Tips on preparing for a leadership role and positioning yourself effectively to seize opportunities as they arise. If you’re good at your job and keen to develop, there’s a good chance that you’ll be offered the chance to move into a leadership role at some point. Or maybe you’re actively looking to become a leader, but not sure how to best position yourself for success. While the perks and opportunities are appealing, the idea of leadership can be daunting. But by preparing yourself ahead of time you can make a confident move up the career ladder when the time is right. When I was promoted from Financial Controller to General Manager, the shift felt huge. I went from being an experienced finance specialist where I knew my stuff, to being thrown into managing a team of people and expected to influence senior colleagues across the whole organisation. I felt like I had so many new skills to learn – it felt a bit like starting all over again. With that in mind, here are 5 things you can do to help prepare yourself for leadership. Be proactive Take a course (such as one of ICAEW’s leadership CPD courses), listen to podcasts, read an inspiring book or watch coaching videos to find what works for you. Try making learning about leadership a habit by spending even just half an hour each week developing your leadership skills and knowledge. Also, take a look around your organisation and see who inspires you as a leader – what is it about them that makes them so great at their job? How could you imitate those qualities? Then consider how you can take what you’ve learned and put it into practice in your day job. Without realising it you’ll begin to behave differently at work, positioning yourself to be noticed. And if you want to lead, don’t forget to let your others know you want to progress so they can help you get there. Develop your people skills Influencing and managing people is what leadership is all about. But it’s also the area that many new leaders have little experience in. Leading with empathy rather than forceful authority will gain you the respect of your team and peers, so it’s worth examining your interactions with others. Listening is one of the most important leadership skills to develop. Leaders rely on their team’s expertise to get the job done, but they will turn to you when they need a problem solving. Hear them out before offering your opinions. Or, even better, find ways to empower them to solve their own problems – this coaching technique will show you how. Reflect on your experiences Self-awareness is a key asset of a great leader. Spend some time getting to understand your strengths, what causes you stress and how you react under pressure. You’ll then know what you need to work on and you’ll be aware of what’s going on when you stumble upon your triggers. Another great development trick is to think back on times when you’ve failed. Why did you fail and what would you do differently if you were to do it again? Everyone fails, and when you’re starting out as a leader, because you’re doing new things, you’re going to fail a lot. And that’s OK. Think of each failure as an opportunity to learn and find ways to improve for next time. Look for opportunities The more you lead, the better you’ll get at it. Start small by taking any opportunities that arise to lead projects. As a project manager, you’ll learn essential leadership skills such as people and resource management, planning, communicating and directing. When your boss goes on holiday, offer to act up and take over their responsibilities while they’re away so you can put your leadership skills into practice. It’s also a great way to show you are ready and capable to take on more responsibility. Find a mentor or coach If there’s someone you particularly admire within your organisation, or even someone outside of work, why not see whether they would be willing to mentor you. Coaching is another option to consider and I’m a great believer in the power of quality coaching like the ICAEW Leadership Development Programmes. A good coach will open up your thinking, help you find new opportunities and build your confidence in areas you feel you need to strengthen. If you’re not sure what coaching is about or how it could help you, dip your toe in the water and pick up some leadership techniques for free at lightningsmart.co.uk. Good luck on your leadership journey!
As organisations try to promote greater diversity and inclusion within their ranks, many hiring managers are focused on sourcing candidates from a variety of backgrounds. In the ICAEW Diversity and Inclusion hub we bring together timely D&I resources on regulation and equality, along with our latest insights into diversity in the profession. To promote inclusivity in the workplace, companies must ensure that candidate interviews and assessments are not biased against minority professionals. Let us address the two types of bias that can significantly impact your organisation’s diversity recruitment initiatives: unconscious bias and conscious bias. What is unconscious bias? Unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias) is the preferences and prejudices that we don’t realize we have. These biases often come from our background and aren’t necessarily apparent in our day-to-day interactions with others. However, they can inform the decisions we make about the people with whom we surround ourselves. Everyone has unconscious biases; many hiring panels might unwittingly lean toward hiring — or not hiring — candidates based on those implicit prejudices. What are the most common unconscious biases to watch for? There are several common unconscious biases hiring teams should watch out for during the recruitment and selection processes. Three common types of unconscious bias include: 1. Affinity bias: This type refers to the tendency to prefer people who are similar to us in terms of ethnicity, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical appearance or disability. 2. Confirmation bias: This bias occurs when we pay greater attention to information that confirms pre-existing beliefs, thus essentially confirming stereotypes we hold. 3. Conformity bias: This refers to being influenced by the opinions and behaviours of others, such as other colleagues on a hiring panel, in order to conform to “proper” behaviour. What is conscious bias, and how does it differ from unconscious bias? Conscious, or explicit, bias refers to prejudices of which we are aware. Someone who falls into this category acts deliberately and knowingly on conscious biases, such as mistreating people from a specific group that they feel deserve it. Conscious bias can be just as detrimental to building an inclusive environment — perhaps even more so. 10 strategies to prevent and address these biases during the hiring process. You and your team can prevent and address these prejudices through consistent, strategic action, try these strategies: 1. Identify your unconscious biases. You can use tools like the Implicit Association Test from Harvard to help you. Then, make sure these biases are top of mind throughout the interview and assessment process. We must keep our prejudices front and centre to fight them when they arise. 2. Infuse inclusiveness into your communications, both internally and externally. For example, use a job description analysis tool that identifies gendered language to make job descriptions more inclusive. 3. Require diversity training and ongoing education for all employees, particularly managers, recruiters and senior leaders. 4. Make inclusion a regular part of your conversations regarding the brand and company culture. ICAEW are committed to diversity in the Chartered Accountancy profession and we believe the profession, and our own organisation, does best when it reflects the society we serve, take a look at the ICAEW Diversity and Inclusion policy. 5. Implement mentorship programs across teams and demographics. Exposing team members to people from different backgrounds can promote greater understanding and empathy across the company culture, which I have found can significantly affect recruitment and retention efforts. 6. Look at candidates’ skills and talents before you consider anything else. You might accomplish this by requesting that a sample assignment be completed before the one-on-one interview. 7. Always ask the same interview questions in the same order for every prospective candidate. Consider using a weighted scoring system on these questions, then compare candidates objectively based on their scores. 8. Put a diverse hiring team in place. Make sure a wide range of people are represented, including multiple ages, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, personalities, backgrounds and talents. 9. If you choose to work with a recruitment company, partner with one that specializes in diversity recruitment. 10. Commit to fighting explicit bias. This may take the form of new company procedures, training around addressing unacceptable behaviours such as sexual harassment, and a no-tolerance policy for hate speech or discriminatory language. Becoming familiar with our biases might be an uncomfortable process, but it is necessary to create a fairer and more inclusive recruitment process. And when we accomplish that, we start developing workplaces where professionals of all backgrounds can thrive. Join the ICAEW Diversity & Inclusion Community. ICAEW is committed to supporting the diversity agenda, ensuring that the chartered accountancy profession is a truly inclusive one. The community outlines its work in promoting diversity & inclusion, alongside resources and information, to support both individual members and firms wanting to promote diversity within their organisation.
