Getting professionally qualified in accountancy is tough. You have to make a huge investment of time, money and make a lot of sacrifices along the way. Most do it because they recognise the long term benefits.
Of course getting professionally qualified is just the start point. To really take advantage of the potential opportunity that a professional qualification offers you have to keep developing. What I have noticed that there is huge variations when it comes to CPD.
The trouble is that if you don’t continually develop professionally and personally you can get left behind. Others move faster than you, if you are not careful end up missing the boat and don’t achieve anything approaching your potential in terms of career success.
Having worked with and mentored hundreds of accountants, what are some of the biggest mistakes I noticed when it comes to CPD?
Biggest Mistake 1: Not Doing Any CPD
It is really tempting to get engrossed in all the things you have to do. The only problem with this is that you just tend to get better at the things you are already pretty competent at. There is no real growth and you don’t become more marketable.
Biggest Mistake 2: Doing Random CPD
By this I mean going along to events or doing training which is free to collect CPD points instead of targeting your CPD to what you want to achieve professionally.
While better than doing nothing it is likely to have limited impact on helping you progress your career.
Biggest Mistake 3: Being Too Narrow In Your CPD
While you need to keep up to date technically, if all you do is technical development you are unlikely to go too far in your career. The reason for this is that beyond a certain level what is commonly referred to as soft skills become even more important.
People are looking for you to be much more rounded the more senior you become. As a result it is vital to have a broad range of skills and qualities.
Biggest Mistake 4: Being Too Qualification Focused
Qualifications have their place. One of the most commonly asked questions on one of the LinkedIn Groups I belong to is whether it is worth doing an MBA. It really does depend.
Unlike a professional qualification where you study your MBA makes a big difference. It is also a massive investment of time and money. Often you can achieve just as much benefit from taking a series of short courses and taking on some internal business project. Make sure it really is the right thing before investing.
Biggest Mistake 5: Not Using All The Methods Of Delivery Open To You
Online learning, podcasts, webinars, videos, blogs and even e-courses or audio courses are all time efficient alternatives to a traditional course or workshop. You can even work with your own personal mentor or coach.
The Bottom Line: CPD is no longer an optional extra if you want to be successful in your accountancy career.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants in industry; commerce and the public sector achieve more career success. He invites you to sign up for his free report The 7 Biggest Barriers To A Successful Career In Accountancy.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 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.