Whether you’re a tax analyst for a midsize business or a financial controller with a multinational corporation, you’ve likely contemplated ways to get ahead in the accounting and finance fields. Career growth and advancement are the result of a bit of luck and lots of hard work. Read on for some career advice that will help you position yourself for a promotion.
Take the initiative
Don’t wait for opportunity to knock. Let your manager know you’re interested in working on more challenging projects, pursuing additional job training or taking on more leadership roles. Even if a promotion isn’t currently possible at your organization, management will keep you in mind when a position opens up later or when they think about succession planning. Your drive will not go unnoticed, especially if you continue to be a highly engaged and motivated employee.
Find your niche
In the current specialist economy, it’s more important than ever to identify your niche and establish yourself as an expert in that area. According to the Robert Half report The Specialist Economy, CFOs are especially looking for:
Financial analysts with both functional expertise and outstanding communication skills to help senior management make better business decisions.
Business systems analysts who are equally at ease in the finance and IT worlds.
Senior accountants with a certified public accountant (CPA) license and several years of experience.
Cost accountants with strong analytical skills to help companies, especially those in manufacturing, contain costs.
For faster career advancement, whether you’re seeking an internal promotion or looking at other firms, align your skills, certifications and professional development with an in-demand specialty.
Continue your education
Regardless of how many years you’ve been in the finance or accounting field, pursuing certifications is vital to continued career growth. Obtaining a credential like the certified management accountant (CMA) or the chartered global management accountant (CGMA) designation will show present and future employers that you have the knowledge, professional experience, ethics and rigorous standards for the next rung on the career ladder. A certification also boosts your earning potential by five to 10 percent, finds the Robert Half Salary Guide.
While being a member of global organizations like the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants looks great on your CV, you’ll get far more out of those membership dues if you take on an active role. In addition to attending international, regional or local conferences, look for ways to volunteer and serve. The time and effort you put into these professional associations will pay off in leadership experience, career growth and an increased profile in the industry.
Strengthen your communication skills
A vital component of career advancement is honing the soft skills that every rising accounting and finance professional should have. The higher you want to move up, the more important it is to have strong communication and listening skills. And as more and more firms worldwide adopt English, make sure your command of this global business language — both the spoken and written forms — is above average. You can become more proficient by taking intensive courses, listening to English-language radio, watching English-language TV programmes and movies, and speaking the language as much as possible.
Build your network
It’s not just what you know — it’s who. For maximum career advancement, you need a solid professional network both inside and outside the workplace. During office functions, strive to meet people from other departments instead of staying close to your circle of work friends. When you go to conferences, introduce yourself to other attendees and get to know them. Your internal and external network will let you know of enticing job openings and can put in a good word when you’re positioning yourself for a promotion or a new job.
Social media is your friend when it comes to building and expanding your professional network, so keep your LinkedIn and other profiles fresh and active. Don’t forget your specialisation, which is fundamental when to defining your personal brand across your various profiles.
There’s a lot of career advice out there for getting ahead in the fields of accounting and finance. Don’t just wait for opportunities; make your own! Take on extra challenges at work, polish your technical and soft skills, and cultivate your network. Before long, you’ll reap the benefits of career growth.