Most talented professionals that are working hard to move up the corporate ladder, aspiring to be the financial leaders of the future, face the same concerns:
To progress, you need to accelerate your learning by continually taking on new challenges that you haven’t faced before. However, as you take on new and daunting challenges, the obvious self-doubt can set in, such as: Where do I begin? Can I really do this? What are the potential watch outs? How can I make a real success of this?
ABF Grocery Finance believe that having a robust mentoring programme allows mentees to ask these questions in confidence with someone completely independent of the business, allowing them to accelerate their learning and face new challenges confidently. It’s like having your own personal advisor.
So how does it work in practice?
At our organisation, all aspiring finance leaders of the future are allocated a mentor. The mentor will be a seasoned finance professional, often a finance director in one of our businesses, who is allocated to a mentee dependent upon the skills and capabilities the mentee requires. The mentee drives the frequency of the meeting and agenda allowing him or her to discuss work related issues and explore challenges to problems ‘off the record’. The mentor can ether share experiences or, via questioning - get to a solution. Ultimately, mentoring helps to nurture talented professionals by giving them the opportunity to tap into a wealth of learnt experience.
The benefits of mentoring are not all one-sided. Being a mentor is highly rewarding; you are doing something that really matters and makes a difference to someone else’s career. It is great to connect with talented individuals and see them grow. More often than not, you also find yourself learning from the mentee!
If you would like to learn more about ABF and our career opportunities, please visit the microsite here.
Guest author: Mark Ward - Finance Director at Allied Milling and Baking Group.
** DEFAULT postresults.teaserlabel - en-GB **General
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According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of respondents admitted wanting to work remotely in the future. While that may have seemed like a distant reality for some, in what felt like an overnight transition, the majority of the workforce went from seeing their colleagues every day to communicating entirely online. Managers too had to adapt to this ‘new’ normal and familiarise themselves with hiring and onboarding remotely. In the first few weeks companies were caught up in the flurry of activity, but as things have started to settle, many employers are beginning to question what impact remote working will have on employee engagement. Most organisations have likely brought their daily stand up meetings into the virtual space but there’s much more that can be done. The following tips will help companies engage their remote employees by creating a positive working culture that not only works during the pandemic, but also in the post-coronavirus world. Create a distinction between home and work Buffer’s State of Remote Work report also shows that 22% of remote workers struggle with switching off from work, making it the top problem these employees face. Employers must help their team maintain good mental health by creating a separation between work and leisure time. Take inspiration from others: Good-Loop has offered each employee £50 to spend on their home office, inspiring them to create a space that helps them to concentrate. Meanwhile, advertising agency Merkle has sent out printable artwork for their employees to bring some life to their virtual background. This is also helpful for managers who want to conduct a video interview for maximum impact. Recognition According to O.C Tanner’s 2020 Global Culture Report, company leaders see an 83% boost in engagement when they recognise their employees. For recognition to be effective, leaders must ensure they celebrate those big achievements whilst also showing appreciation for the small wins. A learning culture Isaac Newton achieved some of his greatest mathematical breakthroughs whilst in quarantine and the modern-day workforce also has the opportunity to unlock their stores of creativity during times of limited social interaction. Virtual classrooms and content co-creation tools like online whiteboards are just two options for boosting workplace learning during Covid-19. Here are some other methods: Initiate a ‘learning from home’ hour Having employees block out a ‘learning from home’ hour in their calendar ensures they have the time to dedicate to improving their industry knowledge. This time can be spent taking a course, reading thought-leadership articles, or learning about anything that helps them feel more engaged in their work. Internal learning sessions Hosting internal learning sessions is a great way to encourage knowledge sharing within and across teams. Employers can either schedule fortnightly meetings where teams present insights from their ‘learning from home’ time or give employees the option to share thought-provoking ideas in the Friday wrap-up session. Involve external thought leaders Invite external industry experts to bring a fresh perspective into the business, either through a presentation or by collaborating with them on a webinar. Working alongside a thought leader can spark innovative thinking, boost motivation and help employees feel more engaged in their field of work. Use surveys and questionnaires This is a dynamic way for organisations to engage their team because it empowers the employees to generate fresh ideas, mention pain points and state what helps them feel more involved in their work. This method receives bonus points because it saves companies the time of trialling and testing engagement practices that have worked for other organisations and skip right to applying practices that are personally suggested by their team. It’s important to remember that what works for one employee or team may not for the next. Employee engagement organisation, Effectory, began surveying employees since the outbreak of coronavirus to gain insight into the new working pattern and what it means for productivity and wellbeing. The results show that 66% of the workforce are able to do their job effectively from home and though this is a majority it still leaves one in three people struggling with the new working culture. Effectory have created a free Covid-19 Workforce Pulse survey which enables organisations to gain fast feedback on their employees’ engagement levels during the pandemic. The aggregated data from the survey shows that the top-performing companies all have one thing in common – they actively involve their employees. Use values to cultivate a sense of community Involving employees in the decision-making process through questionnaires also creates a sense of community. To nurture this environment, employers should seek more ways of helping their teams feel connected, something that’s particularly important for remote workers with limited social interaction. Emphasising the company values will ensure that employees working remotely feel as though they are marching to the beat of the same drum whilst encouraging camaraderie. To ensure their team feel connected and engaged, GitLab is hosting virtual coffee mornings. Boasting the world’s largest remote workforce, GitLab understands the importance of bringing colleagues together and promoting a shared sense of purpose. From e-birthday cards to online quizzes, there’s a lot that organisations can do to create a positive and inclusive virtual office culture. Are you looking for advice that’s relevant and timely? Since our advent in 1988, Marks Sattin have gained the expertise and knowledge that enables us to source the very best talent for businesses at every level, from start-ups to global organisations. Our recruitment consultants are committed to staying on top of trends in their specialist markets meaning they're able to provide our clients with the most relevant advice. Contact us to find out how we can help you recruit the top talent in your industry or register a vacancy now.
