Accountant to Business Partner

The fast paced world of accounting and finance demands specific soft and hard skills for success.  Juggle competing priorities?  No problem.  Hit deadlines, while maintaining high levels of accuracy and detail?  You got it.  But there is a point when the nuts and bolts of day to day accounting transform into something different. It’s at this point when the bigger picture enters into consideration and the average accountant becomes a business partner.

We know that the debits and credits form the foundation of a strong financial house.  We also know that understanding how each area of the business impacts the other can lead to great strategic vision.  In this blog, Rebecca Skvorc, VP Finance at Wave HQ, talks about the road she took to becoming a business partner and the lessons she learned along the way.

What is the difference between an accountant and a business partner?
To me the average accountant is looking backwards at what has happened.  There’s certainly value in that.  The business partner, on the other hand, looks forward. They still have strong technical acumen, but they’re more likely to help you figure out what is going to happen and whether or not it should happen.  They’ll determine the ROI on your investment and whether or not your vision is aligned with your business model and if it will be profitable.

When do people evolve or develop their business partnering skills?
I’ve struggled to find people who can easily transition from one to the other.  People who are naturally interested in the number crunching part of the business may struggle to transition to business partnering, as it’s not really part of their DNA.  The shift can be challenging.  Sometimes mentoring gets them there, but sometimes the skills just aren’t present.

What are the key traits of business partners?
I find that being a business partner is about being a self-starter.  It’s about understanding where the opportunities are.  I would say that people need to be creative about what they’re doing to move both themselves and a business forward.

How did you evolve your own career?
I had a whole series of different roles when I left the firm (KPMG).  I think that when you look at my career I was probably considered a business partner, but I didn’t feel like I could drive decisions. When I went to Dayforce, I realized that I was in a smaller company and that the CEO wanted me to not only analyze decisions, but also to make them and act entrepreneurial.  I had to become a business driver.

How do you select your team?
I know that for us to be successful we need to have both profiles (nuts and bolts accountants and business partners) and I also know that it can be hard to have both in one person.  I like people that are creative, energetic and have an entrepreneurial mindset.  They help us get better.

Rebecca Skvorc, CPA/CA believes that successful companies have both types of people – those who prefer the nuts and bolts of the accounting world and those who revel in being business partners.  Her own career demonstrates her ability to be a business driver and understand the entrepreneurial mindset.  She emphasizes the importance of being a self-starter and looking for opportunities, and she loves the chance to develop high performing teams that can deliver and help other businesses be exceptional.

Profile: Rebecca Skvorc, CPA/CA, VP of Financial Operations at Wave

Rebecca Skvorc isn’t your average CPA/CA.  You’re more likely to find her outside skiing, running or kayaking, than indoors.  That being said, she is a strategic and decisive financial leader, who has extensive international experience in financial and operational management.  She’s also known for her ability to develop strategic partnerships in order to bridge the gap between operational decisions and financial targets.  She’s been a Treasury Consultant in London, UK for the Royal Bank of Scotland, a Director of Finance, Sales and Marketing for Rogers Media and is currently the VP of Financial Operations at Wave HQ.

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