Feeling a little aloof from your work? Having a hard time pumping yourself up to head to the office? Try these tips to start feeling a bit more fulfilled in your accounting job.
Let’s be honest: inputting numbers and analyzing transactional data can wear on you over time. Though it depends heavily on where you’re at in your career as well as the culture of the company you’re working for, the kind of work you typically perform in an accounting job can start to feel a bit rote or mechanical, once you’ve done it for the billionth time. Maybe you feel like your ninja-like Excel skills aren’t being put to good use. Or maybe you’re a natural-born leader, and you feel like you haven’t had a chance yet to flex your leadership muscles. At that point, it’s all-too easy to go into autopilot and just cruise along in your job, doing enough to get by – but not enough to get ahead.
Disengagement from your accounting job, however, can be poison for your career growth and mobility. If you don’t find yourself fulfilled by what you do, you can expect your motivation and morale to sag; productivity and ambition are usually the next things to take a hit.
To avoid this, it’s important to find ways to make your accounting job, or your future accounting jobs, as fulfilling as they can be. Fortunately enough, there’s plenty you can do to ensure that this is the case.
Take ownership of your role and actively improve it
No matter what your accounting job is or where you figure on your company’s organizational chart, taking some ownership of your role can make all the difference in the world in terms of helping you find fulfillment in your work.
Ownership, in this sense, means putting your own unique and personal stamp on the position. It means going beyond the bare minimum – what’s written in your job description. And in accounting, there is always room to improve processes and make them more efficient.
Bring a critical eye to how things are done where you work, and look for ways to help the company do better. Bringing your own individual personality, experience, and energy into reengineering systems is a surefire way to leave the office each day feeling fulfilled.
Disengagement from your accounting job, however, can be poison for your career growth and mobility.
Look for an organization on an upward trajectory
It’s a harsh reality of the business world: growing companies tend to offer their staff the most interesting, challenging, and fulfilling opportunities. A business that’s on an upward swing is far more likely to provide an environment where professional development, mentorship, risk-taking, and individual growth can occur.
A company that’s struggling, on the other hand, will often have little time or resources to put towards staff development or learning. Much of your energy will be devoted to maintenance or damage control. If you feel like your efforts on behalf of the company are only helping it to keep its head above water, it might be time for you to look for another opportunity – one that’s more conducive to your professional growth and advancement.
As with every rule, there are exceptions, of course. Even struggling firms can present career opportunities: when an organization is experiencing a downward turn, you can learn a lot about company restructuring. If you’re able to avoid ending up a casualty, there may be an opening for you to reposition yourself, enlarge your responsibilities, and the like; most such companies, after all, are looking to do more with less.
Find a manager who can be a strong mentor
There’s nothing like having a boss who takes pride and enjoyment in mentoring their staff and provides employees with opportunities for professional nurturing and development. Working for a supervisor who’s looking out for you is sure to make you feel challenged, excited and, ultimately, fulfilled.
On the other hand, a manager who leaves you to your own devices or pays attention to you only to give a directive or reprimand, however, will make you feel stunted, bored, or inadequate. Bosses who bully their staff aren’t just bad for business; they’re kryptonite for employee morale and productivity.
…growing companies tend to offer their staff the most interesting, challenging, and fulfilling opportunities.
Talk to your manager about the possibilities of them taking you under their wing professionally. If your boss is not quite mentor material in your eyes, look around your organization for a more suitable candidate, and explore the possibilities of transferring to their team, office, or branch.
Offer to take on more work and responsibilities
People tend to feel most fulfilled by their work when they have some degree of control over it. Most of us flourish when we’re given the space and latitude to craft a product or revamp a system without being micromanaged as regards every detail or having someone breathing down our necks.
The amount of input you’ll be allowed to have in your work will, of course, depend as much on your manager, as well as on your company’s corporate culture, as it will on your role. Some people and places will be more amenable to offering staff the autonomy to shape how things are done – which includes the freedom to make mistakes – and to inject their own creativity into projects; others will prefer to keep a tighter rein on their employees.
One way to try to have a bit more say in your work is to offer to take on more of it. See if there are opportunities at your company for you to take more of a leading or direct role in your work. For example, volunteer to bottom-line tasks and projects; some supervisors will be keener to give you leeway if you’re willing to take on the burden of the work and attach your signature (and reputation) to it. And frankly, the best managers will be looking to delegate their authority.
Your accounting job is only as uninteresting or unfulfilling as you’re willing to let it be. Regardless of the nature of the work you’re doing, you can always make it more meaningful by taking real ownership over it and doing all you can to leave your mark. As Brian Trnkus, CPA/CA, Vice President of Finance at IAMGOLD Corp, put it when we spoke to him recently, ask yourself: “In what ways do I want to have improved my role? How will I leave it better for the next person?”
How have you been able to make your work more fulfilling and meaningful? What strategies have helped you overcome possible tedium or disinterest and reengaged you? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!