You’re an ambitious accountant and want to do well in your career.
Of course wanting to do well in your career and actually achieving success is often very different.
Over the 40+ years I’ve seen really variation on what accountants achieve.
So what tips would I offer to help you increase the chances of achieving success in your accounting career?
#1 Continually look for ways to improve things in your organisation
You can turn up, do an okay job and get so far.
On the other hand if you’re the type of person who actively looks to improve things you will stand out
#2 Keep developing your skills
This is an area you would assume every accountant really embraces.
Sadly it’s so easy to get consumed by the demands of the job and not focus sufficiently on growing and developing your skills.
Skills development really is what keeps you relevant and enhances the value of your professional qualifications.
#3 Know your strengths and weaknesses
Get clear about what you are good at and what you find more of a struggle.
For these areas that are more of struggle, find someone in the team who can complement your strengths.
#4 Take on new challenges
What I’ve realised over the course of my career is that the most significant learning and growth came when I was working on new things.
Ideally things or areas where you really don’t know all the right steps.
#5 Actively seek out feedback from others
They say feedback is the breakfast of champions.
Now that might sound a bit corny.
On the other hand feedback really is the basis for improving or even doing more of what you are really good at.
#6 Be clear about what you are heading
Think about what you want from your career and how far you want to go.
Why? Because it will help you make the right decisions at different points in your career.
Also, the decisions you make will very much depend on how far you want to go in your career.
#7 Be clear about the sacrifices you are and are not willing to make
It’s easy to think you can have it all.
What I’ve found in my career and seen in others who have done well in their career is that there is some sacrifices involved.
#8 Focus on achievements when writing a CV
Your CV is your personal marketing document. It determines whether you get the all important job interview invite.
The biggest mistake I see over and over again when it comes to CVs is that there is too much focus on responsibilities and not enough focus on achievements.
#9 Prepare thoroughly for job interviews
It will give you a huge edge over other candidates.
What I’ve discovered from asking people how long they spend preparing for job interviews is that only about 20% spend enough time preparing for job interviews.
By enough I mean at least 10 hours preparation.
#10 Be quietly confident in your abilities
You are no doubt highly competent and good at what you do.
Believe in yourself and your value.
This isn’t about being arrogant but just recognising what you can offer.
#11 Don’t pretend that you know it all
We are all continual work in progress.
Acknowledge you don’t know it all and be honest when you don’t have the answer.
#12 Be able to build relationships with others
This is vital to your success as an accountant.
The quality of the relationships you build and nurture impacts on the trust and respect you get.
It also impacts on your ability to influence.
#13 Focus on the long term
Career success is achieved over the medium to longer term.
Think more in terms of marathon and less in terms of a sprint.
#14 Have clear criteria when making decisions about changing jobs
This makes sure that you make job moves for the right reasons and at the right time.
Job hopping might seem a great idea but just make sure you really have got maximum benefit from your current role.
#15 Take control and take responsibility for your career
It is at the end of the day your career. Yes others can help and advise.
But taking control and responsibility will ensure you actively managing your career.