I’ve spent a lot of the last month getting my head around accounting matters and finally getting MIPAA‘s financial operations into the Sage software package. Although I studied double ‘A’ level maths and understand statistics and even differential equations, I tend to put off the important number stuff.
However, when I do get back into the swing of numeracy over literacy, I love it. The software set-up is a puzzle in logic – as I try to fathom out what goes in where and needs to be deducted elsewhere. I can’t say that I’d like to be an accountant (sorry Judy), but maths seems so much more stretching than English.
Maybe that is why many PR practitioners don’t like maths. Is a fondness for bogus surveys because practitioners don’t understand statistics? Do they avoid evaluation because it seems scientific and complicated? Is that why budgets are alien to many in PR? Are their numerical skills too poor to understand a balance sheet? Is the waffle of words preferable to the accuracy of data?
One of the best things about working on accounts is the availability of information online. I’ve become rather addicted to checking the MIPAA bank account at least daily. Similarly, I keep running reports for our online credit card system. In fact, it has been very frustrating over the holidays to see how long it takes for money to be transferred and cleared into our accounts.
I think that my love of numbers dates back to my grandparents, who taught me to count by playing cards. This wasn’t some innocent game of snap, but hard-core cribbage. It must have been funny to hear a sweet three year old say “fifteen two, fifteen four and one for his knob”. We also used to follow horse-racing, so I learned how to calculate odds and read the jockeys’ names from the newspaper. Probably not a conventional education, but it worked for me.
I also studied counting skills as my final year dissertation project for my degree in psychology. There was little research on how young children learned to count – although plenty on reading skills. A quick Google search shows that this area of childhood psychology is still largely under-researched.
Maybe it is also a topic for a PR project – it would certainly be interesting to discover if my impression that many practitioners are averse to numbers is true.