Topic: General Posts

Subject: Suggestions for roles to focus on when not traditional CPA / Finance person
Sylvia Tsen
Member: 2020
Posts:
Submitted on 05-04-20 9:06 pm
Message:

Hi Everyone - I would welcome any advice on my job search. I have a CPA audit and IFRS early career with KPMG but in the last 14 years was with IFAC - basically the global professional association for the CPA profession. Members in the US are AICPA, IMA and in the UK ICAEW, etc. My executive director role was a blend of operations and IT, managing the business with the exec team (budgets, strategic initiatives like culture transformation, staffing issues, etc), board and governance, and thought leadership / strategic programs. 


I am new to job search and feel the demand is for functional experts with deep industry expertise. I am more a generalist but I've always utilized my finance and accounting background and audit experience to drive my problem solving, analyze issues, get to the root cause of operational and project issues. 


any suggestions on how to focus my search and types of organizations to look for? 


Many thanks and I hope everyone is well. 


Sylvia 

 
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Replies
Stewart McElwee
Member: 2020
Posts:

Subject: Re:Suggestions for roles to focus on when not traditional CPA / Finance person

Submitted on 05-06-20 2:36 pm.
Message:

Hi Syliva,


I would be happy to connect and discuss some of the methods I have been using recently that I have found have worked. Here are some tips, which are not exhaustive:


1) Your "brand"! You are not a generalist, rather you are, for example, "A finance and accounting professional whose speciality is in ensuring the executive management of financial services firms are effectivly managing the business. You do this through budgeting, cultural transformation, staff optomisation, thought leadership and various strategic initiatives. You have been successful becuse you have leveraged your finance, accounting and audit background to analyze issues and drive problem solving to get to the root of operational, IT and project issues."


2) Your resume! You will likely need to work on your resume after such a long time, and the group has a resume review group that I am sure you can leverage. Timely, Matt Bud had just covered this is one of his recent newsletters, which is extremely helpful. There are many differering views, but ultimately your prior work expereince is "fact" and therefore focusing on "powerful accomplishment statements" is key (Situation, Obstacle, Actions, Results), but there is also a "forward looking piece" regarding not "what you have done" but what you are looking to do next (see #4)


3) Your LinkedIn profile! This is a great way of being found by others, and for you to find and build a good quality network (on top of FENG of course!). There are lots of tips and tricks to this, which are readily researchable.


4) Your "marketing plan"! This is where you begin to build a framework on what your professional objective is. For example, are you looking to be? A COO (managing exec team) or Business Manager (strategy, projects), or FP&A (budgets, planning) or HR even (people transformation). Then, begin to identify the industries that you are interested in. For example, Professional Bodies (like AICPA), Consulting (like KPMG), Other Financial Servies (like Banking, Insurance) and so on. You might be surprised to hear that you should have 30-50 target companies to connect with.


5) Network, Network, Network! Having the above in palce now allow you to make full use of this netwrok and others. You will be able to have a conversations where you can answer the question "How can I help you"? Being able to tell people your brand and your targets, will allow them to help identify people worth talking to and connecting with, and then you can develop these over time..with the emphasis on "time".


Hope some of this helps, and happy to chat.


Stewart

 
Sue Wolko
Member: 2018
Posts: 2

Subject: Re:Suggestions for roles to focus on when not traditional CPA / Finance person

Submitted on 05-18-20 2:33 pm.
Message:

Stewart has provided fantastic advice and roadmap.


I will add that professional associations and non-profits do love the generalist and are very keen to keep folks in their fold from the industry.  If you choose to stay in this lane, the generalist background will serve you well in a variety of titles - Exec Director, COO, CFO or the catchall Director of Finance, Operations and HR. There are websites and recruiters specific to non-profit/associations - 


If you look to change industries then you need to laser focus as mentioned into a functional role and be able to explain why you picked that.  There is often a "you'll be bored" because you did so much and now are only doing one job.  I'm in same boat as generalist from startup and being seen as jill of all trades sadly isnt valued as much as it should be.  So basically you have three children and need to pick favorite which is quite hard to do but once you get past that, it can be easier.  


Happy to help you with your search, just reach out to connect. 


 


Cheers


Sue

 
Mike Kear
Member: 2003
Posts: 1

Subject: Re:Suggestions for roles to focus on when not traditional CPA / Finance person

Submitted on 05-18-20 4:53 pm.
Message:

I've been in this situation in the past.  I tried to emphasize the area of my expertise that I enjoy the most and indicate how all of my experience in other areas helps substantiate problem solving abilities.  I only did this because I didn't want to have multiple versions of my resume and instead just have one that clearly defines who I am.  It helped.  I took a director role in FP&A and based on my more general skillset quickly moved over to be the COO.  I've been there now about 15 years but am thinking it's time to start moving on due to some regulatory changes in my segment.

 
Sylvia Tsen
Member: 2020
Posts:

Subject: Re:Suggestions for roles to focus on when not traditional CPA / Finance person

Submitted on 05-18-20 8:19 pm.
Message:

Thanks Mike and Sue for both of your responses and encouragement. 


 


Sue - Yes, I would love to connect to get more insights. Will look for you in Linkedin? 


 


Mike - similarly, would love to conect. I contemplated making a pivot to operations but wasnt' sure if I had enough foundation to go on but it pays to be open. 


 


Many, many thanks!


Sylvia Tsen 


 

 
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