5 Valuable Lessons I Learned From My Finance Director

Guest Post By Matthew Evans

As a highly talented professional accountant you are always looking at ways to fulfil your true potential. One of the best ways to realise that potential and enhance your career is to learn from successful people around you.

I have experienced this first hand as I quickly moved from a clerical role in accounts payable to influencing business decisions as a management accountant with regular interaction with the senior management team. Without doubt, a key contributing factor to this was my Finance Director, who I really looked up to and he taught me a lot about getting ahead at work and in my career as a whole.

So what valuable lessons did I learn?

Take time with presentation

It is not just important that financial information you present is accurate and technically sound.  You have to take time to present the information that best suits the reader. For senior management, you have to ensure that numbers are summarised to a high level, the results are clear and that it is easy for them to take immediate action upon the information you present.

Be upfront with what you can deliver

It’s very easy to say “yes” to every demand for information from you, especially from those in senior positions, but you don’t want to spread yourself too thinly and create unrealistic expectations. You are far better off being upfront with people as to what you can deliver and within what timeframe.  This will allow you to produce your best work and be seen as a reliable go to person.

Develop commercial awareness

If you want to be involved in high level discussions and be part of the decision making process within your organisation, then you have to be able to demonstrate that you understand how the business operates as a whole.  Having this strategic overview means you are able to contribute ideas and thoughts beyond just the numbers to help move the business forward.

Don’t be afraid to ask the ‘obvious’ questions

In order to gain more commercial awareness, you are bound to come across areas of the business where you have little or no previous knowledge.  By asking the ‘obvious’ questions not only will this help your understanding of how things work, you’ll gain influence with your colleagues who’ll value your interest in them and you’ll be seen as a good listener (people love to talk about what they do!)

Look for win-win situations

This can be in a negotiation with a key supplier or customer or indeed when putting the annual budget together with department heads.  The key thing is that you will get more deals done and more decisions made by seeking out the mutual benefit to all parties concerned.  This way, both you and the business move forward.

The Bottom Line:  Observe and listen to those successful people around you, especially those who you aspire to be one day.

Matthew Evans helps aspiring management accountants achieve exam success and progress their career.  Learn more here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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