Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Are You a Leader? Honing The Skills that You Need to Succeed in Accounting

Are You a Leader? Honing The Skills that You Need to Succeed in Accounting

Accountants aren’t generally thought of as natural leaders, but Lewis Daidone argues that strong leadership skills are essential to a successful accounting career.

What makes a great leader? Opinions differ—many believe charisma or charm is crucial to leadership; others think confidence and authenticity are the most important qualities. Whichever components ultimately form the building blocks of your particular leadership style, it is incredibly important to communicate, in words and actions, your ability to effectively lead, manage and take control whenever the situation demands it. Here are three ways you can convince your audience, interviewers, and team members that you have the skills to provide firm and valuable direction, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Look the Part

Whether it’s fair or not, humans are heavily influenced by perception. The way you carry yourself when you enter a room can convince an audience of your capabilities, even if you haven’t said a word. While having a clean and professional appearance is important, the way you walk, gesture, and make eye contact can positively or negatively influence those around you. If you aren’t confident in your ability to present yourself or command a room, it could be helpful to spend a session with a career coach.

Speak with Confidence

Have you heard yourself speak? If not, have a friend record you the next time you have a conversation so you can listen to the way you communicate. Is your voice tentative? Do you pepper your phrases with “like”, “ummm”, and “kind of”? These are little tics that diminish the authority of your message, and tell the listener that you aren’t entirely confident of the message that you are trying to convey.

Write with Style

When you communicate through email or text message, craft your words carefully. This is especially important for accountants when they have to communicate concepts that might be unfamiliar to clients or colleagues in different parts of the organization. Make sure your written communications are easily understood, concise, and to the point.

While leadership comes naturally to some people, with some practice and a little effort most people can improve their leadership skills and their opportunities for promotion and advancement.

Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to tech companies and financial services firms.

Afraid of Failure? Don’t Be

Afraid of Failure? Don’t Be.

In the following article, Lewis Daidone discusses the value of making (and learning from) the occasional mistake.

When we’re new to a job, we very often live in fear that we’ll mess up something important. It’s natural. Even though no one could reasonably expect a novice to handle everything with total ease and 100 % accuracy, we still expect ourselves to perform to absolute perfection. Here are a few things to remember if you’re wracked with anxiety over the possibility of making a mistake.

No risk, no reward.

It’s a cliché, but it’s nonetheless true. If you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself in a position to succeed, your career will never develop and blossom. Remember: the most successful people didn’t achieve success because they never experienced failure; they just didn’t let failure get in their way. They owned their mistake, learned from it and then never made that same mistake again.

Fix, don’t fixate.

Dwelling on a mistake only makes you reluctant to try again. Try to reframe your approach to dealing with failures. Don’t let the embarrassment become the primary focus, shift your energy towards what actually went wrong, and address it directly. Also, don’t forget that you’ve undoubtedly learned something new during the process, which will benefit you in the long run.

Take the high road.

As soon as you realize that you made a mistake immediately bring it up to your supervisor. Timing is everything and waiting and hoping that your error may go undetected is not a viable, or ethical, solution. Then own it. Resist the urge to absolve yourself of responsibility or make excuses. It not only inhibits your ability to learn from the process, it can diminish you in the eyes of your team members and supervisors. If you own up to your mistake and eagerly move forward, it proves that you are the kind of person who can be trusted.

Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to tech companies and financial services firms.