Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to choose a job-some tips for the finance professional

For finance professionals(whether they be CA, CPA, CFA,FRM, MBA, CS, CWA etc), the difference between others and them is that they owe a duty of care to the public and to their employer. They are not supposed to be mercenaries out for maximizing the buck(though many do). Recently, I have had the fortune to advise some younger folks on choosing between options, so I thought to pen down my thoughts here

  1. Remuneration
    1. Starting Compensation(Stated)-What is the Gross CTC? This will often be the basis of negotiation of your next job-even if not all of it goes to you? 
    2. Post Tax CTC(net of all perks) -Is the post tax CTC something acceptable to you? If you lose something due to inflexible tax structuring(eg No NPS/No car hire), then you should negotiate to ensure this stays flat
    3. Growth Philosophy-Typical CTC hikes given at different rating scales. Also what extent of jump happens after one stays a long time? 
  2. Alignment with your long term plans-Assuming you perform at previous levels, will this role leave you better placed to pursue your ultimate objective? 
  3. Working Hours
    1. Official Hours-How many hours are you expected to clock in per day? How many did the earlier incumbent do? Does the company value face time beyond output? 
    2. Working Days-Whether 5 day week or 6 day week
    3. Flexi timings-Whether you can structure your hours the way you like(subject to outside meetings)
    4. Commute times-Very Relevant to those in Mumbai, Bangalore etc where traffic often eats up 10% of the total hours in a day
  4. Your role/place in hierarchy
    1. Matrix vs Single reporting-Do you have ONE boss or TWO bosses? How many power centres are there relevant to you(eg CFO and CAO)
  5. Leadership Oppurtunity
    1. Reporting Manager-If you are a reporting manager responsible for somebody else, it helps you develop leadership skills
    2. Project Management-Even if you are not a reporting manager but need to demonstrate project leadership skills as an individual contributor, that is a good way.
  6. Working Conditions
    1. Physical Offices-Are the offices comfortable cubicles and designed for peak performance? Is this is a place you can avoid getting tired? Not all places can be a Google but they can certainly be comfortable.
    2. Flexibility-Possibility to work from home
    3. Tech/Automation-Mobile based work applications, shared services helpdesk etc. These all make one's work easier.
    4. Employee Friendliness-Leave Policy, extent of trust in employees
  7. Learning/Development-What oppurtunities would you get to hone your skills and management
  8. Business Model/Industry
    1. Win-Win Is this a win-win business model for society? Or does the company harm society(aka sin stocks) within your moral framework? If so, cognitive dissonance might eat you up and/or regulation may destroy the company
    2. Industry Growth-What is the industry growing like, and is your company winning or losing market share? These two answers often determine compensation and internal oppurtunities. 
  9. Intellectual Stimulating Work
    1. Work-Is the work something appealing to YOUR interests and skills? Would you do this even if you had 'FU money'? 
    2. Colleugues-Would the people be of an appropriate intellectual level? For some people used to working only with other smart MBAs/consultants, it becomes a shock when exposed to multiple intelligences of others
  10. Performance Review framework
    1. Frequency-Are you someone who performs day in/day out? Or are you someone who ca hit 6s at the slag overs? Either way, the performance mechanism matters-some people perform well with structured goals(3+1s), others on projects and perception
    2. Bell Curve-While the gold standard so far, many organizations no longer have a bell curve. These would be interesting for those desiring a truly 'win-win'
  11. Integrity
    1. Tone from the top-Is there a culture of 'Zero tolerance' or is it 'Results at any cost'? What is your risk of going to jail/being disbarred(eg Satyam CFO and some junior team members)
    2. Pressures at your role-Certain roles(especialy sales, financial reporting) have unsaid presures to cook numbers which is often a long standing practice. To what extent can you withstand it, and how ethical is your company vs what you are used to
  12. Talent Management Framework of the organization
    1. Build or Buy-Some organizations recruit at junior levels only and then promote only from within. Such organizations are good to build careers. While others recruit from outside at all levels and hence if you are siloed there, you might not find a fit in some years either inside or outside. Think which one is your future employer
    2. Leadership Programs-Certain Indian conglomerates and MNCs depend heavily on their long established leadership programs(TAS/ABG/UFLP/Airtel YLP etc). Would you be disadvantaged by lateral entry and if so to what extent? Can you accept being possibly a '2nd level citizen' across
    3. Job Rotation-Is there a formal job rotation/Internal job posting policy? And more importantly, is there just lip service or is this done? 
    4. Mobility-Some organizations insist on mobility at all levels and often across functions/locations, as a condition for progress. Are your personal circumstances such to accomodate this, or would you be constrained to walk away after establishing equity? 
    5. Career Path-Is there a structured career path? Or is it a jungle gym that performance establishes it all? 

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