Developing your Career in Accountancy & Finance - Part 3
Having worked in the sector for many years, I can testify that there is a wealth of developmental and profitable opportunities for individuals who pursue a career in accountancy and finance. In part 3 of my career development series, I walk you through the necessary steps you should take in order to ensure you fully capitalise on your potential to be a highly professional and successful industry accountant!
Steps to boost your Career Development
In addition to familiarising yourself with the technical aspects of your profession, there are many practical steps you can take to ensure that you propel your career in the desired direction. Below, I outline my top 5:
1. Cultivate and develop an interest in people
Taking the time to learn about people completely unrelated to finance may prove to be a wise investment towards furthering your career. Given that the profession is adopting a wider business focus, taking customer behaviour into account, it’s important to familiarise yourself with what makes people tick. Ask others what they do and why they do it. Ask them what’s new and innovative in their field. You can gain remarkable insights from a cab driver, retail clerk, college student, or even government bureaucrat.
2. Learn a language
Although English is the predominant language used in businesses throughout the globe; multi-national corporations operate on an international level and have offices in major cities all around the world. This means that multilingual candidates stand a greater chance of earning the top salaries, and benefiting from the best opportunities for career progression. A recent report by Forfás and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) highlighted the need to improve foreign language skills to meet employers’ needs in exporting companies and recommended boosting foreign languages, such as French, German and Mandarin Chinese, at university level.
3. Study movers and shakers in your field
As the late Dr Wayne Dyer once said, ‘Success leaves clues’, the same applies when attempting to make a success of your career. For this reason, you should study role models within the industry, find out what they are doing to stand out from the rest, thus gaining a valuable lesson in innovation, and practicing it thereafter.
4. Know your worth, and create a Professional Development Plan
Whether it is due to a lack of confidence or the reluctance to take professional risks, many promising individuals fail to acknowledge their potential and thus allow their careers to stagnate. Creating a Professional Development Plan (PDP) is an effective way to assess your skills and qualifications whilst identifying short-term goals and where you want your career path to take you in the long term. Having a clear vision of your strengths and where you see yourself in the future will motivate you to actively seek opportunities for continuous learning and growth, even if that means jumping ship to a different organisation that can better propel your professional development.
In today’s competitive business environment, professional accountants need to prove that they can offer value beyond technical skills and qualifications. Meeting accountancy professionals from outside your organisation is not only a great way to expand your knowledge of current industry news and trends, but also to potentially meet with influencers within your field who can help to further your career in some capacity. However, networking starts within your own organisation, so you need to consider which teams or individuals could enhance your professional development. Consider areas for growth and improvement, and reach out to colleagues who can teach you valuable lessons that you can apply to your career going forward.
About the Author
Michael Quinn is a highly experienced and professional Associate Director for Accountancy & Finance/ Legal across Search Consultancy’s Northwest offices. Not only is he both quality-focused and results-driven, but his extensive background in recruitment has enabled him to embrace, initiate and facilitate change across a wide range of businesses. His goal is to build long term relationships based on trust, and as such he is a firm believer that integrity, honesty, professionalism and hard work generates long term success.
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