Most accountants and professionals set out with great plans for their career. Some go on to meet and even exceed their expectations. Others fail to fulfil early potential and end up stuck or stagnating.
Now let’s not pretend that career progression right now is not a little harder than it was in the height of the booming economy. At the same time there is still demand for good candidates.
When people speak to me about their career and talk about the struggles they face they sometimes take the view that by doing a minimal amount of work on their CV or their interview skills they will somehow transform their career.
The truth is being successful in your career is really a long term, never ending project. Having career success from my perspective is all about consistent progress, development and improvement.
Your career aspirations
Most have never really thought about what they really want from their career. You tend to fall into a profession, get the qualification and muddle along.
Your career plan
You have one don’t you? If not be assured you are not alone. Most never bother to make a plan. As a result they don’t make the right moves at the right time. They don’t acquire additional experience. They are sometimes moving for the sake of it.
Depth of experience is good to a point. It becomes a problem when there is a lack of breadth in your experience. There is always a balance to be struck. Few organisations have room for a purely technical specialist. They want rounded experience.
Once upon a time employers took care of continuing professional development. If you are in a really big corporate organisation this still might be the case. For most continuing professional development will be down to you. Surprisingly people think that their qualifications are enough. They are only really going to get you so far.
Your interpersonal skills
If I had a pound for every time people tell me that they are no good in interviews or at presenting to others I could happily retire. In professions more and more of the traditional processing work is being outsourced. As a result those working at a local level in the business need a whole host of interpersonal skills. You can never do too much development in this area.
Your business skills
Accountants sometimes say that they impact on all areas of the business and that is absolutely true. Yet fewer have a rounded set of business skills. Without these your contribution will always be limited.
Your sector knowledge
Just working in a sector does not give your sector knowledge. You have to get into the heart of the organisation and really find out what drives performance. And the truth is so may just spend all of their time on the numbers rather than really understanding what drives the numbers.
The Bottom Line: If you are not being as successful as you would like in your career, take a look at the list above and start to actively work on improving on at least one area.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants to achieve more career success. Learn more here.
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.