Tell us about what you do at BNP Paribas.
I perform a monthly reconciliation of our accounting records and the actual economic results of the Capital Markets and Treasury activities, here in North America. In a perfect world, there would be no discrepancies between our operational results and the figures recorded by accounting. But in the real world, that is almost never the case! My role is to investigate these discrepancies by working with back and middle office operations staff, as well as the accounting teams.
What causes these discrepancies?There are several explanations that could be given, whether it be a difference of methodology, a lapse of time, changing norms, fluctuating exchange rates, etc. We are always working to improve our processes by automating whatever we can.
In every case, the goal of Profit & Loss (P&L) reconciliation is to keep these discrepancies in our results to an absolute minimum; hence the risk of presenting less accurate results is low.
What qualities does it take to do this job?
It takes strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills, because we spend a lot of time discussing our results in meetings, asking questions and interacting with other businesses.
Keeping a tactful disposition when investigating accounts is crucial to creating a climate of trust.
You joined BNP Paribas in March 2015. What brought you here?
For me, joining the bank gave me the perfect opportunity to reconcile accounting and finance, if you will. Prior to that, I worked for an insurance company and then at a telecommunications company, but keeping account of phone lines was not really my cup of tea. So when I saw BNP Paribas post a P&L reconciliation analyst job offer in Montreal, where I live, I jumped at the opportunity.
Now I understand how the bank’s international presence and its multicultural dimension create opportunities for all of its employees, no matter where they are.
What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
Improving data quality as regulations become more and more stringent: new standards imposed by the US Federal Reserve, introduction of new IT systems and shorter deadlines for closing accounting books.
“ Stay motivated, demonstrate your thirst to learn and, above all, always be yourself. ”