Taking control of your accounting career progression by developing a plan means you’re actively involved rather than sitting back and reacting to what comes to you. In other words, you can’t just hope everything falls into place, you have to plan and be ready for everything.
This can be started in the following general ways at first. Write down information to:
Find out what motivates you and highlight your areas of strength and weakness in regard to your future accounting career. Is there a specific accounting job that allows you to use your strengths while building on your weaker points?
Explore the Possibilities
Research areas of accounting by reading online, talking with current CPAs and those in other accountancy roles. Develop contacts and ask questions. The more information you get, the smoother your path. If possible, volunteer or seek internship opportunities to find out more about the work involved in certain accounting jobs.
Develop Goals – Use all the information gathered about career options for accountants and your self assessment report to come up with goals to guide your career. Accounting career planning depends on well-defined goals. The goals are designed to track progress and note what still needs to be done. If you go off track, you can include changes needed to get moving straight ahead again.
Part of setting goals is knowing what skills – and certificates and training – you’ll need. These fall into three broad categories:
- Developing Technical Skills – Professionals in accounting value technical proficiency, meaning that to rise up the ranks in any organization you will require extra technical skills. From financial reporting to project management, technical skills allow you to become an expert in your chosen field of accountancy and assist colleagues when needed.
- Improving Communication Skills – Handling a management job requires regular communication with colleagues, junior staff as well as clients. To ensure that you have everyone working as a team you will need to communicate well, through writing or speaking.
- Building Sales Skills – Even as you work for different companies aim to develop relationships with clients and potential ones as well. These relationships can be harnessed when in need of information about the services being offered or converting potentials to actual clients.
Eventually any plan has to start otherwise it’s just theory. Pick a date or an event – graduation for instance. Begin to implement your plan and always move forward but be flexible for change as you learn more.
The steps may be slow for accounting graduates at first and you may have to make adjustments along the way as you learn more. Your career plan does not have to encompass your entire working career in accounting – use 5 or 10 year plans and build them out as you get closer.
Planning Equals Accounting Career Progression Efficiency
Having a plan means you don’t have to second-guess every step you take to advance. Executing your goals is the best way to climb up the career ladder, otherwise it’s just an empty plan. You’ve likely previously heard about the idea of developing a personal career plan, and yes it does take some work. But if you don’t make the effort, you’ll only be frustrated by the slow pace of your career advancement.
Do you think a Master’s degree would be right for you? Check out our Master of Accountancy program.