The Finance Leader Podcast

058: Building Your Professional Foundation

July 27, 2021 Stephen McLain Season 7 Episode 2
The Finance Leader Podcast
058: Building Your Professional Foundation
Show Notes Transcript

Build your professional foundation which includes your education, earning a professional certification, and growing your business knowledge. Your Foundation establishes your professional credibility and expertise, which is key to being a sought-after Finance and Accounting Leader. Embrace a life-long learning mindset to firmly establish your Professional Foundation. 

The following outline is used during the episode:

  1. We must build our credentials and knowledge,
  2. We will be known for our technical expertise, but we need to develop our leadership ability too,
  3. We must embrace continual learning and development, and
  4. Update your IDP regularly.

I have something for you. Consider joining The Finance Leader Podcast Community Facebook Group, where we can talk leadership and the other topics I present here on the podcast.  This is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other.

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

Please follow me on:

1. Instagram: stephen.mclain
2. Twitter: smclainiii
3. Facebook: stephenmclainconsultant

Stephen McLain:

This week I am talking about building your professional foundation that includes your education, earning a professional certification, and growing your business knowledge. Your foundation establishes your professional credibility and expertise which is key to being a sought after finance and accounting leader. Embrace a lifelong learning mindset to firmly establish your professional foundation. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 58. And I'll be talking about building your professional foundation. And I will highlight the following topics. Number one, we must build our credentials and knowledge. Number two, we will be known for our technical expertise. But we need to develop our leadership ability to number three, we must embrace continual learning and development and for update your individual development plan regularly. Entrepreneur Peter Thiel said, credentials are critical if you want to do something professional. If you want to become a doctor or a lawyer or teacher or professor, there is a credentialing process. Did you listen to last week's episode 57 why you need to own your career. No one will care more about your career than you will. So that is why you must own it and not let someone else decide what you can and will do. Do you want to rise the CFO, then go do the jobs and assignments that will get you there. Don't believe that just doing a great job and your present duties will get you noticed. You must take some risk and get on high visibility projects to build your skills, your experience and your network. It's your career. So own it to starting today. I had some great feedback on what I said about being close to the flagpole. Companies will be using a variety of ways to reengage their team back to the office. Many will be using a hybrid model of working from home and going into the office on some days. Some people will want to do one or the other that is either staying at home or going back to the office altogether. What we don't know is how this affects opportunities going forward. If you continue working from home full time, ensure you are injecting yourself in the right spaces to get the opportunities you need to move your career forward. working from home doesn't mean you'll be left out, but be active in seeking out opportunities. Always be asking what is available, so you are in the know also, this week, I'm talking about your professional foundation. As finance and accounting professionals, we need to have solid credentials and a solid foundation as business leaders. My goal is for you to embrace your role as leader in your organization. And we must continue to build our credibility through our educational accomplishments, earning a professional certification, growing our business knowledge strengthening our mindset and many other foundational areas. I addressed this very important topic in my advanced your career course, which you can find on finance leader The link is in the show notes with this episode. Your credentials, knowledge, leadership, attitude, confidence, risk, comfort level, and leadership ability. give others a picture of your credibility and your potential for greater responsibility. We must be continually working on improving and developing our credibility. So we must embrace lifelong learning, always improving and growing our knowledge. From a technical aspect. You need to be aware of government accounting practice decisions, the latest on financial systems technology and best practices from around the finance and accounting community. Once you have your professional certification, carefully plan how you will earn your annual CPE ease. Choose topics that fit well into your development. And please don't push this off complete training throughout the year. treat this professionally. CPE E's are meant to grow you it's important. Having that professional certification gives you credibility. And that means continually learning a professional continually learns. And in order to maintain that certification. You have to earn CPE E's it could be 20 it can be 30. It just depends on the certification. So choose topics that you can accomplish throughout the year. So each month or as much as quarterly plan out what topics you want to do. Go find Some CB ease that you can earn, some are free, some you have to pay for, but get it planned out throughout the year. So you get it done and have a plan and you build it into your IDP. And then you're not cramming them all in the at the end at the end of the year and it just doesn't matter, you need to treat this like a professional, you need to treat this like it's going to build your credibility. So making sure you are adding this to your IDP and treating this like the leader and professional that you are. Also I have a growth opportunity for you. I have a Facebook group so we can grow our leadership together. This is a relatively new group. So there are not many members right now we'll we can get this group started. With leadership and career development questions. You can ask about the online course, I offer many other questions about your career path that I can help you and we can help each other to grow and be prepared for the next step in our careers as finance and accounting professionals. Now let's talk about a few key points about your professional foundation. Number one, we must build our credentials and knowledge. We are professionals. And that means we must have credentials to establish our authority and our ability to be advisors to senior leaders. And so we can grow into a well qualified and knowledgeable CFO credentials means our education, a professional certification like CPA or CMA our technical knowledge, our business acumen, meaning Can you talk the language of business? Do you know how business is conducted and how business systems work? You must also understand the linking of