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Since good workers are always in demand, being viewed as a strong contributor will improve the likelihood of your advancement within the organization and also give you a better chance of avoiding layoffs should they occur. Here are a few suggestions for how finance and accounting professionals can make themselves indispensable in their jobs.
Save your employer money. Focusing on the bottom line is an excellent way to set yourself apart from other employees. For instance, if your company is looking to upgrade its bookkeeping software program and you're aware of a cheaper option that's just as effective as the replacement being proposed, don't be afraid to make that recommendation. And if you're well-versed in the program, offer to train your coworkers instead of having the organization pay to bring someone in. Saving your company money makes it more likely you'll be seen as one of its vital employees.
Become a specialist. If you're the one person in your group who possesses a specific skill, you can improve your value to your employer by building on that strength. For example, if you're the only team member well-versed in a particular software program or who knows the unique accounting laws for a country where an important client is based, make sure that knowledge is up-to-date. Read specialized publications, take classes and keep your certifications current.
As important as possessing specialized knowledge is a willingness to share it. Let people know you're available to help when your expertise is needed. By assisting others, you become known as a valuable resource, or "go-to" person, within the organization.
Display integrity. Instead of going along with the status quo, don't be afraid to question something you feel is not right. This quality is especially valuable in the finance and accounting professions, considering the reinforced focus on transparency in financial reporting and enhanced corporate governance. It might be easy to assume that "we've always done it that way," but if you come across something that seems unusual to you, take the time to dig a little deeper. Even though it may mean more work, you'll save your employer countless headaches if you uncover something that could have spelled trouble for the organization down the road.
Improve visibility. You can make others in your department -- especially key decision-makers -- aware of your accomplishments and expertise without overtly "blowing your horn." For instance, by volunteering for additional projects, you have the opportunity to get to know different people while putting your talents on display. The more individuals who are aware of your skill set, the more likely you'll be given increased responsibility. In addition, ask your manager for chances to work on cross-functional teams, an experience that will allow you to get to know professionals in different parts of your organization.
Improving your visibility essentially means effective internal networking, and remember that this can also occur outside of work. Holiday parties and annual picnics are great opportunities to meet others from across the company. Getting to know these people will help you strengthen working relationships.
Be a leader. Even if you aren't a manager, you can still be a leader. For instance, do coworkers ask for your advice on something they're working on? If so, it's because they trust your judgment and respect your abilities, two important leadership qualities. You can further develop these qualities in many ways, including learning new accounting and finance skills or serving as a mentor to more junior members of the team. Taking management and leadership classes can help you further enhance these abilities.
Only you have the power to influence how people at the company think of you. The more employees and managers who consider you to be indispensable, the more likely it is you'll be able to remain a productive member of your organization, especially during turbulent economic times.
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International Inc., the world's largest specialized financial recruiting service and a leading authority on workplace and management trends. The company has more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Learn more at www.roberthalf.com.
Copyright 2008 Robert Half International. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.
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