All roads lead to finance, budget, and even accounting, since accounting is the language of business. But why? Well, as one of the inimitable quotes from Jerry Maguire goes, “It’s not show friends. Its show business.” That’s another way of saying the objective, given the parameters of ethical behavior and all other social implications for your organization’s activity, is the goal of turning an honest penny. Once again, Nick Corcodilos (A.K.A., Ask the Headhunter) gets it right. And in his post, Stand Out: How to be the profitable hire, states it as follows, “Every job – every one – affects profit. Trouble is, few people (including employers) talk about it or even worry about it. That’s why we see layoffs and down-sizings.” Now it is certainly true, that some jobs and even entire divisions more directly affect profit than others. But again, all roads lead to finance (in terms of profitability [or for government, solvency]), and unfortunately, even those within finance operations often miss this point. It really boils down to the basic structure of an income statement (or statement of operations), that always tells us, revenue less expenses equals profitability.
In the same post, Nick goes on to write, “every job fits into one of the two terms [revenue or expenses].” He even suggest this as a focus in job hunting, “the effort to estimate a person’s role in profitability makes them stand out in job interviews. It makes them powerful candidates who show they care about the bottom line.” This is exactly what I believe should be emphasized, and what few focus on. Namely, answering the question, or better yet, presenting a business case describing what are you going to to do [i.e., what value are you going to add] in the future for this organization? I work in a profession that is obsessed with titles, as well as another frequent topic of Ask the Headhunter, previous salary – as if either of these things are predictors of whether a candidate is actually a fit in terms of leadership for that organization. Another thing that virtually all professional fields over emphasize, is what someone has done in the past. Although actual work performed is likely to be more relevant than actual title, it still does not answer the question, how are you going to contribute to this organization’s future success? And until you answer this question, the position may be one that represents a cost that can (or should) be eliminated. Think future, think value, think finance; all roads lead to it.