In 2010, I started working for a global company, publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange who had moved some of the finance operations to the island where I was raised. We handled the accounts receivable, accounts payable and customer payments for all the legal entities associated with the parent companies. It was the greatest learning experience for me in accounting and shaped the way I solve problems. I learnt so much about different cultures, accounting software, ERP systems, accounting controls, compliance controls, management, the review process, audits, the importance of segregated duties, teamwork, banking, leadership, deadlines and so much more working for this Global Power House. I also made some lifelong friends who still support and encourage me.
On the VP’s first visit with our team, I learnt one of the most valuable lessons I could learn in life, whenever there is a problem, ensure you find and detail the solutions. In our first of many one on one meetings, I shared a problem with one of the payment service providers and he asked me, “how do you think we can solve this issue?”. At the time, I did not have the solutions because I only saw the problem. This was a defining day for me because after the meeting, I went back to my desk to detail all the possible risks associated with the problem and the detailed solutions. From that day forward, every accounting problem I have experienced in business and non-profits, I have detailed the solutions through accounting and compliance controls, automation, analysis, accounting software design and the review/audit process.
The VP ensured every time he came to our location, we had our one on one meetings. I would have all the problems, risks and issues affecting my duties and the accounting processes, outlined in my notebook and he would sit and listen to all my possible solutions. He always advised me to send him a follow up e-mail from our meetings and always ensured the problems were resolved. He valued my knowledge of his processes and day to day operations. I value him as mentor, leader and someone who always challenged me to think objectively. Our most impactful meeting lasted over two hours one day in 2016 and that was the day that my vision became a reality for one of the most time-consuming processes related to my duties for the previous 6 years.
My team and I would spend multiple hours daily updating an excel file where we tracked all invoices and the current status. I came up with the idea for us to create a report in the accounting software that could create a more efficient way of tracking all the invoices that were pending approvals and not yet processed. I opened a support case and worked along with the tech team regarding the specific needs and details the accounts payable team would need in this report. Once it went live in the accounting system, our time spent on that process was drastically reduced by 90% and I got the first-place award for my contribution. It was a great feeling to be a part of that process and create change. Small ideas can have great impact on the efficiency and accuracy of the processes implemented in accounting.
Challenge yourself to come up with possible solutions to the problems you face at work, in life and in business, and watch these problems turn into positive opportunities for growth and development.