How To Successfully Make The Steps Up The Accountancy Career Ladder

Like most accountants you are ambitious.

In accountancy there tends to be quite a well defined career path or career ladder.

You start out as a technician or the person who does a lot of accounting tasks.

Do this well and you are likely to move into a role where you are responsible for a small team.

You then become a manager of a bigger team.

Depending on your career aspirations you might then step up to a leadership role.

Some will make the transitions at each stage seamlessly.

Others will find it more of a struggle.

So what would I suggest you pay attention to in order to make the steps up the accountancy career ladder successfully?


Every job from the outside looking in looks easy.


Because you don’t really know in detail what the job at the next level is really like.

For that reason you need to spend time finding out:

  • What the job at the next level really involves
  • What skills are most important to success at the next level
  • What attributes are most important at the next level
  • What challenges you are likely to face at the next level
  • What mistakes have others made that you want to try and avoid if you can.

The easiest way to do this is to speak to people who are at the level you are seeking to step up to.


It would be nice if you could step up to the next level and feel at home straight away.

In reality it is never like that.

Initially it can be a struggle.

When it is a struggle it can quickly impact on your self confidence and self belief.

Recognise that this is completely normal and maintain a sense of realism.

Step Up

If there is one thing that I noticed among accountants and professionals generally is that they think they can do the new job plus what they were previously doing.

You can’t do two jobs well.

In truth you can only do two jobs to an average standard.

It’s much better to step up and do your new job well.

After all this is what your success is being measured on.

Develop and Grow

You can’t see your professional development and growth as an optional extra if you want to be successful in your career.

Surprisingly many pay lip service to their professional development.

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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