Why be a good accountant when you can be a GREAT one?
More often than not, accountancy is cast as a profession that is ‘back-office,’ with a month-on-month routine that has little to do with the company’s core mission. As an accountant, you are probably known to be a human calculator, able to crunch numbers and manage month-end like a pro. Yet, while it may not be a customer-facing department, accounting’s criticality cannot be understated – it is the group that whips up efficient tax calculations and manages the systems upon which the organization measures its financial success.
While acing your basics and ensuring error-free analysis will make you a good accountant, the question remains - what will make managers in your organization consider you an asset that is capable of adding significant additional value?
Let’s find out!
The journey of good to great!
Here is a guide to help you transform from a reactive employee to a proactive and agile professional.
1. Ace your basics. To ensure you are ready to jump on the express train towards ‘greatness’, you need to master your basics. This means maintaining timely and error-free records, understanding complex fiscal formulas and, most importantly, being skilled at taking business vision and strategy and turning them into profit-driven business plans. Only with your basics in place, can you focus your time and efforts on pro-active initiatives to help you go above and beyond.
2. Tailor your skills to suit your company. Adaptation is the key to increasing your workplace value and developing industry specific skills will make you indispensable to any company. By adeptly understanding the business drivers in your industry and your own company’s goals, you can offer financial strategies to better manage accounts, deal with crises and improve profitability.
For example, if you are working for a real estate developer in India, you must be aware of industry standards such as RERA rules that dictate issues such as rates of interest to raise debt and payment structures that can be offered to customers. Being a pro at industry norms will help you ensure sufficient cash-flow to avoid delay in construction.
3. Be agile. A great accountant realises that true value lies in anticipating and averting potential financial crises by formulating probable solutions - not only Plan A but a fall-back Plan B too! Agility requires you to be on top of your game, challenge the status quo, back analysis with facts and eventually combine your accounting skills with problem-solving methods.
4. Champion time management. Meeting deadlines, drafting timely reports and highlighting discrepancies immediately engenders trust, encouraging management to delegate additional responsibilities on the road to career growth. Additionally, effective time management will also help you in making sound, well-reasoned financial and strategic recommendations.
5. Stay Curious. Fostering fresh ideas when it comes to dealing with financial challenges require you to stay inquisitive. Ask questions when you are unsure about something. Indulge in taking feedback from peers. Take refresher courses and workshops to stay current. The more you ask and explore, the more you will learn and the better equipped you will be to contribute to the financial growth of your company.
6. Build your interpersonal skills. Over time, technical skills alone will not be enough to take you to the next level. Developing strong communication skills, creating and managing effective relationships with peers and clients alike will be vital in building your reputation.
Above all, be authentic
While the above-mentioned points can serve as a roadmap for personal and professional growth, it is also imperative to manage the pressures of your job ethically and within regulatory norms. You may find yourself in situations where you may be expected to reach financial outcomes at the risk of compromising financial reporting rules. It is at times like these when you have to rise above and practice professionalism rather than simply completing an assigned task. Your sound judgement will directly affect the faith entrusted by the public in the organisation.
The road from good to great may seem difficult but it’s surely not impossible. If you are willing to constantly push yourself, never stop learning and practice your profession with integrity, you will soon reap the benefits of your hard-work and dedication.
Ridhi Ghelani contributed to this article