To shine in today’s increasingly data-rich and technology-driven world, you must learn how to harness and make sense of data and what it means for the business. You need to fight the temptation to stick with familiar spreadsheet tools to manipulate data and boldly embrace front-line business intelligence tools and skills - like coding - that will enable you to perform insightful analysis quickly and accurately. Whereas spreadsheets are limited by lack of end-to- end workflow, cost and repeatability, programming languages like R and Python are free, and analysis is repeatable. Languages such as Python and R offer spreadsheet users a gateway to be able to analyse their data programmatically. You may ask why you would look to take the leap into programming as your spreadsheet is working just fine for you. There are loads of reasons as to why you should so I'll enlighten you with a few: How much data can your spreadsheet handle? You can store a lot in a spreadsheet, but you can easily process much bigger datasets if you use a computing language. Can you repeat what you have done? With a computing language you can easily and quickly repeat the calculations that you have already done so you could get your calculations checked by a fellow coder. Can you redo the work you’ve done quickly? Now saving time is a huge plus and that analysis and manipulation of data that took hours can be done again on a new dataset at the click of a button. Do you want to do complex modelling with your data? From linear regression to neural networks computer languages such as Python and R offer libraries to access a variety of complex modelling tools. Do you need some cool graphs? Both R and Python have excellent plotting ability that allow you to create highly customizable and professional looking graphs that move beyond what you can do in a spreadsheet. Whilst programming can seem daunting, even complete novices can pick up the skills needed to analyse data really quickly. A few ways ICAEW can support you to grow your skills in this area: CPD 5 & 6 May Virtual classroom Introduction to Python 8 June 2021 Webinar Python vs. R which one is for me? Qualification Developed in collaboration with Kaplan Financial, the ICAEW Data Analytics Certificate Programme will help you combine your commercial acumen and business knowledge with data analytics expertise. It will equip you to play a pivotal role between data and the business, and provide evidence-based, forward-looking insights and assurance that support decision making. Data Analytics Community Join the Data Analytics Community to access a curated programme of digital learning, use cases, subject matter experts and community resources covering all the essential aspects of data analytics. Membership is free.
The past year has been a time of change, adaptation and reflection, which may have led to a career re-evaluation or a pique in curiosity for other possibilities. There are a few steps we advise taking and questions you should ask yourself. And above all, start writing lists of all your answers and observations. Self-assessment What are you motivations for considering a career change? Be wary of a knee-jerk reaction, you might feel unhappy, but ask yourself, is it with your job or career, or with the situation, eg working from home and dealing with the pressures of the last year? What are you looking for? You might know you want change and feel confident in your reasons for doing so but answering the question ‘what do I want’ isn’t often easy. This needs some research and self-evaluation, as well as honesty and willingness to work towards a new plan. Are you mentally prepared for two life-altering events at the same time? Taking care of our mental health has become paramount amid the pandemic, so be sure you’re capable of making such a big career alteration at the same time. Ask yourself: Is now really the right time? What are your reasons for making a career change? Are you ready to tackle the challenges of a job hunt and starting a new job? Will a change be worth it, given the challenges? Evaluate the professional you Again, ask yourself more questions and build up a picture of your current professional persona, the one you want to become and the one you might need to become to get to where you want to go. What are your hard and soft (transferable) skills? Soft skills: communication, leadership, problem solving, empathy, among many others. Hard skills: the skills you’ve gained in your education and training. Will they be useful in your desired career path? Read our presenting transferable skills in your CV What skills do you want and need? What are employers looking for? Here are eight skills that improve employability: 1. Initiative 2. Commercial acumen 3. Professionalism 4. Innovation 5. Project management 6. Communication and presentation 7. Teamwork 8. Networking Look at where you want to go: What skills are in demand? Technological advancement is causing finance and accounting roles to evolve rapidly, leading to the demand for new skills. Do you have them? How can you get them? Read our digital skills gap and why analytics skills are in demand. Also, what would you like to learn? What skills and activities make you happy? What are your biggest career successes to date? These can be as simple as compliments from colleagues or skills you’ve gained off your own back, all the way to successfully lead projects, promotions or major positive changes you brought to previous organisations. This can help you understand what you’re good at and what you enjoyed doing. Do you have a dream job or sector? Make list of jobs you think you’d love and/or excel at. Also think about situations you’d like to work in or types of company or sector. What are your core values? These should reflect the core of who you are, what you stand for and what can’t be broken. These can include work-life balance, honesty, customer-led, being charitable, and so on. What things are off the table? What things don’t you want to negotiate? These could include flexible working, financial and job security, a clear career growth path and training. Career path research If you’re super clear on the job you want, then the battle is half won. Work out the skills needed, the network to grow, any additional education and plan a path to change. If you’re unsure of a specific role, take the above evaluation and begin researching the job marketplace to find paths that suit you or that pique your interest. Go to job boards, research roles and job titles, make comparisons of roles between industries. It could be that financial analysis would be a perfect fit you, but only in certain sectors that you’re interested in. Learn about the different responsibilities and tasks and honestly judge whether you have the skills needed or whether you could gain them sufficiently to be competitive. It really depends on how big a career change you’re making. If you want to make a change, for example, from audit to tax, or bookkeeping to governance, how can you do this? Are there any opportunities to learn in your current company? Can you shadow people? Are there further courses you need to study? Again, keep a list of job titles that interest you and the skills they require, so you can map them more easily to the skills you have and to see what you need. Make a shortlist Take all your lists, cross reference and start to make a shortlist of roles that 1) you like and 2) you have a skillset for. Is there a sweat spot of roles that tick both of these boxes? If not, which are closest in terms of fit? Can you see a way forward to bridging the gap? Such questions are very subjective as everyone’s situation will be different and will depend on personal responsibilities, resources, and available time. If you’re looking for a new role, ICAEW Jobs have new roles posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear. Get searching and good luck!
