Understand the Role Rather Than Just Focusing On the Job Title

I work extensively with accountants and professionals helping them to take the next step in their career.

One of the interesting things I see is that some have a tendency to get fixated with a job title.

Now I can understand this.  It does give you a way of filtering through the many opportunities that you could express an interest in.

Trouble is a job title can be a poor indicator of what the job is really like in practice.

My professional background is in accountancy.

The number of finance business partnering roles I see advertised always seems to be increasing.

Equally I’ve seen huge differences in the salary range of jobs where finance business partnering is mentioned.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s a way of making what’s a really routine role seem better than it really is.

The goal should always be to understand the role not just the job title

Let’s carry on with our finance business partnering example.

Getting involved in meetings to discuss the financial performance is not finance business partnering. Management accountants and finance managers have been doing this for decades.

Being involved in developing strategy.  Supporting business growth or performance improvement is.  Actively contributing to key decisions and driving the area you support is all part of finance business partnering in my experience.

Remember too that the size of the business will be a factor

If you are an accountant in a smaller organisation finance business partnering might not feature in any job description.

What’s pretty clear in my experience is that people in smaller organisations definitely are doing a lot of business partnering even though that might not be the title.

Think about how a role supports longer term career aspirations

A successful career is a series of stepping stones rather than one giant leap.

Make sure that the role is going to help you move closer to your longer term career aspirations.

The bottom line: It’s easy to be attracted to the job title.  The vital thing is to understand and ensure a role is right for you at this stage in your career before you apply.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

In summary since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them achieve career success and become better leaders and presenters. 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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