Moving Beyond The Numbers To Adding Value As An Accountant

Historically accountants might have been seen as the people who worked in the background.  Taking care of the money.

These days with more and more technology around and being developed, roles are increasingly changing.

One thing that’s spoken about is the need for accountants to add value.  Easy to say and yet not always easy to do in practice.

The problem accountants face in moving beyond the numbers

Let’s be clear there are many accountants who not only move beyond the numbers but go out of their way to do it as quickly as possible.

However, many struggle for a whole host of reasons.

The first struggle is that they lack self confidence.  They understate what they bring to business and the contribution they can make.  Sometimes it’s just easier for them to stay in the comfort zone doing what’s familiar to them.

The second struggle is understanding the wider business.  They don’t routinely make the time to get out into their organisation.  I’ve also noticed that only a handful actually spend time learning about business more widely.

The third struggle is they got lost in the detail.  As a result they fill their time on activities, some of which are really low value to the business.

So how might you move beyond the numbers and adding more value?

Start by recognising the breadth of what you have to offer

The amount of pure accounting content in professional exams is small.  These days the exams are much broader.  You learn about strategy, change, project management, people management and a whole lot more.  You really have a lot to offer.

Spend more time in the organisation and less time in front of your computer

You can look at financial reports, spend and income until the cows come home.  This doesn’t mean that you understand the organisation and drivers of success.

Spending some time out in the organisation, observing or shadowing will make a big difference to your understanding.  It will also help you build relationships and provide more insight.

Modernise the finance function or look for better ways of doing your job

Time is really the ultimate limiting factor.  You can’t buy an upgrade.  You therefore have to use it wisely.

The best way of making the most of your time is to make sure that you do what you have to do in the most efficient and effective way.

Speak to your customers

Everyone in Finance has internal customers.  Speak to them and learn how you can help them to do their job better and achieve their goals.

Then take the necessary steps to better serve your customers.

In truth you have a huge opportunity to make a real difference to your organisation and your career.  The question is are you willing to take the first steps?

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