Rethinking Finance Careers: Five Key Takeaways From Three Weir ESCO Finance Professionals
13 October 2022
Finance careers are often considered a strong fit for people who are detail-oriented and data-focused. And while those attributes are essential for anyone in the field, the role of today’s corporate finance positions have evolved. Career growth opportunities, global exposure, digital transformation and true business partnership have, according to some finance professionals at Weir ESCO, become meaningful and motivating drivers of their jobs.
How do you know where to start? And what is it like to be in finance and accounting for a mining engineering company and global manufacturer? Three colleagues were challenged to think unconventionally about their careers at Weir ESCO: Senior Manager, Operations Finance, TianTian Qian, Regional Finance Director for North America, Erica Mishler, and Finance Process Leader, Dave Baumgartner.
Each team member has stepped into different finance and accounting roles with different professional goals and ambitions. They recently opened up about how they have paved their own professional pathway to a meaningful finance career with Weir ESCO.
1. Finance careers are evolving in a dynamic field
For Dave and Erica, financial planning and accounting for a well-established mining engineering company is about providing solutions in a collaborative and dynamic business environment that allows your business partners to make informed decisions. Both colleagues joined Weir ESCO five years ago and say they appreciate the work culture at Weir ESCO that enables them to fail fast, experiment with digital tools and learn new skills to better support their customers.
2. Lean into the role of business partner
Finance professionals serve as high-impact, influential advisors. While responsibilities vary, being close to the business you serve is an essential part of the role. Erica’s career progression, first as senior financial analyst at the global level and then as director in a regional capacity, has motivated her to continue building relationships. “Building true business partnerships is the real value of finance in this organization,” said Erica on working with multiple departments. She says this keeps her work interesting and exciting.
3. Define your path and seek opportunity
Staying ahead of the curve and exploring your career potential means speaking up, asking questions and raising your hand for opportunities. “You have so much power over your own growth—your knowledge of the business and the numbers have a high impact,” TianTian shared, who has the most international experience out of the trio. All three colleagues agreed that career development means taking ownership of your potential with manager support, such as asking to shadow a project or creating your own development plan.
4. Rethink how to gain global exposure
TianTian originally started her career in Xuzhou, China, before transferring to the U.S. and back again. She is currently based in Georgia, U.S., to be closer to the manufacturing sites she supports, while overseeing a team of three people. “Moving between regions helped me learn how a global company operates and what impact I can have in those operations. It taught me to look beyond my limitations and gave me the ambition to keep growing,” she shared. But your office location should not keep you from learning how the ESCO business works in different parts of the world, advocates Dave, who is based in Portland but supports internal customers globally.
5. Find a mentor and mentor others
There is a lot to learn in a global finance role. Having a mentor help guide you through the process can accelerate your development, and ensure well-rounded learning and growth. For more than 16 years, TianTian has had mentors who have advocated and supported her career journey, and she pays it forward as a people manager by nurturing the next generation of finance leaders. Erica, also a people manager, offers up some advice: remember to bring others along with you on the journey. “When you can, mentor or teach someone else. It allows you to test your understanding of your own part of the business and support their development,” she added.