It’s OK to ask questions. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s a good life skill to have! But for many people, asking questions and admitting they need help doesn’t come easily. Today, I’m giving you permission! Ask questions. Take it as an opportunity to learn, to improve, to succeed.
On the flip side, it’s also beneficial to be asked questions. It’s good to be open to working with someone else who will question you, challenge you and mentor you. I’m a big believer that having a mentor leads to personal and business growth. What’s stopping you?
What is mentoring?
Basically, mentoring is working with someone independent from you who has done/achieved what you want to do. They are there to guide and support you.
How can mentoring help me?
Over the years as an accountant mentor, I have mentored Accountants and
Bookkeepers and have helped them to move their lives forward. I’ve worked with
people in practice, industry, people working for themselves and accountancy
students. In fact, you name it, I’ve worked with someone from that sector! Each time, I gained so much from being the mentor too.
Kalvinder worked in practice.
“Anna’s approach has helped me tremendously, from our first lesson together on the
phone, in a way that works for me like nothing else.
Anna’s advice and knowledge has given me thoughts for consideration as I
approach accountancy in a new direction.’’
People come to me for a range of issues when they want a mentor. Here are just a
few and how I help them.
Understanding analytical review
A frequent concern of mentees who come to me is the subject of analytical reviews.
It’s crucial when preparing a set of accounts that you take a common-sense approach. These accounts need to be useful to the client. Make sure that you cover the following when you have finished the accounts:
Have all tax sensitive accounts been analysed: repairs; sundries, legal and professional?
Have there been significant increases/decreases in income and expenditure? Why has this happened?
Is there anything the client could be doing differently regarding keeping their records up to date?
Are the figures in line with the client’s expectations? Take account of profit and turnover.
The big plus about being an accountant or bookkeeper is that you have transferable skills. Don’t just continue to do what you’re doing if you’re not happy. You can make a change for whatever reason. A mentor can help you to decide on your new direction. Maybe:
- You’re working long hours and you want a better work life balance. Many people saw what was possible during the pandemic when they were working at home.
- You feel that you have more to offer and are bored. Maybe you haven’t been promoted recently.
- You are happy working where you are but want and need a change of direction otherwise, you’ll get stale!
An interesting observation I’ve made when I’ve mentored accountants for a few sessions is that they’ve decided on a completely different direction from when they started. For example, one decided to leave their current role and look elsewhere rather than stay at their existing company and one moved away from accountancy work towards more of a business consultant role.
“I am truly grateful for having Anna as a mentor. The free flow we have with our sessions allows for honesty with what I am currently working on and I appreciate her perspective each and every time.
Scheduling our sessions on an ongoing basis has allowed me to feel held accountable in a way which positively forces me to take action and jump out of my comfort zone. I am very honoured to have her on my business journey.”
Keteata Reid of We are HBA Ltd
Whatever is making you dissatisfied, don’t despair. You’ll feel better if you start by making a plan. Think about these four questions and jot down your answers:
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be?
What is important to you?
Who can help you?
Your answers will help you focus on the opportunities that are open to you and decide what you need to do next.
Day to day practice queries
Often when working in practice, either for yourself or as an employee, there are gaps in your knowledge. This is not your fault. A lot of accountancy training takes place on the job, and you may be struggling with the person who is training you or there may not be enough time. Again, this is an ideal opportunity to involve a mentor to help you improve your skill set.
I have helped people update their knowledge and ask their questions in a safe place.
The questions could cover:
Completion of self-assessment returns
Organisation of your practice
Double entry revision
Preparing a folder for review
Calculating accounting ratios
Preparing management accounts
Director’s loan accounts and how they work
Calculating capital allowances
By working on these areas with an experienced mentor, you will gain confidence in your ability and feel better and more in control at work.
Good luck in taking control of your life and planning for a successful future. Remember it’s OK to ask for help; you don’t need to do this on your own! I know from my own experience and talking to fellow accountants, that good accountants and bookkeepers aren’t easy to find. Value who you are as a person and go for what you want and deserve.
Look into mentoring now and then that’s one more thing ticked off your list – always a bonus!