28 Feb My Life as an Accounting System Implementation Consultant
Some might say my professional journey is somewhat unusual. They are right. I am not going to say otherwise. Indeed, I don’t belong to a generation where accounting has been passed down from father to son. In fact, this hardly matters in the story I am about to tell. I was 24 years old and I worked in the Accounting department. My career path was laid out for the next 30 years!
I stayed in that department for almost ten years, in various roles. It allowed me to widen my knowledge base and to keep growing, and I learned way more that during my student years. It was a nice secure job and I knew my duties by heart. This meant I could be extremely productive, but something was missing: a shot of adrenaline!
I finally decided to follow my former colleagues, who had been knocking on my door for several months asking me to step into a new adventure. They offered me the position of Accounting Systems Implementation Consultant. So I thought, why not?
Here I am! It has now been a year since I jumped ship and what an adventure it is! I have to admit it is not always easy. Some mornings I miss the quiet environment of my old job. Like any good job, there are highs and lows. The highs are often very high, and the lows, a bit lower. Nonetheless, I have never regretted my decision.
This is what struck me the most when I started working as a consultant. Within my first month, I had been involved in five different projects, with five different customers. Of course, I was not playing the lead role at that point, but I still got exposed to five times more companies than the year before! In an Accounting department, we only know one organization. We do get to know it extremely well, but in the end, it is still only one business.
When you work as a consultant, there is no lack of variety. Each week brings its share of new experiences. We are confronted with so many different scenarios, in different industries, and with different people of course. The opportunities to learn are endless!
To implement an accounting system, we don’t need to be at the customer site throughout the project. But at certain key milestone events, the launch, the design review, training and delivery, we have to meet the clients face to face.
Since I have started working as a consultant, I have been asked to travel all over North America, something I had never done in my job during the preceding ten years! They say that travel builds character. It is true for all ages, not just the young!
Ups and Downs
The emotional ups and downs are probably what mark the biggest difference and bring me the most learning. There are frustrating times as we attempt to achieve a concept in every way we can think of, and it simply does not work. We hold brainstorming sessions, we state and restate, we validate, and it still fails. On one hand, the customer is getting impatient. On the other, it gnaws at our ego. Yes, we do have to face those tough times.
And finally, the lightbulb moment, the great idea comes! We try it, we test it and it succeeds! We feel like a hockey player who just scored a goal in overtime. We experience these victories every week. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning and motivates me to keep fighting the good fight!
As you can see, this is very far from the neutral emotional state I once knew. We have to learn to manage our emotions more closely to avoid exaggerating the highs or falling too low.
I love getting up feeling motivated at the prospect of my work day. Yes, I do need to exercise a bit more emotional control, but the learning and all these successes are totally worth it. If you only knew how good it feels to see the customer smile when we turn over the system!
By Stéphane Bélanger, Accounting Implementation Consultant for Nubik