Senior Financial Mentoring: Invest In Yourself and Your Company

A global survey conducted by an international accounting organization revealed that 87 percent of respondents believe their organizations could benefit from mentoring their finance professionals.

Included in this group is the most senior financial professional at these companies - from CFOs at larger firms to Controllers or Accounting Managers at smaller companies.

If you are a finance professional and find yourself in any of the following situations, the right mentor will boost your performance and enhance your career opportunities.

  • New To The Role You’ve just been promoted within your company or you’re stepping up the ladder in a different one. An inexperienced senior financial officer is a prime candidate who would benefit from mentoring. Mentoring can help eliminate your blind spots and allow you to make the tough decisions with confidence.
  • New To The Industry You already have experience under your belt as a senior financial officer, but you’ve joined a new industry. A kindred spirit with familiarity in your new environment can dramatically shorten your learning curve and rapidly increase your value to your employer.
  • New To A Task As the senior financial officer, you’ve been assigned a key project in a territory you haven’t covered yet. It might be an acquisition, a system implementation or trying to raise capital. Or maybe your company is going public or international. Bringing in a mentor to walk you through the process will facilitate the project and help to ensure its success.

Are you still unsure if mentoring is the solution for you? Here are a few more thoughts to consider that might help in your decision-making process.

The Mentoring Method

Merriam-Webster defines mentor as “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.”

As the role of the senior financial officer evolves and the dynamic world of business globalizes, the idea and scope of mentoring has broadened. Through its Insight series, the ACCA made the following observations on mentoring in its research paper, The Coaching and Mentoring Revolution – Is It Working?

  • Assessment, guidance, advice and possibly instruction are key activities in the mentoring role.
  • Mentoring is about enhanced performance and must therefore be planned and monitored and tested for effectiveness.
  • Not to be confused with a coach, the mentor takes a more directive approach; where the learner strives to emulate by adopting knowledge, style and behavior.
  • The mentor is a key resource for the finance professional who wants to learn from the best.

Choosing The Right Mentor

Be sure your choice is based on your priorities and objectives and that the individual is genuinely interested in being a mentor. They should be trustworthy, have the right experience to complement your background, and challenge you to succeed.

Mentors may be found within your organization; however, it may be more challenging for them to commit to your needs while still tending to their own role and responsibilities. If the inside alternative is unlikely to be a success, consider your outside alternatives. The right outside advisor can provide experience, flexibility and diversity that is not available from an internal mentor.

Professional development is an ongoing practice that can and should happen throughout one’s career. Seeking a mentor is just one approach, but it’s a great way to embrace new challenges, discover opportunities and enrich your career.

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