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So you are looking for a job...as a senior accounting professional...

... and you're interviewing...

... and you're selling yourself....

What is (from your point of view) a selling point that you shouldn't make?

An example would be selling how you worked in the beef industry and just loved the perks of getting filet mignon to a vegan based company.

Answers

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Wonderful example, Wayne. I am not sure if that is worse than trying to go to work for PETA while sharing the perks of a previous job that allowed you to test ammo, firearms, and scents for harvesting deer, raccoons, bear, etc.

Culture is something that a person should be careful with. Your example is tongue-in-cheek, I assume it is at least. But it is very real. Several companies can have great, yet opposing, cultures. While interviewing for a job at a new company I think it would be beneficial to understand its culture, what it values and what it does not value. Filet mignon is delicious, but if disclosing that to the vegan company would keep you from affording it, it might be best to eat your steak at home, and your vegan meals at work.

However, as I think about that, it has me wondering why would someone in a similar example as yours and mine above even consider such a company? I hunt and fish, therefore PETA-type organizations are out for me. I eat almost any animal that moves, therefore vegan-based companies are out for me. I would find it difficult to interview for employment at a place that went against who I am as a person.

Similarly, why would a committed religious person of any faith want to work for Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc. I am sure working for such individuals could be rewarding in many ways, but to a person of faith it could be damaging. The converse is true in this situation.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

While my example was "culture", I was looking more on the lines of professional "accounting/financial" faux pas.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I have always tuned out when I start hearing someone explain that their challenges at their current/prior employer were due to something not getting to them in a pristine, ready to post fashion. Sharing how incompetent colleagues are, can be another red flag. We all deal with less than perfect situations on a regular basis, whether it be an outdated and poorly composed report, or a difficult person. Get over it and either explain to me how you worked with that person to help them understand the importance of changing their ways, or explain how you made your lemons into lemonade without sounding like you are performing miracles.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

I have interviewed my share of accounting/finance professionals and the area where I find the "candidate" losing their selling point is when they tout how they "saved $X in expenses".

While cost containment is part of the overall definition of our roles, how many times can you cut costs? Once, maybe twice with the exception of annual items like insurance where you may not actually cut cost, but minimize increases (cost containment).

So you cut costs, but how does that make you unique?

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Excellent point, Wayne. Adding value (REVENUE) to a company positions an accounting/finance professional in a much better light. Even from an area of tax saving. As an example someone may say they outlined a plan for a manufacturing facility to forego purchasing needed equipment, yet not needed because production would stop, in order to receive 100% bonus depreciation in the following year.

It would also be much wiser to tout how their implementation of internal controls led to an increase in revenue of x%, while at the same time reducing waste due to internal control issues by x%. To me, dollars mean nothing, percentages is where I find value. The first company I did work for was upwards of $100M, the company I am with now is nowhere close to that. Increasing revenue by $1M means nothing to the former company, but would be a substantial amount for the second.

Cutting cost from the P&L isn't too unique, after all companies hire and pay consultants to look at their P&L asking, "How can we cut costs?"

Having an internal employee that can determine tax savings by proper planning, could make a candidate unique, right? Income and loss going to retained earnings is only one aspect of the financial responsibilities. Taxes must also be taken into account.

Anonymous
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis) |

Claiming responsibility for accomplishing something that was obviously a team effort.

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