How to Make the Most Impact as a Finance or Accounting Consultant

As shifts in the economic landscape push companies to evolve or rethink their finance and accounting needs, talented consultants continue to be in high demand. While your expertise is one of the top reasons you can offer value in your role, setting yourself apart as a high-quality consultant should mean more than just having the credentials and technical knowledge.

When companies invite you as a consultant to jump into their team, there’s also the expectation that you’re ready to understand their environment, their needs, and provide solutions almost immediately after entering. Successfully fulfilling this expectation comes down to your interpersonal skills, adaptability, and willingness to commit to your role.

In our 13 years of establishing our consulting network, we’ve learned that the strongest consultants consistently show the same traits. Here’s our advice on how you can make the most impact.

Read your environment, adapt accordingly

Not all consulting roles have the same needs. One of the most exciting challenges as a finance or accounting consultant can be figuring out exactly what role your engagement needs you to play. Each company is going to have its own unique environment, culture, and needs and it’s up to you to be able to read the cues and adapt. What may have worked for one project may not be suitable for the next.

For example, an organization looking to fill a gap while they search for their next permanent hire won’t benefit from the strategic leadership that a young company seeking to advance to the next stage of growth might need. Bringing a one-size-fits-all approach can result in missing key information or unnecessarily rocking the boat.

Set yourself up for success by getting to know your environment and how you can adapt to serve the most value. Pay attention to your company’s pace and culture and most importantly, be prepared to ask questions.

When in doubt, communicate!

Your ability to offer solutions is highly contingent upon how well you know your company’s business plans and strategy…and your organization knows this. At BVOH, one of the biggest concerns we hear from hiring managers is about the level of communication between consultants and their team. On the surface, communication is about getting all of the information you need to do your job. Less obviously, your communication can serve as a strong indicator of your involvement.

Communication = commitment

More often than not, consultants have a very small window of time to help companies resolve big issues. Strong communication from your end establishes the trust that you’re there to get to work. Even if you feel that you have all of the necessary information, radio silence or slow response times can signal lack of commitment or involvement. Silence can raise a red flag and lead your team to believe that you’re operating off of incomplete information or assumptions, which can result in huge risks. 

Approach your role as an active communicator, especially if you’re working in a remote environment. Show that you take your role seriously by asking questions and getting clear on processes. Look to build relationships by consistently reaching out to your team and key decision makers. The effort to show your involvement will allow you to make the most impact in the long run.

Attitude is everything

Over the 13 years we’ve spent building our network of consultants, our team has learned that your attitude can easily make or break your relationship with your company and your recruiter.

Treat each role as an opportunity

See each role as a chance to both offer your expertise and to learn. Before talking to a recruiter or taking on a project, take the time to look up each company’s recent news or filings and resources. Treat every role as if there were a possibility of it leading to a permanent position, regardless of whether or not it is convertible. Becoming a student of your company is a strong indication of your desire to contribute your value.

A can-do approach will take you far

While your experience and technical skills might get your resume on the table, adopting a willingness to take on new challenges can make all the difference. For example, if you lack experience in a specific software, don’t count yourself out just yet. Sell your ability to learn and your versatility! Not only does it allow for you to expand your skill set, but it communicates your potential as a problem solver.

Above all else, remain professional

There’s no doubt that you’ll encounter challenging projects or come across companies that simply don’t align with your own values or how you work. However, maintaining professionalism shows companies that it’s safe to invite you into their company. Whether you’re navigating your day-to-day interactions or managing your online presence, always remember to treat others with respect and integrity.

We’re here for your success

When you’re looking for your next project, our team at BVOH is here to understand your needs and work on your behalf to connect you with the right match.

Connect with us today to learn more about our process.

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