In this article, David Clark, Operations Director at recruitment experts Headstar, shares how hiring managers approach a pile of CVs and urges you to make sure your CV is the one that stands out from the crowd. Throughout my career I have always felt for candidates trying to navigate their way through all the conflicting advice out there on how to write a CV. ‘Write a skills-based CV rather than a chronological one’ ‘Don’t bother listing your responsibilities – achievements are what people really want to see’ ‘Make your CV as broad as possible so it appeals to lots of different jobs’ These are just a few of the terrible tips I have heard over the years. Usually given out by inexperienced recruiters or mentors – both with well-meaning intentions. The only opinion that really matters however is the hiring managers for the job you are applying to. I could write a book on how to construct a CV but, in this article, I will start by shedding some light on the mindset the vast majority of those hiring staff have. Understanding the reality of their situation and what a successful hire means to them gives any job seeker a helpful steer on how to present themselves. Line managers are extremely busy and that is without being one person down in their team. They do not have the time to read CVs properly, they scan them at best and that is because they’ll have a pile of them to go through alongside their day job. It is worth remembering that to a hiring manager, finding the right person could mean anything from getting a promotion, not taking the laptop on a holiday or spending more time with the kids. When reviewing CVs, they are not thinking ‘COULD my job be within this candidate’s potential?’ because if they did, they would end up interviewing the whole pile – so no bedtime stories this month. Instead, they’re thinking ‘was this candidate BUILT for my job?’ That is the CV which makes them feel like their own lives might get a little easier over the next few months. Your audience has a very low attention span, multiple distractions and time pressure. Their primary motivations, quite rightly, are personal. So, one of the most important guiding principles I can offer is to make your relevance to the job impossible to miss and it all starts with your first sentence. Business owners will call me and say something along the lines of ‘Dave I need an FC with retail experience, ideally qualified, practice trained would be great. And someone who knows what it’s like to support a business owner – that’s essential.’ That is the kind of language they use. That is the person they’re looking out for. So why not mirror that language in your first sentence (the one they are most likely to read) to broadcast your relevance in the clearest way possible? ‘Practice trained ACA qualified Financial Controller with 10 years’ experience in owner managed SMEs in FMCG & Retail. One line and you’ve captured their attention as a relevant candidate – you are half-way to the yes pile already. It does not require any in depth analysis or thorough enquiry which would result in the reader quickly moving onto the next CV as the short, sharp text from their spouse pings on their phone asking if they are actually coming home this evening. It is a brutally efficient, clearly stated, fact-based summary of you in commoditised form and it works. A lot of you will be thinking ‘but I’ve worked in lots of different businesses doing different things and I don’t want to close off any opportunities in new industries.’ I regularly receive CVs which start with ‘Senior Finance Professional with a range of commercial skills in various industries.’ Speak to anyone in marketing and they will tell you that instead of speaking to everyone, the truth is that by not being specific, you won’t stand out to anyone. Think of any car advert you have ever seen – none are pitched generically as vehicles able to get anyone from a to b. They are pitched to specific groups of people wanting specific features. So, it’s time to decide whether you’re an all-terrain 4x4 or a nippy inner-city compact and gear everything you write to that audience. This will involve re-jigging your CV to every role you apply for but investing your time here will mean more interview requests and surely that is the aim of the game? Ask yourself; have I made my application immediately recognisable as a suitable candidate? Have I mirrored the language in the advert or brief? Have I been specific? Have I been concise? This approach, particularly at the start of your CV, will result in more hiring managers simply thinking ‘I want to meet this person’. If you’re looking for a new role, ICAEW Jobs have new roles are posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear. *The views expressed are the author’s and not ICAEW’s.
