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Pathways to Personal Success: Managing Your Accounting Career Path

Pathways to Personal Success: Managing Your Accounting Career Path

The last few years have raised some challenging questions about how we work, where we work, and why we work. More people than ever are choosing to re-evaluate their careers. Am I enjoying what I do, and where I work? Is it time to look at alternatives and, if so, how?

Career planning has always been integral to a successful working life for ambitious professionals, but seldom on such a wide scale as we see today.

Exciting and enticing propositions

The first thing we should note is that developing a career plan is not the sole preserve of a school leaver or graduate just starting out. It is as relevant and beneficial to anyone at any stage of their working life. As industries, commercial environments and technologies evolve, so do opportunities for personal and professional career development.

As an example, consider our profession. The career ladder for the accountant of previous decades was fairly predictable, with a likely progression from newly-qualified CPA, and with hard work, to eventual partner or managing partner in an accountancy firm, or a chief financial officer in a commercial enterprise. While this is still a laudable ambition, there are today many more options to pursue along the way that will appeal to those starting off in the profession, or those seeking to join it from elsewhere. Furthermore, as our profession continues to embrace and adapt to new technologies and ways of working, re-evaluating your career path can be an exciting and enticing proposition.

For example:

  • The rise of accounting technologies (cloud-based services, blockchain, and AI-based analytics to name a few) fuels demand for those passionate about IT
  • In a noisy and competitive world, there is an increasing need for clear, articulate communicators in the accounting profession including those specializing in financial marketing, business development, investor relations, and corporate communications
  • Clients want sustainability expertise from their professional advisors. A specialism in ESG (environmental, social and governance) audit and non-financial disclosure is very likely to become a sought-after credential.

Accounting professionals at any stage of their career can benefit from numerous options such as these. I would recommend taking a look at the new ACCA career navigator, a useful framework which maps experience to competencies and potential career destinations in the profession. ACCA professionals practice across the globe.

Remember your transferable skills and stay flexible

For anyone planning or reviewing their career in accounting, many factors come into play, from reward and motivation to ability and self-fulfillment. The most important step to take, I would say, is finding time for an honest and objective self-assessment of your skills and capabilities, your motivations and what you believe in.

Evaluating your options within our profession could offer pathways to even more enriching prospects. The proliferation of opportunities for personal growth in accountancy means that skills such as negotiation, leadership, communication, people management and coaching (see my previous blog about intangible skills for more on this topic) are valued as much as complex technical expertise in the workplace and play a prominent role in UHY’s continuous professional development programs. In UHY, our member firms continue to invest and participate in UHY’s own bespoke development program for our future leaders developing such non-core skills to ensure continued added value for our clients and colleagues.

Whatever your experience or specialism, my advice would be to stay flexible and keep an open mind.

Job security and fulfillment are the results of working hard at finding or creating opportunities, and being prepared to keep learning: technical and soft skills training is available to support most requirements.

In summary:

  • A successful career strategy will identify the skills and experience gaps between what you have now and what you need to fulfill your ambition and achieve your goals
  • Filling the gaps becomes your career plan, and might include additional training and qualifications, job shadowing or finding a mentor. A number of member firms in the UHY network also offer their staff opportunities to experience other environments such as voluntary or not-for-profit work and to support their local communities.
  • These principles are relevant whether you are looking for progression within your current employment, or outside of it.

We acknowledge these are challenging times for career professionals and recruiters alike, but I also believe they are exciting times, full of opportunity and potential for all.

 

Are you ready to join a career-focused team? Submit your resume through the form to start your UHY journey.

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