Péter Békési

Getting even


Péter Békési

In my line of work, getting the job done means getting even. That may sound extreme for an accountant, but the debits and credits have to match up.

I lead a team of accountants in Budapest, where we oversee the intercompany balances for our German and Italian businesses. My team’s job is to literally check that the numbers add up. The statement we work on is part of the report that is sent to the U.S. stock exchange each month, and if the bottom line isn’t zero, we have a problem.

You have to be meticulous, focused and able to work quickly to do this job well, and that’s what I love about it. But there’s another element that goes into it—the ability to lead a team. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers, but overseeing a group of accountants takes more than knowing how to operate a calculator.

My job goes beyond day-to-day management. I want to make sure my fellow team members aren’t burning the midnight candle and have a healthy work-life balance.

My ability to delegate, but also clearly communicate, has helped get me where I am today. I actually think my years in the U.S., where I went to high school and college, helped me develop these skills. That experience changed me. My time in the States truly buoyed my confidence. We Hungarians can be a little shy, and my time in America gave me the skills that are helping me lead my team of accountants today.

I also spend a lot of time traveling to universities to talk with students about ExxonMobil careers. In Hungary we don’t have Exxon or Mobil gas stations, so many people aren’t familiar with the company. I kid you not, sometimes I have to clarify that we are not a mobile phone company.

At ExxonMobil my job is to balance the books, but where I really try to “get even” is by sharing what I learned through my overseas and professional career experiences with potential new employees—and with the people on my team.