Once upon a time a professional accountancy qualification would have almost guaranteed career success.
When I started out in accountancy, having a professional qualification was the exception.
I was doing some research for a presentation I was giving to ACCA members last year.
What I discovered is that the number of ACCA members had increased by a multiple of 10 over the last 40 years.
What this means for you?
As I see it the huge increase in the numbers of qualified accountants has 5 main implications for your career.
So how do you build your profile at work?
Know where you are heading. You might have head the phrase, start with the end in mind.
Now career success is built over the longer term. If you have clarity about the end destination, you can sketch out the critical steps.
What do you really want from your career? Get specific.
Get clear about what you want to be known for. Yes you are an accountant or in another professional field.
You have your technical training and expertise just like everyone else.
Of course you need to narrow down the areas where you want to be know for. This could include.
- Being the person who has really broad experience of working in a number of different industries.
- Being the person who is brilliant at working with others to solve problems and overcome challenges.
- Being the person who really understands how to take technology and use it to do things better or more efficiently within the organisation.
- Being the person who is able to deliver change in process or ways of working.
- Being the person who can build brilliant relationships with those outside of your area of professional field.
- Being the person who is great at getting their message across and making what might seem really complicated really simple.
Be active in looking for opportunities to build your profile in work and in your profession
Many accountants and professionals work hard to get a qualification (I know I did). Only a small proportion actively look to build their profile in work and in their profession.
How can you build your profile in work?
- Be professionally curious. Look at areas which might be done out of habit rather than in the optimal way. Keep asking if there is a better way.
- Get involved in cross organisation projects. I know this was one of the things that made a huge difference in my career. It’s not just about achieving the goals of the project. It’s about better understanding how others think. In addition, people get to see you beyond the boundaries of your job title.
- Help others to succeed. This might seem obvious. On the other hand do you focus on this? At the end of the day if you are in a functional role it’s all about contribution not just the tasks you complete.
How can you build your profile in your profession?
- Get along to events and conferences. These ensure that you keep your CPD up to date. The major benefit is the people you meet. There’s no hierarchy or seniority. You can speak to anyone.
- Contribute on social media. One of the best examples I’ve seen of this is a lady called Gayle Wells who works in finance in the NHS. Gayle has been instrumental in getting fellow NHS Finance Professionals do really use twitter. Commenting on articles or documents on LinkedIn relating to your professional field can also make a big difference.
- Volunteer to get involved in local area committees. It helps build your network, gets you exposure and also is something very positive to include on your LinkedIn profile and CV
Over to you
The person who knows you best is you. Set aside some time to work on your profile building plan and then put it to work.