Gain expert insights on levelling up your accounting career.
The best accounting career advice you’ll ever receive
“The people with the best advice are those who have been through the most,” someone once said. We believe that statement makes a whole lot of sense. When you take advice, including accounting career advice, consider the source.
We’ve done just that in rounding up the best accounting career advice from a few sources and by asking a couple of leaders in the industry, who’ve picked up a thing or two about building and maintaining an accounting career over their years of experience.
So if you’d like some expert insight on taking your career in accounting to the next level, keep reading.
Make a plan and find a mentor
“Build a plan for where you want to be in 10 years and work out the skills you will need to build over that time frame. Find a mentor who can guide you and hold you accountable to your plan,” says Nick Sinclair. Before founding TOA Global, Nick successfully ran his own accounting and financial planning firm.
“The most important part: add more value,” he says. “The more value you provide to your clients and where you work, the more your career will advance.”
Build specific skills
Aaron Dunn, CEO and co-founder of Smarter SMSF, echoes Nick’s advice about providing value. He also advises developing specific skills.
“The best accounting career advice I’ve ever received as a youngster starting out was to build specific skills for your role,” says Aaron. “Become an expert at something that increases your value and importance over time. This happened for me when I first started doing SMSF-based work. Legislative changes were happening, and I got really good at them, to the extent that others relied on my knowledge and it increased my value to the organization.”
Keep up with developments in technology
Recruitment firms are advising accountants to keep their technology skills fresh. Cloud accounting software, for example, is one piece of technology that has changed the way accountants do business. Organizations are no longer seeking accountants who know how to crunch numbers, but who can keep the business competitive by using the technology – whether it’s cloud accounting software or being able to look at data analytics and leveraging those insights for the business.
Don’t forget your soft skills
Soft skills are just as important as technical skills in an accounting career. They’re so important, in fact, that Ab2 Institute of Accounting, an education provider 100% focused on accounting, offers short courses that focus on soft skills.
Soft skills are what you use when dealing with people, be they clients or co-workers. They’re interpersonal skills that include empathy, communication, conflict resolution, time management, and decision-making.
We’ve all encountered situations that involve a sensitive topic and where you may have had to adapt your tone or the words you use to handle the situation effectively. That’s using your soft skills. Or perhaps you were able to calm down an angry client. Those are your soft skills at work, too. You can see just how important they are not only in business, but outside of work, too.
Be selective about who you work for
You may know the accounting industry is experiencing a talent shortage. This is actually an advantage for you if you’re in the market for a new job in accounting.
Being selective about who you work for means not accepting the first job offer you receive without really considering the other options. Ideally, a firm or organization that has a great company culture, values its employees, offers professional development opportunities, and embraces diversity may be a great organization to work for.
“Be a part of a company that values and supports the professional growth of its employees,” says Akemi Boyd, Head of Accounting at TOA Global. “While you are still early in your accounting career, it is important that you lay down a strong foundation for yourself. Get all the experience you can get, learn all you can, challenge yourself.”
It’s rare that a highly skilled individual will settle into a job that doesn’t enable them to learn and grow. So before accepting a job offer, you might want to think about whether the role offers growth opportunities.
You’ll have probably noticed that much of the best career advice you’ll ever receive has to do with continual learning. Knowledge is indeed power – by acquiring new skills, you’re setting yourself up for success by staying in-demand and advancing your career. Not to mention the value you would be providing an employer.
And be picky about the employer you choose to work for. Great employees deserve great places to work, and these great places are invested in their employees’ professional development. If you’d like an accounting job at a great place to work, head on over to TOA Global Careers and apply for a job today.