No matter when you are in your accounting career, there are plenty of ways to advance your professional opportunities. From certifications to building an online presence, continued education to networking, there are a variety of career-boosting strategies you can employ to expand your professional horizons.
The accounting field offers plenty of opportunities for dedicated professionals to continue their careers through certifications. Most regard becoming a CPA as the pinnacle of accounting success. Why? CPAs have always been and will always be in demand. Whether you want to represent taxpayers in front of the IRS or you’re looking to work with a variety of clients in your own public accounting firm, this designation can mean higher wages and better job opportunities. The path to becoming a CPA is long, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. You’ll need to acquire the right experience and education, then sit for the CPA exam. This test is one of the most difficult hurdles you’ll face in your accounting careers; it requires endless hours of study and can take many candidates numerous tries before they pass. You’ll need to invest in study preparation; CPA courses often take months to complete and include mock exams that will help you best prepare.
Work On Your Soft Skills
Accounting isn’t only about crunching numbers and analyzing data. To advance in your career, you’ll need to develop the soft skills employers consider essential in successful accounting employees. What are these essential soft skills? Communication, tenacity, and leadership skills are merely the tip of the iceberg, but they’re some of the most important things you can add to your skillset. Why is communication essential? You’ll be tasked with explaining complex financial analyses into laymen’s terms for both clients and colleagues. Tenacity is important in any career, but in accounting, when hours get long and tax season present high stress situations, you’ll find this characteristic indispensable. You might not think leadership ability tops the list in terms of accounting prowess, but if you hope to move up in the ranks you’ll likely find yourself in a management role at some point or another.
Build Your Online Reputation
In order to remain competitive in today’s accounting world, you’ll need a robust online presence. There are many ways to accomplish this. You might consider hiring an SEO company to improve your website rankings. Ask happy clients to provide reviews through online outlets like Yelp, Google +, and Kudzu, then post the exemplary reviews on your website for perusing clients to take a look at. Want to be considered an expert in your field? Get published. Write articles for local newspapers (almost all of them are now published online as well), and get involved with local online networks of accounting professionals. Not a writer? Talk to local publishing outlets about providing free interviews. Every mention of your name in an accounting-specific article expands your reach to potential clients and employers.
Use Networking to Your Advantage
Networking is important in every industry, and accounting is no exception. It leads to stronger relationships, better contacts, and more opportunities for advancement. The more people you know, the more likely you are to land that dream position. Join local accounting networking groups, participate in online forums, and take advantage of the knowledge afforded to you by other accounting professionals in your circle.
There’s no such thing as stagnancy when it comes to a career in accounting; if you’re looking to advance in your career, there are plenty of ways to make it happen. Whether you take the time to cultivate your soft skills to impress current and future employers, invest the time and money into getting certified, or improve your online presence, you’ll find it’s easier than you might expect to catapult your professional endeavors.