20 Career Myths That Accountants and Professionals Need To Avoid

You know that as an accountant or professional, you have the potential to build a successful career.

Perhaps you are making good progress in your career.  Alternatively you might be finding it a challenge right now.

Wherever you are in your professional career right now, there are some myths that you need to avoid if you are going to achieve the success you want in your career.

So what are the 20 myths?


It’s easy to build a career

Nothing that’s rewarding in the long run is easy.  Careers are no exception.

Building a career isn’t easy, whatever others might tell you.


It’s all about qualifications

You need the qualifications to be able to take the professional exams. 

You need qualifications to move beyond a certain level in your professional field.

However more qualifications doesn’t necessarily mean more career success.

You need a degree

Degree level education has become more and more common.  When I started out in accountancy, most went into accountancy straight from school.

These days many professions offer apprenticeships as an alternative route to a professional qualification.

You can have it all

Moving up the career ladder involves sacrifices.  It would be nice to believe you can have it all.

Reality is that choosing to move up the career ladder typically means some sort of sacrifice.  Commonly more hours in work.


Your boss will look after your career

40 years ago when there was far greater organisational stability and fewer people moving jobs regularly, this may have been true.

A good boss will help you progress your career.  It’s you who has to take charge at the end of the day.

It’s about who you know

A good network will open doors for you, which is helpful.

Ultimately you still have to convince the employer you are a great candidate.

The number of years’ experience you have counts

Yes to a point.  If you have 20 years doing basically the same thing, you may well lack breadth.

If you are in a profession that’s going through a lot of change, you might find that a lot of your experience is redundant.

You have to change jobs every 2 years

You don’t.  Equally it’s important to make sure that you don’t stay in a job when it’s no longer a challenge. 

There’s a fast track

A small percentage get on fast track programmes at the start of their career.  This gets them to a level quicker than others.

However, there is no fast track over the long term. 

Those that are the best technically are the most successful

Those that are brilliant technically may well progress in the early stages of their career.

Technical skills alone rarely get you to more senior level roles.

You have to have gone to a certain school or university

There may be pockets of professions where this is still true.  

It might get you in the door initially, but won’t necessarily mean longer term career success.

It’s all about being good at your job

Being good at your job won’t do you any harm.  At the same time doing a good job is just expected these days.

The value you bring is what sets you apart. 

It’s all about luck

You do need a bit of luck from time to time.  

Ultimately it’s about creating your own luck and being willing to take a chance at some points in your career.

Technology and automation is going to eliminate many professional roles

Technology will have an impact.  It’s not going to decimate the role of the professional any time soon in my view.

What it will do is present the opportunity for accountants and professionals to do more value adding work.

You are too young, old, inexperienced

There are always going to be barriers, whatever stage you are at in your career.

It’s how you respond to them that matters.

There needs to be plenty of opportunities

The reality is that there needs to be the right type of opportunities that are a good fit for you.

What matters is relevant opportunities, not the number of opportunities.

You are irreplaceable

You’re not.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the department or organisation would fall apart if you left.

Everyone is replaceable.

You are more important than the organisation

Staff come and go.  No employee is ever bigger than the organisation.

People will notice your contribution

In the ideal world this would be true.  In the real world you have to learn to talk positively about your contribution.

Otherwise you may be the best kept secret. 

CPD is optional

Perhaps in the past this was the case.

These days less so.  Why?  Because organisations change more and face greater and often newer challenges.

Your CPD keeps you relevant and ensures you continue to be an asset rather than an expense.
In truth building a successful career as an accountant or professional is tough.  At the same time avoiding many of the common myths can increase your chances of success in my experience.