When I started out in accounting 37 years ago, things were very different.
For example there were significantly fewer qualified accountants.
Those who had the qualification were more or less assured of getting to a fairly senior level.
Fast forward to now and the landscape is different.
More qualified accountants, more competition, greater expectations and the changing role are all making it tougher.
When I did some research of my own, 63% of respondents said it was more or significantly more challenging to reach a senior level these days.
All of the respondents were people who had already made it to a senior level.
These days it’s no good just being technically gifted and being qualified.
You never go far in your accounting career unless you can:
Deliver results through others
The teams you manage, lead and are part of are what really makes the difference.
And it’s surprising how often accountants neglect developing the skills and qualities to deliver results through others.
Build relationships with a wide and diverse group of people
Being highly regarded among your colleagues in the finance function is important.
But it’s nowhere near as important as being able to work in partnership with a wide range of people with different interests, priorities and aspirations to you.
Contribute beyond the numbers
Yes everything has impact or consequences financially and you need to be able to highlight this.
What will really make you stand out is your ability to contribute ideas and insights in areas where you are not the expert.
You can only do that if you understand the business.
Broaden your experience
I’m not one who favours job hopping.
Equally I know how dangerous it can be to become too comfortable.
Always be looking to broaden your experience.
Market and sell you
You have to get in front of people which in reality means being able to create an effective CV in the first instance to get the invitation for interview.
Once you have the interview you have to be able to sell you in the job interview.
It’s surprising how many struggle with this.
Things change quickly and you have to stay up to date with current thinking.
Your CPD (and I don’t just mean seminars and courses) is key these days.
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.