Financial expert Jane Barratt shows how healthy financial practices at work can make you more successful at your job. Learn lifelong skills that will help move your career forward.
- It's hard to progress in life without having a solid grip on finances. It's certainly true in your personal life, but it's also true for employees. In fact, healthy financial practices at work can make you more successful at your job. Think about the head of your company. Their reputation is on the line, day in, day out to deliver positive financial results. They need to have one eye on the long term horizon and one eye on today, making sure revenue and costs are aligned. So how can understanding finances make you more successful? First, being fluent in the big picture can immediately differentiate you from your peers.
You don't have to know all the answers, but it'll give you the ability to ask good questions like will a hike in interest rates impact our pricing, and will higher prices lead to lower sales. Learning to understand earnings calls within your company and reading public financial statements can also have a massive impact on your career. They'll help you understand what's going on in your company and maybe more importantly, what's going on with your competitors. If you don't work for a public company, or you're in an industry where most businesses are private, that's okay.
Set Google Alerts to hear about your company and competitors and keep a close watch on the news. You may be surprised how much you can learn from just press releases over time. The more you know, the more you'll become a trusted source of information for both your bosses and your colleagues. This can help build your profile and your long term prospects. Beyond this, how can you contribute to the healthy finances of your company? In essence, it comes down to two things. Can you contribute to higher income, and can you reduce costs.
The first may be looking for opportunities to bring in more revenue by adopting the thought that regardless of titles, everyone's in sales. Learn exactly how your company makes money and consider how you can generate ideas or introductions that could lead to more sales. And the same is true for cost reduction. Look for costs that could be reduced from the easy stuff like finding lower cost suppliers for commodities like bagels or paper, to more complex issues like combining processes so that two people could do the job that maybe used to take three.
Regardless of whether your recommendations go ahead, there's two great outcomes. One, you've learnt more about your business, and two, you've established yourself as a team player. And one last significant benefit, when you get into the practice of thinking in numbers, you can apply them to yourself. If you currently have measurable goals or KPIs, great. If you don't, set them for yourself and track how you're doing over time. In both scenarios, when it comes time for performance reviews and salary discussions, you'll have a set of numbers that are hard to argue with.
Thinking of your contributions from a financial perspective helps you see how you're doing now, and can help provide a road map to move your career forward.
- Explain how understanding your company’s finances will help you as an employee.
- Identify how you can help drive revenue if you do not work in sales.
- List the key things to look for when setting terms with suppliers.
- State why it is important to understand key accounting concepts and success measures.
- Explain what an income statement can tell you.