Practice recruitment specialist Matthew Lawford of AJ Chambers gives us insight into key considerations for recruiting in the current market. New Workforce The UK workforce is now made up of over 50% of Millennials and Gen-Z’s and they are having a huge impact on ways of working . They are turning traditional expectations on their head and expect more flexibility in their approach. Companies are adapting to this new way of work and it’s a major attraction for many candidates. Whether it’s starting late and finishing early for childcare or working from home, people care more than ever about when and where they can work. While salary and position remain important considerations, employees are increasingly conscious of what company benefits supplement the offer. Job searches also increasingly encompass issues like diversity, sustainability and how tech savvy the hiring company is. Your company branding plays an integral role in communicating your culture and values not only to your clients, but also to prospective employees. Digital Shift There has been an obvious digital shift in recruitment which has the benefit of saving time and money as well as opening up more opportunity. If you effectively use the tools available, you are able to connect with an infinite pool of prospects at the touch of a button. Social media is an integral recruitment tool. Technology has, particularly over the last year, become an essential part of the selection and interview process and in completing the necessary onboarding steps after recruitment. Companies are also considering what systems can be put in place on a more permanent basis to facilitate a more agile approach to working. Staff Development Instead of annual performance reviews businesses are now encouraged to utilise more frequent feedback sessions including regular one to ones. Employees also have an expectation of structured learning and development opportunities and many companies are undertaking additional employee engagement activity to enhance the workplace experience. Further insights into successfully recruiting and retaining the right staff in the current market will be shared at our upcoming Grow your Practice Recruitment event. All member firms can now advertise their fully qualified roles on ICAEW Jobs free of charge. This member only jobs board is a great way to promote your roles exclusively to Chartered Accountants. Pricing and details for members In order to set you up as an employer, can you please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A Management Accountant is a key role within a business, but what is the role and what are they expected to do in it? ICAEW delves deeper in this management accountant guide. What is a Management Accountant? A Management accountant is an important role in any organisation. Working in the accountancy or finance department, management accountants are responsible for the preparation of management accounts and several other reports whilst also overseeing general accounting procedures and practices within the business. A management accountant's role combines financial, analytical and management skills to aid senior management with decision making and promoting long term financial success for a business. What does a Management Accountant do? A Management accountant works within a business to prepare and present financial reports to senior management teams in order to give an insight into business performance. The reports are used to aid with business strategy and also in decision making within the business, to ensure growth and profitability. Key Management Accountant Responsibilities The primary responsibilities of a management accountant vary, but mostly include: Preparing monthly management accounts and other financial reports such as budgets. Presenting reports to senior management to aid with business decision making. Compiling strategies that will reduce business costs. Obtaining finance for projects. Advising on the financial implications of business decisions. Developing and overseeing financial systems and procedures and identifying opportunities to improve these. Controlling income and expenditure within the business and ensuring that expenditure is inline with budgets. Overseeing accounting technicians and support with generic accountancy tasks. Communicating with all levels within the organisation and being able to present financial information to non - finance members of staff. Analysing and managing risk within the business. Importance of a Management Accountant Management accountants play a highly important role within an organisation. Key financial data and reports produced by management accountants are used by senior management to make informed business decisions. The analysis of business performance is a vital role in a management accountant's job, this analysis is produced by looking at current financial information and also non - financial data to determine the position of the business. This information is then used by senior management to make short term decisions and also to develop strategies for the long term growth and development of the business that ensure stability and profitability. Skills Required for the Job Management accountants are expected to have excellent analytical and numerical skills whilst maintaining a strong attention to detail. A solid foundation of basic accountancy skills is also required for this role including an understanding of the generally accepted accounting principles. An understanding of business is also important for management accountants along with the ability to communicate effectively at all levels to advise and liaise with senior members of staff. The duties of a management accountant should be carried out with a high degree of organisational and strategic thinking skills. Career Opportunities for a Management Accountant Any business organisation with a financial department will require a management accountant, they are also frequently employed by financial institutions. With experience, a management accountant can expect solid career progression. Professionals with the required qualifications and experience can go on to become financial controllers, finance directors or chief financial officers. Competencies of a Management Accountant There are high-level competencies required for the management accountant role: Data, Digital and technology Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate tools and technologies. Applies technologies to visualise data effectively and clearly. Applies ethical judgement and scepticism to the use of data and data technology. Financial Management Monitors developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the current economic climate and suggests the improvements needed in the financial and risk management of a business. Advises on current business asset valuations, capital projects and investments through the right analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques. Can see, evaluate and advise on alternate sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance. Communicates and advises what impact financial decision making is having on developments in regulation, ethics and governance. Assesses and advises on the right strategies to manage business and organisational performance in relation to business and finance risk while communicating the impact effectively. Governance, Risk and Control Evaluates all internal structures and governance to protect the interests of stakeholders in the long term. Recommends the right strategies to ensure the organisation adheres to governance structures and applies best practice internal controls. Highlights and manages risk appropriately. Makes use of risk management strategies with the best interests of the company and its stakeholders in mind. Monitors and applies legislation, policies, and procedures relevant to the organisation. Management Accounting Uses development and performance management across the wider business and technological environment, as part of the strategic planning and implementation. Directs performance in the company through selecting and measuring financial and non-financial performance indicators. Collaborates on all tactical and organisational areas involved with budgeting, control, capital investments, resource management and people. Consults on design and use of the latest technology and information systems to evolve decision making and organisational performance. Stakeholder Relationship Management Develops positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholders. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations. Strategy and Innovation Use business and commercial acumen awareness to deliver business objectives. Can suggest appropriate strategic options where sustainable plans and objectives can be developed. Evaluates, justifies, and puts strategic options in place. Uses various innovative methods to implement strategy and manage change. If you’re looking for a new role, ICAEW Jobs have the latest management accountant jobs which you can apply for online. New roles are posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear.
