5 Reasons Why Accountants Hit The Career Glass Celing

We all know that people who have made the effort to get professionally qualified in accountancy are highly talented people with huge potential.

Despite this a huge number of them quickly hit the career glass ceiling and never realise anything like their personal and earning potential.

Having worked in accountancy for over 25 years and coached many clients within the accounting profession, there seems to be a number of reasons why they hit the glass ceiling.

Reason 1: They Hide Behind Their Computer

I don’t mean this literally.  The essence of what I am saying is that they spend all of their time manipulating data and number crunching rather than getting to know about and supporting the business.

Reason 2: They Can’t Manage Others

Most accountants I worked with were great at getting things done.  They have the ability to get through volumes of work.  On the other hand a lot less of them excel when it comes to managing others.  Too often this seems to go on to the too difficult pile.

Reason 3: They Can’t Present

Technical content is always difficult to get across in an engaging way.  Rather than trying to think creatively about how to overcome this they often just present more detail or use more jargon.

Reason 4: They Underestimate What They Have To Offer

Accountancy exams are extremely broad in scope these days.  They are in my view equivalent to and possibly more rigorous than an MBA.  Rather than letting people know what they can offer they are often too narrow in focus when it comes to selling themselves.

Reason 5: They Think Soft Skills Are Optional

32 years ago when I started out in accountancy you could get by even if you had pretty poor soft or interpersonal skills.  These days the role has changed so much that these soft skills are really what gets you to the more senior levels in accountancy.

The Bottom Line:  While many accountants get stuck in their career, it is often small changes in the way they operate and sell themselves that helps them to once again get clmbing the career ladder.

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps accountants to achieve the more career success.  He invites you to sign up for his free audio masterclass

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

Leave a Comment:

clement says 20 June 2012

This is good

Duncan Brodie says 20 June 2012


Really appreciate the feedback.

Always good to know that it is valuable.


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