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From a Present Clinician to a Prospective CFO: A Shift in Professional Paradigm

April 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 154

Approximately 7 years ago, I began my professional career in the Drug and Alcohol treatment field in an entry-level capacity with a relatively large and well-respected organization. I was 21 years of age and eager to learn and grow within the ranks of the organization. I was grateful that I was given the opportunity to be amongst experienced staff that were willing to teach me how to deliver services to the vulnerable populations that were served by this organization. At that time, I had absolutely no idea of the professional journey I would be embarking on.

As time went on, my commitment to the organization's core values, philosophy, and vision/mission statements were matched by the management's commitment to continue to expand my skill set. I also took it upon myself to reinvest in my pursuit for Higher Education and returned to college to complete my Undergraduate Degree. By the time I had been employed with the organization for 3 years, I had been promoted twice. The first time was to a higher counselor position and the second time was to a position in which I became the liaison between the individuals being served and the funding sources. Until the time I moved into that position, I was relatively clueless about the monetary aspects of treatment, but it broadened my perspective tremendously.

For the first time, I was able to see that there were more individuals being served then the ones that we saw every day in the program. There was a whole new set of clients that the program served as we had to explain, rationalize, and advocate for the clients to ensure that they could receive the treatment that they needed. I was able to see the billing and accounting aspects of treatment and quickly came to realize that without this revenue that I was responsible for monitoring, tracking, and ensuring that it was obtained and maintained, the services that we provided would potentially cease to exist. I was able to see the importance of understanding various internal control systems, in this regard, that helped me to stay on top of these things because without them, the magnitude of the losses and potential continued losses would have been devastating.

Still not thinking about pursuing future education in business management, I completed my Bachelor of Social Work Degree. However, prior to the completion of that degree, I took interest in policy classes that were elements of the Social Work curriculum. I took note again to the fiscal elements of policy and thought about my work. I thought about the challenges that programs and businesses face, especially in tough economic times. In hindsight, I was really asking one of the fundamental questions of economics. How does an entity work to increase the quantity and/or quality of output (goods and/or services) when the resources are fixed or, at times, declining?

It was then that I began to think more about business and how it relates to the social services field. I also began to think about the importance of managerial accounting and how it can be used to direct the services being delivered. It was at this point, that I thought about pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree because I do expect that someday I will be moving into middle/upper management and with the training and perspectives offered by understanding the business side of various entities, including non-profits, I would be more effective as a manager.

When I share with some of my friends that I have decided to pursue this degree, they look at my with a look that screams confusion. I share with them that one of the things that I have noticed in the time that I have been in the social services field, that I see a lot of managers/directors that understand how to deliver quality treatment, but they do not know how to use business skills to influence the delivery of treatment. Essentially, the social service field is a business, it just so happens that the area of focus is a business of helping individuals to save/change their lives. I plan to be a manager or prospective CFO that understands both sides of the equation the treatment aspect, as well as, the business aspect and as of right now, in an entry level supervisory clinical position and enrolled in a MBA, I am well on my way.

Source: EzineArticles
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Managerial Accounting


Social Services As A Business


Prospective Cfo

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