Transferable accounting skills are a set of skills that can be utilised in a variety of careers. Whether you are looking to progress your career into the accounting world, or looking to break into the industry as a newcomer. There are many instances where you may need to demonstrate particular skills that might not be apparent from your career history. This can be especially so early on in your career or if you are looking to transition from one career to another. If you see a job you like the look of, know that you can do this but have some concern that your experience may not naturally show the required skills, it may be time to consider how to present your transferable skills. How do you find what skills are required for a job? The skills or competencies that your CV will be assessed against will usually be contained within the person specification for the role you are applying for. Every job advertised should have an accompanying job description and person specification. It’s the second part of this, the person specification that we are interested in. This will detail the skills and expertise that an employer is looking for. Gather together two or three example person specifications. Highlight words and phrases that appear numerous times to give you an idea of common key words and phrases. Rather than looking for specific work experience, some organisations recruit predominantly using a key skills or key competencies approach. This is especially so for organisations that are open to work experience from a broad and varied background. You will be given a specific list of skills in this case to focus on so no further research may be required. Hard skills and soft skills Skills are usually divided in to hard and soft. Soft skills are common across all industries such as ‘communication’ or ‘organisational’ skills. Hard skills tend to be more focused and can be specific industry skills like ‘financial reporting’ within accountancy or technology focused such as ‘Sage’ or ‘SAP’. You can choose either hard, soft or a mix of both in your CV. Always be guided by the person specification as to which skills to choose. How to present your skills Choose around four skills as individual subheadings in your ‘key skills’ section. Write a sentence on how you utilise the skill and what it means to you. Importantly, give a couple of examples of how, where and when you have demonstrated the skill. Giving specific examples is important and focus on the outcomes. It is always the results that are more important than the action. Use facts and figures to highlight both the scale and scope and outcomes of your examples. You can use examples from any work, education or other experience to demonstrate transferable skills. They don’t necessarily have to come from similar work to that which you are applying for. Tailor your skills for each application Examples of transferable skills for accountants: Critical Thinking Often an accountant needs to gather, analyse and interpret financial data which requires you to evaluate information as well as understand its implications. The ability to look at data from more than one side of the coin is advantageous, not just for accountants but for a wide range of jobs and industries. It can be applied in many ways, with critical thinking is an in-demand skill. Work Ethic This one may seem obvious, but having a strong worth ethic is required in many roles and positions. Included in work ethic is time management, respect for company policy and showing initiative. Organisational Skills A skill that accountants, in particular, require when they juggle several projects at once making sure that their attention to detail is consistent across the board. Time management, in particular with the ability to adjust workflow priorities. Attention to Detail Having close attention to detail and a critical eye is imperative to the accountancy industry. Communication The main role of an accountant is to analyse large amounts of data and then provide that information into a format which is organised, uniform and easy to understand for non-accountants inside the business and out. Language skills are included in this skill set. Digital Skills Knowing the basic functions and more advanced tools that various digital products provide is a transferable skill that is valuable on your CV. Adaptability Being able to adapt in any situation means that you are likely to learn and grow in your career, facing each new challenge as an opportunity rather than a blocker. Along with adaptability, being proactive is yet another transferable skill that many employers find particularly interesting. Transparency Being honest and transparent in your work is a transferable skill especially for the accountancy industry. Leadership Being able to mentor, teach, and be an approachable and friendly face for people that you’re responsible for are all skills that are welcomed into any workplace environment. Leadership skills include the strategic thinking and planning that is required in accountancy in general. Being able to offer advice with confidence and certainty as well as providing well thought out solutions to any problems that arise. Writing Skills Having the skills to communicate findings and information clearly and concisely is an exceptional skill to have. The ICAEW Academy of Professonal Development can help you hone your skills. https://www.icaew.com/learning-and-development/academy/virtual-learningy/virtual-learning can help you New roles are posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries on ICAEW Jobs. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear.
Being a finance analyst is an important role within a business, but what is the role and what are they expected to do in it? ICAEW delves deeper in this financial Analyst guide. What is a Financial Analyst? A financial Analyst is a vital and senior role in the accounting or finance department of a business. Usually reporting to senior management, the financial analyst has responsibility of providing financial analysis and reporting. These reports are used to make business, industry and sector recommendations and also aid with the long term financial planning of a business. What does a Financial Analyst do? A financial analyst is responsible for financial reporting within a business. To do this they will research microeconomic and macroeconomic conditions along with company information, analyse the data and form reports. These reports can then be used to make strategic business recommendations, forecasts and projections, generate excel models or be presented to senior management. A Financial Analyst will also be able to determine a company's performance by establishing financial benchmarks. They will compare historical performance to present data and current results in order to forecast future performance and identify any areas of weakness that can be improved upon. They will also create models using competitor and industry analysis information. These models can be used to illustrate impacts on the business from certain industry trends or market movements. Key Financial Analyst Responsibilities There are many different roles a financial analyst will undertake, some of these being: Analysing financial data and performing financial forecasting - Reported to senior management to aid strategic decision making. Support planning and forecasting by creating financial models. Providing analysis of trends and forecasts and recommending actions to improve business performance. Evaluating financial performance by analysing historic data and comparing it to current results and industry trends to come up with recommendations for improvement. Performing market research, extracting data and industry information. Ensuring you have correct and up to date knowledge of financial practices, trends and market conditions. Creating generic and ad hoc reports. Liaising with the accounting team to ensure accurate financial reporting. Skills Required for the Job Financial Analysts are expected to have incredible analytical, numerical and modelling skills and must be able to work to tight deadlines. An FA should have strong personal and communication skills alongside confident leadership and management skills as they progress in their career. They should also show a strong business acumen, and the ability to influence people at all levels. Career Opportunities for a Financial Analyst A finance analyst is a key role in any business. As a finance analyst, you may choose to work in the securities industry analysing stocks, bonds and other securities for banks, money management firms or brokerages. You may however choose to work internally for an organisation and work to analyse financial data from the business, create predictions for revenue and expenditure, set budgets and suggest recommendations to senior management. In terms of progression, when a senior level is reached you can often move into a supervisory role. In the securities industry, this would mean progressing to become a portfolio manager or a funds manager. In the corporate sector, finance analysts can become treasury managers and work supervising others in the department. A hard working analyst could also rise through the ranks to become a chief financial officer or a chief investment officer and be responsible for all of the company's financial activity. Competencies of a Financial Analyst There are high-level competencies required for the financial analyst role: Advisory and consultancy Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans. Corporate and Business Reporting Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks. Data, Digital and technology Identifies strategic options to add value, using data and technology. Analyses and evaluates data using appropriate technologies and tools. Applies technologies to visualise data clearly and effectively. Applies scepticism and ethical judgement to the use of data and data technology. Financial Management Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact. Management Accounting l Applies development and performance management, in the wider business and technological environment, within the context of strategic planning and implementation. Directs organisational performance through the selection and measurement of financial and non-financial performance indicators. Collaborates on the key tactical and organisational areas of budgeting and control, capital investments, people and resource management. Consults on the design and use of current and emerging technology and information systems to improve strategic decision-making and organisational performance. Strategy and Innovation Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change. If you’re looking for a new role, ICAEW Jobs have the latest financial analyst jobs which you can apply for online. New roles are posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear.
