Working in the accounting industry is a lot of fun! Fortunately, It is not all about number crunching (though this may be what you like!), there are so many roles and different roles within the industry - there will be bookkeepers, credit controllers, purchase ledger clerks, company accountants, chartered accountants, accounts assistants, cost accountants, production accountants, practice managers and others reading this post alone.
No matter your current role in accounting, it is always good to be open to opportunities of personal growth, higher income and greater job satisfaction, especially if you are fairly new to an accounting role.
This post will help you identify areas you can work on in order to progress your accounting career and move higher on the career ladder. If you are just starting out, perhaps you are an accounting student, this post is just as applicable and is well-worth a read.
How to progress your accounting career
There are a number of reasons why you should seek to progress your career, these could include...
1. More pay
2. More (or less) responsibility
3. More control i.e being your own boss
4. Better working relations
5. More (or less) hours
6. A better commute
7. Satisfaction of personal ambitions
I wish I had a unique secret that I could share with you or perhaps a magic spell that would suddenly give you the job you want or need but unfortunately things are not that easy. Getting a better job requires investment - investment of time and of money!
There are 4 main things you can do to improve your current accounting prospects, these are listed in detail below...
Education opens doors, no doubt about it.
If you don't have any accounting qualifications, you need to get some. If you do, you need to work toward gaining higher education. If you are in the UK, I suggest the following...
No qualifications - go for the AAT qualification
ICB qualified - go for the AAT qualification
AAT qualified - go for CIMA or ACCA
There is also the option of diversifying your qualification portfolio. If you are AAT qualified but cannot face another strenuous set of exams and study or if you are ACCA/CIMA qualified, you may want to consider gaining certifications in accounting software or other areas of the accounting industry, such as payroll or taxation.
Here are some helpful links...
ICB site - https://www.bookkeepers.org.uk/
AAT site - https://www.aat.org.uk/
ACCA site - https://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en.html
CIMA site - https://www.cimaglobal.com/
Sage Certifications - this include recognised qualifications in Sage and general accounting. A full list of Sage qualifications can be found by clicking here
Payroll Certifications - Sage also offer these. Details can be found by clicking here. You can also search online for local or remote payroll courses
If you simply need an accounting refresher, please consider my Ultimate Bookkeeping and Accounting Course - click here
Apply for a new job
Leaving your current position for something new can be scary but can be well worth it. I went from a full-time permanent office job to a part-time temporary accounting job just so I could get my first accounting job and gain some experience - look where I am today! A sacrifice well worth taking.
Don't underestimate the value of gaining new experience and don't stay in a job that is making you unhappy. My top tip is to write down what you would like a new job to offer i.e more pay, closer to home, more hours, etc. and then find jobs that meet your criteria. Apply for jobs even if you don't think you have a chance of getting it, you always have a shot.
Another option is to look for vacancies and promotions within your current workplace. Changing roles or gaining more responsibility within your current employment can provide what you are looking for without the need of saying goodbye to work colleagues and starting somewhere completely new.
Here are some helpful links...
Reed - https://www.reed.co.uk/
Monster - https://www.monster.co.uk/
Got a new job but need some assistance? Please consider my accounting mentor program - click here for details
Start your own accounting business
The answer may be to start your own bookkeeping or accounting practice. Or perhaps something a bit different, like a credit controllers or payroll company. This is what I did after being made redundant in the global recession of 2007/2008, I have never looked back. I love what I do, I earn more than ever and I am my own boss - my perfect job.
Starting a business is not easy though and it will take time, a lot of time. The best thing to do is start an accounting business that you can work on evenings and weekends. As you gain more clients and the business grows, you can commit to your new venture full-time.
Having my own accounting practice has not just been a great learning curve, it has made me satisfied in my career and enables me to earn more than I would otherwise.
Here are some helpful links...
Tips for starting a new business - https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2017/07/12/10-tips-for-starting-a-small-business-that-you-havent-heard-a-thousand-times-already/
If you would like to start your own accounting business, please consider my starting an accounting business program - click here for details
Widen your accounting network and circle of friends
It's not what you know, it's who you know. Unfortunately for those desperate for work this is often the case.
For this reason it's best to have as many contacts as possible. People would rather employ someone they know or a recommend from a friend than interview and employ a total stranger. If you don't have a wide circle of friends and/or have very few accounting contacts, there is no need to panic. Most jobs still go to applicants emailing CV's and applying through websites.
Here are some quick suggestions to gaining more contacts...
1. Create a free account with LinkedIn and make your profile as appealing as possible
2. Gain an accounting qualification that requires you to go to class, you will soon make friends
3. Go to accounting events. Accounting bodies usually hold training events and seminars
4. If you start an accounting business, consider going to networking events
Here are some useful links...
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/
AAT events - https://www.aat.org.uk/news/aat-events
Business networking - https://www.findnetworkingevents.com/
Progressing your accounting career is not easy but it will be worth it. Consider all your options and don't make any hasty decisions - don't procrastinate either!
Whatever you choose to do, I wish you all the best in your accounting career.
The Bookkeeping Master