Accountants: 4 Steps to Live the Life you Want in 2022

Young accountants looking at data on touchpad display during discussion

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As we start the new tax year it feels like a new beginning. The longer days encourage us to be hopeful about the future. There’s never been a better time to plan what you are going to achieve in your career in accountancy over the next 12 months. You spend so much of your life in work that you need to be sure you are enjoying it! 

Much has changed in the last two years and your way of working may be completely different now. Perhaps other opportunities in accountancy are now open to you because of changing working practices?

Make time for yourself to consider your future. What do you want the next 12 months to look like?  What do you want to focus on? What do you want to achieve? Think about both your work life and your home life – they need to be in the right balance for you.

Hi. I’m Anna Goodwin, your friendly finance mentor.  With over 30 years of experience, I know how important it is to have a plan in place if you want to achieve your goals.

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 internationally
  • 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? Then you can prepare to achieve your goals.

Plan for your future

Start thinking about what your ideal life would look and feel like. Have you got a balance between your work life and your home life?

  • 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?
  • 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.

What is holding you back?

Earlier this month I was speaking at an International Women’s Day event. During the panel debate later in the day the imposter syndrome was discussed. Women, in particular, can suffer with the feeling of not being good enough or not deserving to succeed.  The most important thing you can do is to look at yourself in a different way.  Think of what you’ve achieved in your working life and career to date. Jot down these achievements – you may be surprised! Start to see yourself in a more positive light.

Ask yourself whether you’re happy.  Are you enjoying what you want to do?  Maybe you’ve always been told you need to work hard and therefore working in a less pressurised way could feel wrong to you. But is it wrong for you? Is now the time to make some changes?

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. Maybe during the pandemic your priorities changed. Many people had more time to think about what is important to them, their values in life. Maybe you had time to think and now want to start planning a new work life?
  • 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. Brainstorrming is so effective!

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. 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.

 Good luck!