Any organisation run by the government and funded by tax-payers’ money can be classified as public sector. Many ICAEW members work in or with the public sector to deliver public priorities and strong public finances. ICAEW acts in the public interest to support strong financial leadership and better financial management across the public sector – featuring transparency, accountability, governance and ethics – to ensure that public money is spent wisely and that public finances are sustainable. Accountants are among the world’s most sought after professionals. In fact, accounting and finance ranks seventh on the list of roles that are hardest to fill globally, according to a survey by recruiter ManpowerGroup. Meanwhile, rapid societal and technological change is transforming both the employment landscape and what individuals expect from jobs, threatening to further exacerbate the talent shortage. In many parts of the world, public sector employers are simply unable to pay salaries that compete with those on offer in the private sector. What, then, is the public sector pulling power? Unmatched influence In the public sector finance professionals have a far-reaching social impact that cannot easily be replicated in the private sector. Finance professionals play a crucial role in delivering public services and ensuring that taxpayers’ money is used effectively. They need to have the same analytical and strategic skills as their private sector peers. The right mindset It is mindset, rather than technical expertise, which is probably the principal differentiator between finance professionals in public service and those who work in the private sector. In the private sector, you have the responsibility of helping the corporation to reach its goals and provide shareholders with the maximum return on their investment. In public finance, you have to deal with an entire country’s budget, and you are impacting the lives of many more people. You’re not just looking at shareholders’ returns. Another important difference is that public sector accountants often have to accommodate and manage the expectations of a very wide range of stakeholders. This requires an ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. Complex challenges Today public sector bodies around the world are navigating widespread technological disruption alongside a range of other challenges. These include severe budgetary constraints, extreme weather events arising from climate change, and demographic developments such as ageing populations. As a result, public sector finance professionals may have to deal with problems of far greater complexity and magnitude than those in the private sector. It is for this reason that public sector finance professionals need to be innovative. One example of how public sector finance professionals are becoming more innovative is through their use of outcome-based budgeting, by allocating money to the areas of government that achieve the best results and measuring these outcomes to make informed decisions in the future. Recruitment and retention Using the power of impact to attract people to work in the public sector is one thing; retaining them is another. There is always a risk that talented people will leave a public sector role if it doesn’t meet their expectations. The public sector is more likely to attract and retain talent if it offers clear career paths, an excellent working environment and the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. In certain jurisdictions, a further consideration is the security of tenure that a career in public finance can offer. This may compensate for lower pay and make it an appealing proposition for some people. Ultimately, the kind of people who are really suited to joining – and building their careers in – the public sector will not be motivated by money alone. They will be motivated by the desire to make a positive difference to their communities. Be part of the ICAEW Public Sector Community For accountants and finance professionals working in or with the public sector, this Community is the go-to for the key resources and guidance on the issues affecting practitioners like you. With a range of dynamic services, we provide valuable tools, resources and support tailored specifically to your sector. Membership is free and open to everyone, including non-ICAEW members. https://www.icaew.com/groups-and-networks/communities/public-sector
The impact of working remotely or as part of a hybrid team during the pandemic is having an effect on career progression and development. By being remote and by being put into positions now where we are connecting online and effectively spending lots of time remotely, we’re missing all that nuancing, all that non-verbal communication that gives context and depth to our conversations. 15% of our communication is verbal and 85% is body language. And often they’re the ways in which somebody can shine, in which you get spotted and you can really enhance your career. From behind a screen, it’s difficult to show your energy, discuss ideas and standout. Remote working for younger employees will be more difficult by the fact that they’re unable to learn from colleagues without that face-to-face guidance, coaching and mentoring, and it’s impacting generations differently. It is impacting generations differently. Particularly for the younger generations, you learn on the job by watching others through osmosis, by picking it up and running with the ball. And if you’re not around lots of other people in an actual team environment, all under the same roof, a lot of those cues, that learning on the job, absorbing and seeing what other people are doing, is going to be so much harder. So, they are going to potentially miss out. With the reduction in face-to-face visibility, it can understandably be very difficult to prove your value in your role to your team and to the wider organisation. So how can you successfully prove your worth? With a lot of the interaction in remote team working and meetings, you must treat the meetings the same as you would if you were in an organisation and walking into a big boardroom, and you need to go in there prepared, shine and have everything ready. It is about making this new online presence work for you. Arriving on time is important. Take a few minutes before you click on that start button to just settle yourself and bring your attention. Just because you’re all remote doesn’t mean you can’t connect, so take the same time and trouble to greet whoever’s in the room with your full attention as you would, if you were literally physically in the room with them, because people like people who are present and who engage with them. And everybody worries about the impression they’re making and that’s why many people go into meetings and they can’t remember the person’s name because they’re not present at that moment about when that person actually says, “Hello, I’m Helen”, and face to face you’d actually shake their hand. It’s the same. So be present, turn up, settle yourself, and really take time to greet the person there. Obviously, there are things about how you look, but one of the big issues is resisting the urge to multitask. Behave the way you would if you were sat around a board table, you arguably would not be checking your emails as it would not be very career-enhancing. Also multitasking is really draining, it really leads to screen fatigue because you’re having to turn up in a new way. And if you’re then multitasking and not even concentrating on what’s being said, you’re just pulling yourself in so many different directions. Do make the effort to look professional, don’t hide behind your avatar, be present and be visible. How to