While there’s no single formula to succeed in accounting, or in any other profession, there are some things that increase your odds of becoming a happy, fulfilled and successful accountant. Having the right attitude is one.
More than talent, your mindset is a more accurate predictor for success.
The most hardworking or smartest accountants don’t necessarily make it to the top if they rely on those qualities alone. Employing the proper mentality—a growth mindset, specifically—can boost do a lot for your career and science has shown that it’s true.
Growth mentality vs. fixed mentality
Psychologist and author Carol Dweck has done decades of research on the positive effects of having the right mindset on success. According to her findings, your mindset predicts your achievements; that the way you think will affect your ability.
A growth mindset—one that sees failure as an opportunity to learn—is key to enhancing your abilities and becoming better at something as opposed to a fixed mindset, a mentality that’s rooted from the idea that one has innate abilities that he or she cannot change.
The former has a more positive approach to failure, and that is to look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow while the latter simply sees it as a failure.
Individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to take on challenging tasks—even with the risk of failure—because they look at it as an opportunity to acquire fresh knowledge or a new skill which they can use in the future.
How can you use this to succeed as accountants?
For one, this kind of mentality is beneficial in motivating one’s self through positive talk, for example. It helps prevent self-doubt especially during times when there’s too much work to accomplish. In an article for Accounting Web, Richard Hattersley mentioned that accountants are prone to a fixed mindset because of the “tendency to label themselves in a pigeonhole.”
That’s mainly because the bulk of their work is analytical and technical. Some accountants limit themselves because their tasks don’t really push them to go beyond the routine.
But now that the industry is changing, it’s important for accountants to shift their way of thinking. To remain relevant, you need the right mindset.
Here are some tips:
Be more confident with your skills.
Stop doubting your abilities and be more willing to take on tasks that will push you to try new things. Explore new territories. If you’re used to compliance, why not be more proactive and upskill? Learn more about financial advisory, for instance.
Look at challenges (and failure) differently.
No one wants to fail at anything but it’s inevitable that we do poorly at certain aspects of our work. The idea of failing—or even making a mistake—is awful for many because it reflects poorly on their skills.
However, to grow as an accountant, you must be comfortable with the idea of making errors because that’s the only way to grow. Mistakes will teach what to avoid and what to improve on.
Be more self-aware.
Know when you’re exhibiting a fixed mindset. Be aware of instances when you are limiting yourself. That consciousness is crucial in shifting your mentality so always be mindful of the signs.
Removing this limiting mindset will help you see yourself in another light. You’ll discover you’re more creative, resourceful and more open to ideas and suggestions. You will no longer be too sensitive when it comes to feedback and easily brush off negative comments.
Be curious and eager to learn.
Focus your efforts on learning. As the industry continues to evolve, new ways of doing work will emerge and you must be ready to adapt. Asking questions is one way to do that. Learn from your peers. Be curious about new technology, workflows, and processes. At the same time, be proactive in acquiring new skills.
The bottom line is you should keep on pushing yourself to become better at what you do. The way you think will impact your practice, so make sure you’re employing the right mentality.
Adopt a growth mindset and see how your practice improves.
We are committed to empowering our accountants and team members through learning and development courses made available at our learning portal, TOA Academy.
If you want a career that will allow you room for professional and personal growth, be part of TOA Global. Check out job opportunities for you here.