Years of training and work experience has reinforced the need for absolute accuracy in analysis and reporting. This habitual way of working informs the way all Financial Accounting processes are designed and implemented. Controls and checks are mandatory. Manager and peer review are vital to the decision process.
With this experience of working, what happens when you are asked to make a decision? I have seen colleagues end up crippled with indecisiveness or have a compulsion to analyse and re-analyse the data to ensure absolute certainty. They refuse to offer immediate thoughts and end up requiring hours or days of additional analysis and review.
Some business situations do not allow the luxury of time or the information to be able to ensure that a decision will have guaranteed success. It’s important that as the Financial expert that you give advice and also direction. How comfortable are you in doing this?
Think of 3 examples where you have been required to supply some data or analysis to support a business decision. Did you take the opportunity to put forward clearly your recommendation? Or did you stand back and let the information speak for itself? If pressed for a decision, did you do so with confidence?
I worked with a brilliant Managing Director who made it a policy to ask the opinion of everyone round the table when we were putting together a commercial deal. Even the most junior Sales Manager and Finance Analyst were asked ‘what would they do if it were their money being invested’? The best responses were clear and had a concise rationale but were never over justified.
It’s important to get into the habit of making decisions regularly. As you progress in your career you will be called more frequently to do so. As a Finance Director your decision will carry significant weight. Frequently you will be deferred to as the final authority on the correct course of action.
Think of decision-making as a muscle that has to be regularly exercised. Without frequent use the ability will wither and die.