communicate success and progress on projects to maintain visibility whilst working remotely? How you “turn up” is telling more than anything about who you are and your attitude. Be engaging, bring ideas, don’t be afraid to have your voice. And if you don’t really feel that you’ve got something amazing to add, then questions are the answer. If you’re asking a question that shows you’re engaging, it shows you’re thinking about it, it shows you’re wanting to learn more. So, you don’t have to think that you have to turn up and be able to say something stunningly exciting because you maybe don’t truly understand what’s being discussed or you don’t have that much to add, but you can always help the person leading the meeting or the rest of the team by engaging them and being engaging. And questions are the way forward, and that is a way to shine, asking good questions. Virtual meetings are our primary form of communication at the moment, how is it impacting professional relationships and affecting career development? Leaders and managers need to be very aware of engaging their people in many different ways to bring out the best in them and if you’re somebody going up the career ladder, you need to be asking for all those points of interaction. So along with team meetings, have one-to-one meetings, have smaller groups have breakout meetings because different objectives within the business or within your own career path, aren’t always going to be met in the same way, just as within an organisation, you wouldn’t always go into the boardroom with thirty people to discuss a very specific, small part of a project or a small part of what your career enhancement is. You’d probably have a one-on-one meeting with your line manager or with a peer or with a mentor. Replicate all these good business practices. And it’s a two-way street. If you’re the one who wants to progress, speak up. Ask for a virtual coffee, making it a little less formal, and say,” I really feel that because of our present situation, I’m not really learning through osmosis or learning through being around people. How about we meet for a virtual coffee every other day, and maybe we can just talk about some issues that turn up within the business or how you would tackle things if you’d have been at my stage in my career?”. This might be that time that you’d come away with some gem, that a formal agenda or meeting wouldn’t do. It's about consciously engineering these meetings that maybe we took for granted. So, it’s consciously engineering some of the less formal, more nuanced, learning through osmosis nonverbal communication. It is not missing the nonverbal communication in those moments that give context and depth to everything you learn and all of that is important for career enhancement. How important is strong written verbal communication to succeed when working remotely? For example, is how you communicate via email and instant messaging platforms just as important as verbal communication? It is. What email lacks is the tonality of voice because it’s just words and I’m sure that you have probably sent emails and it’s caused offence for somebody who’s taken it the wrong way, and you absolutely didn’t mean to do that, or you’ve received them. You miss that nuance; you miss that context, and it can be very easy to get offended or to cause offence on emails. So, you must be very careful about not trying to be nuanced in email, or you must literally spell it out. To literally say, “I am really delighted with what we’re doing” – and never used the word ‘but’, it’s a ‘but’ free zone – “and I would just like to drill down a little bit more on the following five points. Why don’t we jump onto a virtual coffee and do that?” So, you can use that communication. Of course, emails are great, you’ve got a record of something and you keep on top of it because it’s written down. How can you go about sharing your career goals with your manager and that you would like to be considered for a promotion? With the playing field going through quite a bit of change, with economies across the world struggling and priorities possibly lying elsewhere for businesses and managers at the moment. You have to be realistic that you might be going to have a conversation with a line manager who has their hands tied at the moment because of all of this uncertainty and difficulty. Go with the grace of saying, “Look, I realise at the moment, this probably isn’t possible or I realise that at the moment we are not in an environment where me being promoted and having a pay rise is even tenable, and I do want to say that when we do return to some normality or when things do change, or even if this becomes our new normal, I’m ready, I’m absolutely raring to go. I feel I have all of this to offer. And I would love to have this conversation again in two to three months’ time. I am going to use that to even add more skills and make myself even more valuable to this organisation. Therefore, I was thinking could I be trained in x or could I be trained in y? Or could I have a virtual coffee with you? Or could I have a virtual coffee with your boss once a month?” It is about showing that you are an asset and you’re valuable, but you do understand the realities of the situation. For many a big part of feeling motivated and engaged at work is the positive reinforcements that you receive throughout the day Absolutely, it’s hard to always be totally self-motivated on your own. Extroverts within an organisation get energy from being around others and can find it quite difficult because they lose that sense of connection. Whereas introverts typically need that time alone to build energy, to face the group situation. And neither preference is right or wrong, it’s just that some of us function in some way, some of us function in another way. Find all those ways to connect that you can, but the most important connection is your connection with yourself. A lot of well-performing people get burnt out because they are very busy being brilliant and connecting with everything, everybody and turning up, but there’s nothing left within them. Every day, more than ever, particularly because of the potentially draining nature of being in front of a screen or in online meetings repeatedly, connect with yourself. Ask, what makes me feel good about me? How do I fill up from the inside out? How do I nurture myself? How important is it to upskill to demonstrate your willingness to learn Using this lockdown time to learn and upskill, is a mindset. If you’re not commuting don’t just switch your commute for more work, use that time to work on you, to up-skill you. The skills that are going to take you to where you want to go. Now that might be within your organisation, or it might not be, it might be external to your organisation - always think about is what are my transferable skills. Again, this depends on your ultimate career path, your goals, and maybe the way your organisation treats you. Treat it as your trajectory and an opportunity. The other side of what seems to be difficult is what is my opportunity? Now is a crucial time to be building your personal brand too to maintain visibility. You must have consistency about who you are because you are your brand. It’s not just about how you look, be consistent and be professional. Dress, behave and look the way that you would like to be, maybe the level above where you are now. Keep your word about the little things and the big things. So, if you say you’re going to do something, do it absolutely before and ahead of time, or decline and explain why not. Turn up early, always let people know you’re the reliable one, be consistent in what you say and do. That is important, that creates a brand.
