We are fortunate to work with a lot of cpa firms. As a result, we hear day in and day out about the many challenges they face. The number one challenge right now for most firms is succession planning. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a firm ask about getting the younger people involved, I could retire a rich women right now. Recently, I have given several interviews and been asked what advice I would give to someone interested in advancing in their public accounting career. Here are my four must haves for career progression.
1. Invest in yourself. If you are waiting for permission or for your firm to do it for you, STOP. If you want to progress in your career, you have to invest in yourself. Yes, many firms provide training and support this, but many others do not. And, truth be told- you have some ownership hear. If you want to learn how to develop business, don’t wait for them to mandate networking hours or offer sales training. Take it upon yourself to read and teach, mentor or invest in training.
2. ABL- always be learning. I am a firm believer that the second you stop learning is the second you stop progressing. I don’t care if you have 5 years of experience or 50. Reading is my go too, but videos, seminars and ongoing education (not just technical education) also work too. Think beyond your required continue education classes to the skills that will help you stand out- like your ability to manage or communicate better. These are things you can’t put a price tag on, they are less of a commodity than just technical skills.
3. Challenge the status quo. Very few people get ahead by not having an opinion. If you talk to most of the successful leaders and you listen to their stories, you will hear all them mentioned challenging the status quo at some point. Now, I am not advocating doing this just because. Be intentional and thoughtful about what and where you challenge, but don’t be afraid to speak up when you see an opportunity.
4. Follow through. Credibility and trust are critical to helping your career advance. Nothing builds more credibility and trust more than follow-through. A trait we often overlook, but simply doing what you say you will do and owning the responsibility to make sure it gets done can make you extremely valuable to your organization.
While success is a complicated puzzle, applying these four traits can help propel your career in the right direction.