strategy and resources. Your company has limited resources and you must know how best to apply those resources to achieve the strategy, which also means you must know how to analyze financial performance and how to communicate what is happening to senior leaders. So the right adjustments can be made if necessary. This is key the linking of strategy and resources and knowing how to communicate clearly and competently, what the financial performance is actually doing. So senior leaders have a better chance at a better opportunity to make better decisions. Number two, we will be known for our technical expertise. But we also need to develop our leadership ability to we are expected to know the technical aspects of our profession and our role. We must know how to use the tools available and to have a thorough understanding what the numbers mean. And then we can communicate that to the leadership in the organization. We are the ones responsible for proper financial reporting, proper accounting procedures, understanding the key metrics, and being able to communicate how the strategy is being achieved or not being achieved through the numbers. Strive to combine your technical knowledge with leadership, so you can positively influence better outcomes. senior leaders around the organization are relying on you to convey what the numbers mean, the actual financial performance. We already know that projections have all sorts of subjectivity involved, but actual performance communicated in terms related to their department or key metrics related to the strategy can help to better prioritize resources and or a better decision making process. Number three, we must embrace continual learning and development. as professionals our knowledge learning process does not end is continual. Just because you graduated with a degree in accounting or finance doesn't mean you know everything about it, it means your learning has just begun. Which brings us to the importance of professional certifications. A certification is not a one time of that. A certification program requires continual development, which means you must earn continuing education credits. This facilitates learning so please plan out your CPE earning responsibly. And again, not cram them all in at the end of the recertification period. Be a lifelong learner. never quit learning because it's key to rising to the C suite and achieving your goal of becoming a CFO and even CEO one day and number four, I say this often. Update your individual development plan regularly. To know where you want to go in your career. You must also know where you are at. When you update your plan. You get to adjust and assess your progress. Have a solid plan to grow your expertise, not only in finance and accounting topics, but also your business knowledge and strategy concepts. a written plan shows your commitment to yourself about development and growth. You have a better chances of success when your goals are written down. Now for action today, where are you at regarding your professional foundation? And here are several questions to consider. Number one, do you have a growth mindset? Or do you believe you are fixed where you are at today? Number two, do you have an advanced degree like an MBA, or master's in finance or accounting? Number three, do you have a professional certification, such as CPA, a CMA, or a certification as a treasury professional, or as a financial analyst, or internal auditing? CPA is the gold standard, but it doesn't really matter which one earn a certification, but always keeping in mind that CPA is highly desired in their controllership career track. Number four, do you possess the right soft skills? Like strategic communication, leadership, time management, and many others? Number Five? How is your finance and accounting technical knowledge? Do you stay current on accounting board decisions? Do you know the trends on what is happening in accounting and finance a decision on how to report your inventory? A decision on how to report investments there are always decisions and trends coming about regarding finance and accounting concepts. Number six, how well do you know business concepts and how business is run? Number seven? Do you have a written individual development plan? Number eight, do you see yourself as a leader as a professional? Have you taken a leadership course. Your professional foundation sets you up to positively influence outcomes, and to help senior leaders make better decisions, and it will also lay the course for you to become a senior leader yourself. This episode is sponsored by my website finance leader and my career development course called advance your career, developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart. To achieve your career goals, you must be willing to take a risk to set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This course helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers. by growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence. You can go to finance leader Academy comm for more details on this career advancement course. The link is also in the show notes with this episode. The material I highlighted today is in module two of this course. Thank you, I have a free guide for you. It's called the leadership growth blueprint for finance and accounting managers. In the guide I talk about three leadership areas communication, team growth, and empowerment. Plus a few recommendations around challenges with the systems you are probably using to complete your work. The link to the guide is in the episode description. Please use it to help you with a few leadership wins today. Thank you. Today I talked about building your professional foundation and highlighted the following points. Number one, we must build our credentials and knowledge. Number two, we will be known for our technical expertise. But we need to develop our leadership ability to number three, we must embrace continual learning and development and for update your individual development plan regularly. My intent for you is to build your professional credibility, so you become a sought after advisor and leader in your organization. credentials are critical in the finance and accounting fields. Because we are often seen as the experts so our proficiency is built around knowledge and experience. We must know accounting and business finance principles, but also the newest decisions around processes. So we can apply that to the financials or how best to apply emerging technology to make better strategic decisions. We must never stay static in our personal development, including our leadership skills development. Next week, I will be talking about how to perfect your presentation skills. As accounting and finance professionals, you will be presenting to leaders often so it's important to get this right. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader Podcast. I am dedicated to helping you grow your leadership because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my updates for you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go bigger team. It can I'll see you next time. Thank you