Many of us were bought up to think being curious wasn’t the right path (“Curiosity killed the cat” anyone or perhaps that classic Little Golden Book “The Poky Little Puppy” spring to mind).
It was always better to follow the rules rather than to be too independent of mind and spirit. As accountants, we’ve been trained to follow the rules, and by and large the majority do this well, however - let’s face it: the world of accounting and finance has changed.
Every day, new technology and new systems emerge which automate more of the finance process. Machines are programmed to know the rules and automate the process. Every day, you may be impacted by this change. It’s up to you whether it is for better or for worse.
So while many of us may have in the past disregarded curiosity and perceived it as negative - we might just find that being curious is now actually one of the most important skills we can possess in an ever changing world.
Curiosity starts in a job interview.
The person who is curious about the job opportunity and does their research stands out from other applicants. The person who is curious and asks good questions can shoot ahead of the preferred candidate. The person who is curious about not only what they will gain in a role but how the business can gain from them also is perceived with respect and maturity before they even start the role.
The employer who instead of asking boring technical questions in an interview actually focuses on the candidates soft skills may in fact find they make a better hiring decision.
The reality moving forward is you don’t need someone to be able to regurgitate IFRS 16; but you do need them to be curious and insightful into its interpretation and application. The employer who is curious about the real reason why a person has moved roles can often distinguish a high performer from a non performer. The employer who is curious to find out what the candidate feels the business could, should or would do can separate those applicants who are there for a job, from those who are truly interested in the organisation.
Curiosity in fact can be a superpower.
Remember: robots will always beat us at processing, but they are a long way off replacing us with original thought, curiosity and insight.
So go ahead. Be the Poky Little Puppy, nurture your curiosity and ponder the why’s.
Your career depends on it.