If you read my bio on my webpage (http://www.joshuagottesmancfo.com) you’ll learn about my professional background. What that doesn’t describe is how I came to be a B2B CFO® partner. It’s been a long journey, and it brought me to a place where I’m having the greatest professional happiness I’ve had in my entire career. I’ll relate it here as it might tell you more about the person with whom you’d be working if you were to hire me as your B2B CFO®. There’s enough to it that I’m going to break this into 2 parts. This first one will cover through my first job out of college.
My first serious desire for a career came in 2nd grade. Our class was given a book of jobs, with one for each letter from A to Z. I thought being a weatherman sounded very cool, and I announced to the class that this was going to be my goal. My teacher responded “why would you want to be someone that everyone else hates?” Well, that was the end of that dream.
When I was younger, my father would take the kids to a viewing area near the end of the runway at Friendship Airport (now Baltimore-Washington Airport) to watch the planes take off and land. I was hooked. I could watch the planes for hours and not get bored. I decided I was going to design planes and decided I was going to be an aerospace engineer. My father, who was a CPA, suggested that I might enjoy that as a career, and what teenager is going to listen to his dad. So, it was off to engineering school.
Well, that didn’t last too long, either. It turns out they don’t let you start designing planes on day 1. There’s electrical engineering and mechanical engineering all sorts of classes that didn’t thrill me. I struggled with the classes and just wasn’t happy. It wasn’t the dream profession I had believed it to be. A change was in order. And, much like Mark Twain’s dad, my dad seemed to have become much wiser while I was studying engineering, so I decided to give accounting a shot. It turned out I had a great aptitude for it. The knowledge came easily to me, and the number of different industries that accounting touched appealed to me.
When I was getting ready to graduate, I knew I would prefer being in public accounting. The thought of working for just one client did not appeal to me. And I wanted to work for a smaller firm, not one of the (at the time) Big Eight. I couldn’t imagine working on just one client at a time. Eventually, I ended up working for a medium-sized firm in Baltimore. Supervisors recognized my potential there, however I was undisciplined and not always the best at following procedure. Most of this came from my desire to do more and to look for better solutions, the first time the CFO bug began to hit me. However, I was a staff accountant, and that’s not the role the partners had in mind for me.