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Accounting Contact

Department of Accounting
College of Business and Economics
University of Idaho
ALB 125
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3161
Phone: (208) 885-6453
Fax: (208) 885-6296
Amber Gray

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Scott Green

What was the impact of the College of Business and Economics on getting you where you are today?
SG: The business school gave me the best grounding I could ever have. Bob Clark in accounting – people probably get tired of hearing how great of a guy he was. Every speech I’ve ever heard by someone who majored in accounting talks about Bob Clark. But the guy was truly great. He could teach accounting to anyone. He understood it at such a level that he could comfortably put principles in terms we could all understand and relate to. I adopted Bob’s principle of keeping things simple in my writings. I could not have written my books without the grounding I received here. I believe I came out of the College of Business and Economics incredibly prepared. I’ve always appreciated that.

In terms of management skills, how much is learned and how much is innate?
SG: Insightful question. It’s clearly both. Part of mangement is art and part science. The science is more straight forward – you learn to manage through techniques such as using templates to evaluate your business and the competition, analyzing trends and patterns in data, goal setting, using metrics to measure progress, re-engineering processes– all those things. But there’s a lot of art as well. The soft skills may be more innate and difficult to master, but much can be learned. Take selecting talent, for instance. For me, it is one area I’ve noticed most mangers either don’t take the time or don’t have the capability to do it well. When a position opens, they default to interviewing candidates from outside their organization because internal talent is not ready to assume the role. It takes time to properly evaluate talent and getting the right folks into the right positions. Failure to do so usually manifests itself by high turnover and little internal succession. I’ve always been a big proponent of promoting from within as you get the benefit of institutional knowledge and short ramp-up time with existing employees. But if you’re going to do that effectively, you have to understand not just what your people want, but what they are capable of doing. If they want to move up in the organization, you must determine what tools they will need to succeed  and execute a development plan that provides them the opportunity to achieve at that level well in advance of succession.  That’s the art of it all—developing and matching the right people to the right roles and responsibilities. Get this right, and you have taken a huge step towards a high performance organization.

Don’t successful leaders have the right people working for them that make them successful?
SG: That’s the other side of the coin. If you have the right people in the right spots, they will make you successful. Importantly, you then you have to reward and continue to motivate your people, as well. And it’s not just the paycheck – there are a lot of studies out there that show that. Money is important to all of us - we need it to survive and take care of our families. But, people are motivated by different things. For some, it’s the challenge, for others, it’s just the camaraderie of being a part of a team. We all want to belong to something we think is special, so you need to build that environment and you need to help them be a part of it. If you feel you are contributing to the organization, then you are more likely to feel ownership and a sense of belonging.

What does receiving the Hall of Fame Award mean to you?
SG: It’s hard to put into words. It’s a feeling. I’m very humbled by it. I think we all feel like we’re a bit of an imposter – it shouldn’t be me, it should be the next person. It is probably clear by now that I have had a lot of help through the years from many different people. I think the thing that’s helped me most, is that I know what I don’t know. I actively seek out those kind souls willing to help me out, and  amazingly, they’re willing to do so. My mentors are such people. There are still friends here in the University community who know me and were instrumental in my graduating from  the University of Idaho. There are my Vandal contemporaries whom I met here and stayed close to all these years. And my family, who always bring me back to Earth when they think I’m not as grounded as I should be. That’s all part of getting here. I didn’t do it by myself. There’s not one thing I’ve done on my own, there was always someone sharing the burden. This recognition is more about them and the University community than about me.