When an Accounting Job Description Doesn’t Match Your Responsibilities

Organizations are slowly waking up to a recent plague that is consuming many accounting employees; they complain saying “My work is not my job.”

Is there a difference between the job and the work? A big one!

It is common knowledge that job applicants beef up their resume to show more than what they can really offer; sometimes though, it works the other way.

Yes, organizations can sometimes exaggerate the job profiles they offer for accountants; this is mostly done when employers feel that the not-so-glamorous work will not attract good talent. At other times, this is unintentional and creeps in slowly after the individual starts working for the company; this is mainly due to poor management in the part of the boss.

Before we see how much a situation can impact us and what we can do to remedy it, let’s first define the terms –

A job is what is advertised; it includes information in the profile, responsibilities, designation and the skills required.

Work on the other hand is what one ends up doing after getting employed. This is the real face of what is advertised (meaning the job) and is what one has to adapt to in order to succeed.

In today’s fast changing work environment it is almost assumed that conditions will change on the fly and meet interviewers will state during the interview that the ideal candidate should expect ‘ad-hoc’ tasks to come up from time to time.

Most of us would quickly nod in agreement when the interviewer states the need for changing duties; why risk losing a perfectly sounding job over remote uncertainties. But when employed, it becomes your responsibility, towards oneself and the employer, to ensure that the actual work remains in sync with the profile.

The impact of not aligning work to the job profile can result in the following;

Loss of Interest – You, as the employee, would most likely expect a certain challenge along with the paycheck and chances are that if you don’t find that job satisfaction, you can quickly get frustrated and bored.

Loss of Efficiency – More from the perspective of the employer, if the employee is not given the job as per the profile, chances are that there would be a mismatch in task to skill mapping. This would make the results less efficient.

Limited Credit – Very often the ad-hoc tasks do not have significant impact; doing them will take effort and time but doesn’t always result in appreciation.

Loss of Respect – Supporting smaller jobs and running less impactful processes will reduce your importance in the organization and lessen your image in the eyes of colleagues.

No Pay Hikes / Promotions – If an employee doesn’t perform (due to lack of interest or relevant skills) the chances of year-end bonuses are bleak.

Attrition – Not a good scenario for either the employee or the employer; changing jobs should be a last measure, but th?? seemingly easy option, ?t i? often resorted to.

But there’s hope; here’s what you can do if you find yourself in such a situation;

1. Rationalize – Not all extra work is bad; sometimes when you start a job you have to be broken it with smaller tasks so that you can shoulder bigger responsibility. Try and understand how the work fits in with the overall job profile.

2. Research – The Internet makes the world a lot easier to navigate and you should use this tool along with conversations with colleagues to analyze whether the activities you’re doing are actually part of the job. If so, switching employers will still land you in a similar situation, not resolving the situation.

3. Discuss – Most issues can be sorted by having a candid conversation with the right set of people, in this case, your manager. With an open mind bring up the activities that seem to be outside your scope of work; listen to what your manager has to say and fall back to the previous point in rationalization.

4. Accept – All jobs have some amount of unintelligent tasks associated with them. While you will not like the tasks in the job description written by the employer, you should accept it as part of a better whole.

5. Act – If nothing else works, take control of your career and act accordingly. If you work in a profile for a long time, you may not be able to break out of it even by switching jobs. It is best to correct the situation as soon as you realize that the job is not working out for you.

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