Don’t Focus Here If You Want To Build A Successful Accounting Career

Those who get a professional accounting qualification clearly have a lot of potential.

Even though there are far more qualified accountants here in the UK than when I started out in my career, the number with professional qualifications is still comparatively small in percentage terms.

There is one big danger that you need to be alert to if you want to build a successful accounting career.

So what is it?

Focusing on what I refer to as the tip of the iceberg.

What I mean by that is seeing just the person who has reached a senior level.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of value in learning from others.

Equally there are dangers too.

For example:

Assuming there is a right path

I often hear people worrying that they have taken the wrong path in terms of sectors or size of business.

There isn’t a wrong path.  You made the choices for a reason.

Assuming they had some big break

Yes there may have been one or two things that helped them at various stages.

On the other hand it’s rarely some big break.

Professions like accounting rarely work like that.

Assuming there is a short cut

I’m definitely of the view that building a successful career in accounting is less like a sprint and more like a marathon.

Sure you might get some phases when you accelerate and progress at pace.

However this is rarely sustainable for the vast majority, especially as you make progress in your career.

So what’s my top tips if you want to build a successful career in accounting?

  1. Think long term, 10 years plus.
  2. Take care with job moves, don’t job hop for the sake of it.
  3. Pick a sector you really care about.  It will make a huge difference to your drive and motivation.
  4. Get as much breadth of experience as you can and don’t restrict your focus to just the numbers.
  5. Develop yourself continuously to future proof your career.
  6. Be a good all rounder.  Those who are just technically brilliant can only go so far in my experience.

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.

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