A financial controller is an important role within a business, but what is the role and what are they expected to do in it? ICAEW delves deeper in this financial controller guide. What is a Financial Controller? The financial controller (FC) is a vital and senior role in the accounting or finance department. Usually reporting to a finance director or chief financial officer, the financial controller has responsibility for the accounting operations of a business. What does a Financial Controller do? A financial controller oversees all accounting functions in a business. They make sure that all accounting records are appropriately kept and that every reported result complies with accounting standards and legislation. Part of their duties includes coordinating and managing the preparation of budget and financial forecasts, preparing monthly statements and other regular financial reports. It’s also a role where you must ensure your finance team operates with a robust control environment and being the go-to contact for all external auditors. As a senior role, FCs contribute to the financial strategy of a business and will be pivotal in the development of all internal control policies and procedures in the company. It’s possible that they may have responsibility for financial risk management and are expected to work alongside other senior leadership team members to create risk minimisation plans. They contribute to ensuring all financial systems are fit for purpose, are maintained, and can spot any potential areas for improvement. Key Financial Controller Responsibilities The primary responsibilities of a financial controller vary, but mostly include: Managing all day to day accounting operations - this usually includes Billing, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, General Ledger and Counsel, Cost Accounting, Inventory Accounting and Revenue Recognition. Coordinating the preparation of budget and financial forecasting and reporting any variances. Preparing and publishing all monthly financial statements. Creating reports (annual and monthly) which identifies results, trends and forecasts. Ensuring all transactions are recorded, filed and reported properly. Making sure reporting meets compliant standards with statutory law and financial regulations. Documenting business processes and accounting policies to maintain internal controls. Streamlining and improving all operations and accounting systems. Coordinating the management of cash flow, debt and debt collection. Supervising and managing financial department staff Overseeing the audit process and liaising with external personnel where required. Support the business with the financial strategy and decision-making processes Helping the CFO in presenting reports to board members, senior executives, and board members. Importance of a Financial Controller Financial controllers play a pivotal role in keeping a company’s financial reporting, financial planning, debt financing and budget management organised. They are one of the most important staff members in a business, as their skills allow the CFO and finance directors to focus on taking the business further. The FC also controls most of the reporting and financial optimisation of the company. Skills Required for the Job Financial controllers are expected to have incredible analytical, numerical and problem-solving skills and must be able to work to tight deadlines. An FC should have strong personal and communication skills alongside confident leadership and management skills. They should also show a strong business acumen, and the ability to influence people at all levels. Career Opportunities for a Financial Controller The financial controller position is a vital one within a company, no matter the sector or jurisdiction. Progression for an FC usually leads to becoming a finance director, chief financial officer (CFO) or even a chief executive officer (CEO), if they demonstrate good commercial awareness. Competencies of a Financial Controller There are high-level competencies required for the financial controller role: Audit and Assurance Must advise on and communicate effectively the role and scope of all audit and assurance engagements to stakeholders. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards in relation to audit and assurance engagements. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements. Performs audit and assurance engagements. Reviews and reports back on the findings of audit and assurance engagements. Guiding Operations Corporate and Business Reporting Prepares financial statements, corporate financial, and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology. Leads decision making by analysing, evaluating and communicating financial performance and positions of entities. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate accounting software. Monitors, evaluates and advises on accounting standards regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks. Financial Management Monitors developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the current economic climate and suggests the improvements needed in the financial and risk management of a business. Advises on current business asset valuations, capital projects and investments through the right analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques. Can see, evaluate and advise on alternate sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance. Communicates and advises what impact financial decision making is having on developments in regulation, ethics and governance. Assesses and advises on the right strategies to manage business and organisational performance in relation to business and finance risk while communicating the impact effectively. Governance, Risk and Control Evaluates all internal structures and governance to protect the interests of stakeholders in the long term. Recommends the right strategies to ensure the organisation adheres to governance structures and applies best practice internal controls. Highlights and manages risk appropriately. Makes use of risk management strategies with the best interests of the company and its stakeholders in mind. Monitors and applies legislation, policies, and procedures relevant to the organisation. Leadership and Management Applies the right leadership strategies to deliver business objectives. Manages and motivates people to optimise performance and effectiveness. Collaborates and supports the company to achieve the latest objectives for an organisation, while using the appropriate digital resources. Is proactive and strategic in anticipating organisational needs while recognising the wider business environment. Management Accounting Uses development and performance management across the wider business and technological environment, as part of the strategic planning and implementation. Directs performance in the company through selecting and measuring financial and non-financial performance indicators. Collaborates on all tactical and organisational areas involved with budgeting, control, capital investments, resource management and people. Consults on design and use of the latest technology and information systems to evolve decision making and organisational performance. Strategy and Innovation Use business and commercial acumen awareness to deliver business objectives. Can suggest appropriate strategic options where sustainable plans and objectives can be developed. Evaluates, justifies, and puts strategic options in place. Uses various innovative methods to implement strategy and manage change. If you’re looking for a new role, ICAEW Jobs have the latest financial controller jobs which you can apply for online. New roles are posted every day from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear.