What an accountant does for a living must preferably be in alignment with their professional identity. When they identify themselves differently from what they do for a living, it results in undesirable emotions such as anger, frustration to pop up more often, which is toxic and affects their careers and employers.
How a professional identity is linked to who an Accountant can be in business?
There are five common identities in accountants, and these define who an accountant can be in business. How these identities influence an accountant boils down to which identity they believe is dominant in them.
The identities are as follows.
1. The traditional accountant enjoys numbers, recording and reporting. They are usually perceived as the people who wear thick glasses and are efficient at what they do. Their conversation usually starts and ends with a "deadline or budget". They command respect due to their understanding of the business from an accounting perspective.
2. The Operational accountant enjoys being in charge and heading all business functions. Often perceived as the second in charge to the CEO. When the finance function is their main responsibility, they tend to delegate the finance function because their preference is to manage the business's operations.
3. The entrepreneur accountant is fascinated in creating the numbers to be recorded. They want to build something new and build a business. Their peers marvel at them because they take risks that a normal accountant would not.
4. The intrapreneur accountant uses data recorded and reported to create new opportunities for the organisation. They can analyse numbers, suggest solutions, and implement strategic plans to grow the revenue of a business.
5. The investigator accountant wants to investigate anything and everything. Every financial document is guilty until proven innocent. They perceived as a financial policeman and instil financial discipline in an organisation.
How can Accountants identify their dominant professional identity?
1. The first step is self-introspection. As human beings, we have a sixth sense that guides us on decisions and points us to what we really want in a career.
2. Taking up new employment opportunities or request new responsibilities at their current employer. Getting out of their comfort zone (what one does for a living) will assist them in learning a new skill set and more about themselves. The more knowledge they have of themselves and what they enjoy will inevitably aid in identifying what their dominant trait is.
3. Get Coaching. Professional coaching is vital, especially when the individual is unsure of who they are and what they want to achieve in their career. Coaching yields desired results if the trainee is committed to the coaching process and the coach they are working with is competent.
What Accountants can do if they realise their dominant professional identity and what they are doing for a living is a mismatch?
1. Having a conversation with their current employer to discuss new responsibilities and roles aligned to the trait they identify within themselves. The Option to request new opportunities within an organisation requires the individual to be performing well at their current post. A Shona proverb states that hands work together to wash. In this context, for an employer to come to the party regarding an accountant’s career, the accountant must be excelling on their immediate job.
2. Start working on the CV and get a new job; a professional accountant must be in a suitable workspace for them to excel. At times, the individual’s job role aligns with who they are; however, intangibles in their work environment could cause dissatisfaction and lead them to believe their job misaligns with their professional dominant attribute.
3. Reinvent Yourself. If the individual has a conversation with their current employer about new opportunities, attempts to get another job, and everything fails. They should consider reinventing themselves in their current role. Reinvesting oneself is not necessarily ignoring those characteristics that define who that individual is but is finding ways to work with what they have to produce what they want.
How is Quick Consols helping its clients (Accountants) deal with this Conundrum
At Quick Consols, our goal is to eliminate laborious manual financial reporting processes using automation. Group consolidations, automated calculations of NCI and FCTR, comprehensive financial reporting statutory financial statements is our bread and butter. Doing what we do best at Quick Consols saves time, which is the most precious asset an individual requires to think through anything important. Therefore, with less time spent in manual work, an accountant can take time out with a coach, have self-introspection and reflect on who they really are.