In my coaching and recruitment practice I regularly meet a variety of CA’s from across the board.
Each have their own issues, surprisingly unrelated, by the way, to the technical conundrums that one would expect to see on the table.
Too often there are softer issues that come to light.
The one that fascinates me the most is the expectations they have around how they need to be in the workplace.
Believe me, it is a wonderful experience to receive your final qualifying results – discovery that you have finally obtained your CA(SA) makes all the sweat, tears and social deprivation worth it!
It’s a monumental sense of achievement!
Of course, finding a new job outside of the profession is often the first priority.
This is where the ‘trouble’ starts.
Going into commerce for the first can be quite daunting. Although it should just be a matter of swapping from one side of the desk to the other, it is actually not that simple.
Whereas in auditing there are set targets and expectations, this may not be so clear when one sits down at the desk as the new financial manager. Sure, there are the monthly accounting deadlines, budgets and variances. But usually there is an junior accountant already in place preparing the information.
So what do you do?
And it seems that all are saying ‘Bright, young CA (overpaid) has arrived – so let’s see some magic!’.
And so the expectations begin.
The reality, though, is significantly different – this is all an illusion.
In most cases your boss is aware of the gaping chasm between auditing and commerce and is willing to give a fair amount of latitude for you to adapt and pick up the lead.
What is quite irritating, however, is a young who CA starts telling everyone how to run their departments. Filling out internal control questionnaires does not give one the qualification to call the shots! That credit manager, who has no formal qualification, knows a great deal more about credit control and managing people than you ever will (at least for the moment).
Having some whippersnapper with a college degree telling him what to do is a declaration of war. In the process important working relationships could be put at risk. This will impact on your ability to get things done.
Another disastrous action is to start interfering with other divisions that are not directly connected with your area of responsibility. For instance raising weaknesses in a department at a meeting can only get you into trouble especially if you have not discussed the matter with the manager beforehand.
The golden rule?
Be patient. Certainly for the first few months.
And say little and listen a lot!
Your time will come. Your CA is the best business degree available – you just need time to settle in.
Then your innate abilities will begin to surface – for all to see!
About the author:
Clive Kaplan, is a CA(SA) having studied at both Rhodes and UCT. With over 25 years experience as an executive director in both listed and unlisted companies. Clive offers a wealth of wisdom on both the people and business front. He is the CEO of Green Mind Capital. The company focuses on assisting executives, especially emerging young CA’s, maximize their potential and fast-track their careers. Clive has been involved with coaching and self development since 1994. Green Mind Capital is an emerging leader in the field of personal development and self-actualization.