’ thrown around. But here are some of the words that Alex Malley had to say about himself as the leader and passionate representative of CPA Australia….

… “The best kept secret is that accountants are not necessarily always about numbers…. I am fundamentally a free spirit…. I used to run the ‘Romance of Accountancy’ lectures on university open days. That’s when I began my contribution to branding accounting as a more exciting career than it’s made out to be…. I’m a passionate person. I’m authentic…. We have a membership of about 144,000 across 127 countries, and on my first day on the job at a staff meeting in the Melbourne headquarters, I said… ‘If you don’t have a passion to be here, I’ll empower you to move somewhere else. But the deal is that if you’re here, you commit’…”

And here is the beauty of having a leader who brings this level of self awareness and inner purpose to their role.

Interview with Neil ArmstrongAs CEO of CPA Australia, Alex Malley went on to pull off arguably one of the great coups of the decade, if not the last thirty years… a series of one-on-one interviews with a genuine hero of modern times, astronaut Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the moon. What made this series of unique interviews such a coup was the fact that Neil Armstrong, being the humble and unassuming hero that he was, previously never gave interviews. So to hear Neil Armstrong, a hero of the baby boomer generation, talk so openly and eloquently on the subjects of leadership and teamwork and purpose, in these series of chats with Alex has been a rare treasure.

Alex estimates that these interviews alone probably reached a billion people via the CPA website and social media. I was one of them – captivated by what Neil had to say, as I sat glued to my computer and the You Tube videos. What makes it even more poignant is the fact that Neil Armstrong passed away not long afterwards, so we remain forever in Alex Malley’s debt for what he accomplished through following his heart and reaching out to Neil.

There are many other initiatives that Alex Malley has introduced since he took on the role of head of CPA Australia, not the least of which is to broaden the horizons of his 144,000 members and raise the profile of the association he so passionately represents.

So thank you Alex Malley, “Accountant.” Within a week of writing my blog which may have seemed a little out of left field to some, the interview you gave that I read in The Australian’s Business Magazine, reinforced exactly the point I wish to make about finding and aligning to our True Purpose in whatever work we do. And if the head of CPA Australia can demonstrate it through his words and actions, then I challenge everyone in business to consider doing the same.

Now is the time to begin delving into what your heart is telling you about allowing your highest expression of yourself to shine through the work you do. In my humble opinion this is not the time for leaders to play safe.

Write to me at brian@precisionprofiling.com.au and tell me what you think. And if given the chance, I’d love to help you uncover what your special gift or calling is.

Let’s also get this message out there about bringing one’s authentic self to the table.

In the meantime, let’s seek to understand more and judge less.  – Brian

Precision Profiling – What Makes You Tick?  Through ‘Motivational Fingerprinting’ we help you and your staff to uncover why you do what you do and most importantly, which patterns can lead to your success, and which ones might be holding you back.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here


  1. odchudzanie says:

    Some truly nice stuff on this site, I love it.

  2. Rogerson Kenny Accountants, Melbourne says:

    I agree with you Odc, this is good information for business owners.

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