CPA Growth Trends, Marketing

Beginner’s Guide: The DiSC Assessment: How to Improve Interpersonal Skills at Your Accounting Firm

Between juggling tight deadlines, delivering incredible customer service and managing the day-to-day, effective team collaboration is not just a benefit for the accounting industry – it’s a necessity.

In this Beginner’s Guide article we will explore what the DISC assessment is, and more importantly, how the DISC assessment can improve your team collaboration, your customer service and help with the day-to-day demands of your organization.


What is DiSC?

DiSC is a behavioral self-assessment tool, that stems from research conducted by psychologist William Moulton Marston in 1928.

Although his model created the four-quadrant chart representation that is used in the assessment today, it was John Geier, a faculty member at the University of Minnesota who went on to become the first publisher of the DiSC assessment in the 1970s.

Since then, multiple improvements have been made to the model to help identify additional personality traits and priorities of each style.

According to the DiSC website, every person is a mixture of all four DiSC styles and will adjust their personality for different scenarios; however, the DiSC assessment is used to determine what behaviors are most natural to the individual.


The DiSC Types

The DiSC Assessment is comprised of approximately 80 questions that gauge which category the user “fits” into, based on the four personality reference styles.

The four personality reference styles include:

D = Dominant

The D DiSC style is confident, outspoken, blunt, strong-willed and demanding.

This personality values competency, action, concrete results and personal freedom.

They influence those around them using their assertiveness and by inspiring competition in others, but fear being seen as vulnerable.

Some of the more famous people with a D-personality style include:

  • Mark Cuban
  • Kathy Bates
  • Adele
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I = Influential

The I DiSC style is outgoing, enthusiastic, optimistic, open and trusting.

This personality values coaching and counseling, freedom of expression and democratic relationships.

They influence those around them using their charm and energy, but fear rejection.

Some of the more famous people with an I-personality style include:

  • Robin Williams
  • Prince Harry
  • Amy Poehler
  • Penny from Big Bang Theory

S = Steady

The S DiSC style is calm, deliberate, reflective and sincere.

This personality values loyalty, helping others and security.

They influence those around them through accommodation and consistent performance, but fear change and letting others down.

Some of the more famous people with an S-personality style include:

  • Mandy Moore
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Peyton Manning
  • Princess Kate, Duchess of Cambridge

C = Compliant

The C DiSC style is analytical, private, diplomatic and skeptical.

This personality values accuracy and quality.

They influence those around them using logic, but fear being wrong and strong displays of emotion.

Some of the more famous people with a C-personality style include:

  • Bill Gates
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Hermione from Harry Potter
  • Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory


How To Build a More Collaborative Organization Using DiSC

Now having explored the different personality types using the DiSC framework, let’s talk about how you might use that information to foster a more collaborative organization.

First and foremost – select someone in your organization to get DiSC certified. Despite the brief overview included above, the best way to fully immerse yourself and understand how to teach the DiSC framework to your firm is to complete their online certification course.

Once you have that in place, begin offering the DiSC assessment within your organization.

After the assessment is completed by an individual, a 20-page report is generated based on their scores and will become available to the facilitator.

As a best practice, schedule DiSC debriefs with those who have taken the assessment and your certified DiSC facilitator. Your facilitator should host engaging activities that help teach about all DiSC personality types and walk through key sections of the report, such as how an individual might solve problems or settle disagreements with other personality types.

The more that you’re able to train your teams around the DiSC framework, the easier it is for them to reflect on the best way to move projects forward and achieve their own goals with other individuals in your firm and beyond.

The key to making this successful depends solely on your facilitator’s ability to teach the content to your organization in an impactful way and the consistency of engaging new employees with the model.

This article is truly just the beginning of how you might use this information to better your organization. For more information on the DiSC assessment, or to get started with your corporate account, find a DiSC distributor near you or visit

About Sam Crist

Samantha Crist is a Sr. Marketing Manager at Blue & Co., LLC, a top-60 accounting firm with offices in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. With more than 10 years of experience in the marketing space, Samantha thrives on helping businesses grow and succeed using marketing automation technology and story-telling content strategies. Samantha graduated from Urbana University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, with a focus in journalism, public relations, and business marketing. She also has a Masters in Business Administration and multiple HubSpot certifications.

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