** DEFAULT postresults.teaserlabel - en-GB **Executive Search
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In the modern competitive business environment simply being an accomplished accountant won’t cut it, with new-age professionals needing to show strong ‘soft’ skills in addition to vocational excellence. Being an effective leader is crucial for anyone managing colleagues, but an ability to lead others is different from simply being able to manage a workload and delegate. A leader is able to get the best out of the colleagues they manage by listening to their needs, concerns and aspirations. However, they also have an insatiable appetite for continued learning and seek constructive feedback from colleagues to further their own personal and career development. Outstanding leaders secure their team’s buy-in to their business strategy and goals by communicating the plan effectively and ensuring each team member feels they are an important element of that overall plan. Excellent leaders will allow people to reason their way to a conclusion on individual tasks via their own preferred route while being available to provide sound advice and guidance. Leadership skills are of course necessary for accountants across the board, but they are particularly key for those looking to progress into positions outside accountancy. A significant proportion of CEOs started their careers as accountants, which goes to show that those who are able to perfect the blend of a comprehensive business understanding with outstanding leadership can reach the very highest echelons of business.
** DEFAULT postresults.teaserlabel - en-GB **Financial Services
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The professional accountancy bodies of UK and Ireland now boast more than half a million global members, with the accountancy profession contributing £59 billion to GDP in 2017 alone. It’s a crucial function of any modern society, particularly in the uncertain economic climate that has plagued the UK for the last few years. Activities and fees are high for accountants currently, and with accountancy and professional services firms consistently the biggest recruiters of graduates, it’s clear the demand for accountants remains high. While there are many considerations to make when it comes to entering or progressing your career in this field, one of the most important is whether you want to work in practice or industry. Both options – whether working in a firm of accountants or in-house - can lead to interesting and challenging work with opportunities for career development, but which is the right choice for you? Let’s explore both of these options. Practice Many accountants choose to start their careers working in practice, and the commercial appeal of the Big Four accountancy firms are continuing to make this option attractive to new accountants. We’ve seen some practice markets lose talent to industry in recent years, although the high standard of training accountants receive in practice will continue to appeal to both candidates and clients. This makes practice ideal for newly-qualified and qualified accountants who want to work with a range of clients across industries, developing technical skills and exposure to practices across service lines such as audit, tax and advisory. The variety in practice makes it extremely appealing, as does the client management element of most practice roles. The client-focused nature of practice means accounting professionals can hone their people skills while meeting the expectations and demands of their clients, building relationships and problem solving. There’s also a lot of learning to be done in practice, with a fast pace and mix of work, ensuring accountants are kept busy and engaged. Career development is an important consideration to make when you’re entering or progressing in this industry. Many accounting firms, aware of the risk of losing their top talent to practice, provide incentives like career progression and defined career paths, making it possible for professionals to develop more readily in this setting. Those who make it to partner level are generously financially rewarded, which can make this pathway more appealing to some, along with the potential exposure to senior stakeholders. Industry Industry, meanwhile, can see progression limited by both the size of the finance team and the overall ambitions of the company. However, some professionals experience a better work-life balance and less pressure working in industry compared to practice. Industry is often thought of as the final - and most appealing - destination for accountants, many of whom start in practice with the ultimate goal of moving to an in-house role in the wider business industry. Financially, industry tends to be more lucrative than practice. One 2018 survey revealed the average industry salary is 24% higher than practice, with our own market research showing that accountants with hands-on industry experience are more likely to secure commercially-focused roles, while technical positions are most suited to ACA professionals coming out of practice. While the salaries can be higher, however, the training and qualifications within industry tend not to be as comprehensive as within practice, where study packages such as the ATT and CTA are more commonplace. In terms of the style of work, industry accountants generally specialise in business economic matters such as cash flow, budgeting and cost control. Industry accounting professionals may specialise in management and cost accounting or financial accounting, with a more streamlined, focused workload than the variety seen in practice. Where practice professionals work with many different clients, industry allows you to hone in completely on the one organisation you work for, providing continuity and focus, as well as a more regulated workload. The specialised nature of industry accounting means professionals looking to move in-house need strong technical skills and a desire to focus on one core area of the finance function, adding value and commercial insight. Career pathways here can lead to Financial Director or Group Financial Director, with the ability to contribute wholeheartedly to the growth of the overall company. Find your next role with Marks Sattin Whether it’s the pace, variety and career path of practice you’re looking for or the focus, salary and stability of industry, we can help you make your next move. At Marks Sattin we specialise in matching the right candidates with the right organisations, whether you’re qualified, part qualified, newly qualified or interim. View our latest commerce and industry jobs and financial services jobs to find a role that suits your requirements or register as a candidate and start your search.