Siege mentality of an accountant is what most accountants feel whenever people turn against them even when what they are doing is for the good of all. The fact that accountants are known for being frugal and always looking out for ways to save cost makes most people tend to view all that the accountant does as being one of such cost saving activity and this often than not lead to resentment.
I have once worked in a small business where the top management team sees all the controls that the accounting and finance department put in place as ‘piece of trash’. One of the directors of the company once said and I quote “…give the material requisition form to them and let them do their trash…”
The above is just one example of where people that should know tend to be the ones trying to undermine basic internal control procedures.
In this article, I will share my tips on how to deal with siege mentality as an accountant especially when working for a small business.
8 Things That I Have Done To Overcome Siege Mentality
Always be on top of your game
One of my favourite quotes as a young boy back then was ‘…in no distant time, the world will be given to the learners as gift… learn something new every day”. I will make slight adjustment to this by saying instead of learn something new; I will say learn a relevant skill every day.
You will never be wrong if you know your stuff as the likelihood of one accusing you of incompetence will be greatly reduced if you are always keeping your knowledge updated. People will tend to be more cooperative with you if they that you are good in what you do.
Being qualified as an accountant is not the end of the road as many people often think. Apart from the meeting with the CPE requirement, it is a good practice to do more by acquiring other value adding skills like learning to code especially financial modelling or acquiring advanced degree like a MAcc or MBA, even a PhD (or DBA if you want to specialise in practical issues) will not do any harm.
Acquire more soft skills
Most soft skills of an accountant are generally not taught in any formal learning environment. It takes consentient effort to pick them up as you garner more experience as an accountant. The soft skills you acquire working in accounting and finance environment will help you deal with siege mentality as an accountant. Your soft skills are what set you apart from the herds. Follow the link in this paragraph to learn all you need to know about soft skills of an accountant.
Don’t try to be too confrontational
People react to you more aggressively when you try to be confrontational. One thing I learnt when training as a security officer in the UK was to always make sure that you create exit route for any suspect.
Same applies to doing your work as an accountant. You cope more with siege mentality of an accountant if you are less confrontational. This does not mean that you will not perform you duties as an accountant but you have to learn how to deliver harsh messages in the softest possible way.
Don’t feel like the victim
Feeling like a victim will only compound your siege mentality as an accountant. The risk of you being trampled upon when you are lying low is higher than when you are standing tall. No one wants to know how you feel about the attacks (mostly verbal and subtle in nature) that come your way when performing your duties as an accountant.
I recommend you consciously work on building your emotional intelligence muscles as this will help you in dealing with siege mentality as an accountant.
Learn to communicate clearly
Most misunderstandings that eventually escalate into conflicts can easily be avoided if we take the time to ensure that people understand what it is that we are trying to say to them. Accountants are business communicators that understand the language of business and figure. You will not be performing this duty of a business communicator if you don’t consciously learn to communicate in clearly. Managers of other departments will not want to bully you around if they are on the same page with you.
Learn to research very well
Backing up your assertions with fact will shield you from most work related subtle aggressions. Nobody will want to take up any fight with you if you can back up your argument(s) with facts and figure which can only come from quality research. Again, you will hone your researching skills more by taking up some advanced business related degrees.
Develop a thick skin
This is in addition with you not acting like a victim. Robert A. Schuller said that though times don’t last but though people do. Do not let people use reverse psychology on you to make react irrationally. Tap into the wealth of knowledge of a professional body like ACCA to get all the help you need in developing thick skin to office shenanigans.
Have negotiation skill
Good negotiators get virtually anything that they want in life (legally of course). You will develop this skill by reading voraciously. War and strategy books are my favourite source of learning negotiation skills.