As we start the new year it feels like a new beginning. There’s never been a better time to plan what you are going to achieve in your career in accountancy. What are your goals over the next 12 months? There is a high demand for accountants so don’t settle for second best. If you want more then go and get it!
Possible Goals as an Accountant
Start with your work as an accountant. What is your aim? Perhaps you would like to:
work in industry
work in practice
set up your own accounting practice
work in audit
work for a charity
retrain and specialise in tax
work for HMRC
become a financial tutor
There’s so much choice out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as to what to do next to achieve your goals. Once you have an accountancy qualification there are a lot of avenues open to you. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to think about what you want to do and do your research. What are the pros and cons of each for you? Note them down to help your thought process. Then you can prepare to achieve those goals.
Plan For Your Future
Start thinking about what your ideal life would look and feel like.
Take time out
Set aside some time dedicated to thinking about your future.
What is important to you?
How do you want to live your life?
What do you enjoy doing in your work life?
Does your work life balance feel at a correct level?
What is your timescale?
Jot down your answers.
Which of the options available to you as an accountant would best suit the answers you’ve given?
Do some research online and consider each option. A coach/mentor could help you decide. Think about:
whether you already have the skills required or whether you need to achieve further qualifications or undertake some training.
the financial implications and how you will deal with them.
the benefits of each option.
what could stand in your way.
who you need to talk to for some additional information
Is it worth talking to your Manager/Partner to see if there are any opportunities which you’re unaware of?
Your Plan of Action
Let your mind wander and think about what you would enjoy doing the most if there were no financial constraints.
Have a look at the free resources on my website – including my future planning mind map.
Think about the aspects of your job as an accountant that you enjoy the most. Then think about how you could use these in a different role within your existing firm or maybe somewhere completely new.
Start to make notes and decide on the pros and cons of all your options.
Write down what your priorities are within a job – maybe this is the financial reward or being close to home or having flexible working.
Research which jobs are out there. Which jobs are advertised? What are you hearing from your existing networks? Is there anything on social media – especially LinkedIn? (Make sure that your profiles are up to date – more and more companies are using LinkedIn and other social media platforms to headhunt their ideal candidates.)
Once you have a list of options and have done some research, I would suggest you work with a coach/mentor to talk through the options. They will help you consider the pros and cons as well as assist in coming up with a plan of action to achieve your goals. Brainstorming is so effective!
Get a Financial Plan and Budget in Place
In the same way as you would advise a client, it’s important to budget for your future.
Take account of the timescale you’re looking at so you have a better idea of where to include the budgeted income and expenditure.
Looking at your income:
Can you afford to take a drop in salary to get your ideal job?
How much higher do you want your salary to be? What percentage of your existing salary?
Looking at your expenditure:
Ensure all of your expenditure is included.
Check whether any of this expenditure can be reduced.
If you’re thinking of using a coach or mentor then include their costs.
Will you have extra costs attending interviews or will they be online?
Do you need any extra training, either soft skills or technical? If so, remember to include these costs.
When you have set your priorities and come up with a plan of action which includes the steps you need to take and the timescales, you will be on your way to achieving your goals.
Set some deadlines and keep to them. Use your plan to ensure that you are moving in the right direction, sticking to timescales and getting closer to your dream role in accountancy. Review how you are getting on every month. What have you done this month to help you achieve your goal(s)? If you find yourself getting a bit stuck, imagine your new life and how it will feel to achieve your goals. That will soon get you motivated again!
Whatever you do, don’t just stick with what you are doing because it is what you know. It is very easy to just carry on even though you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. There are so many options available now in the accountancy world. You have the power to make a change and live the life you want to live, so take this opportunity and get started.