All the more reason then, with so many openings already available, and more to come, to make sure that your next accounting role is a great fit, offers a supportive and friendly company culture, and will allow you to make giant strides in a successful and rewarding career. With that in mind, here are five essential strategies you should adopt to make sure that you are an outstanding candidate when you make your next application for an accounting job.
1. Establish networks and build relationships
Professional and social networks are enormously powerful. Professional services and accounting jobs are often filled before they are advertised, simply because the recruiter, or someone with the hiring manager’s ear, was aware of an ideal candidate. So be sure to join and preferably take an active part in professional associations in the industry. Every person you meet in the accounting profession could potentially hire or recommend you.
Take the time to attend industry events, where you are likely to meet people, including HR managers or recruitment specialists, from organisations who are regularly hiring. Leverage online platforms like LinkedIn to connect with other professionals and post content which will get you noticed. And make it a priority to build great relationships with your work colleagues. These connections can often move with you throughout your career – so keep your networks strong.
2. Engage in continuous learning and professional development
Avoid the trap of viewing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as simply an annual chore required for the maintenance of your qualification. Instead, seize the opportunity for career development with online learning, in-person courses, mentoring programs, and professional association events and conferences. Professional services is a dynamic and evolving space, and it’s vital to stay up-to-date with the latest international standards, government legislation, technology and automation, and even changing social and workplace perspectives.
Learning opportunities are something to bear in mind when looking at changing jobs. Ideally, choose a firm that makes it clear that they offer investment in your career via training and development.
3. Focus on soft skills and emotional intelligence
While technical skills remain crucial, at its core, professional services is a people business – so soft skills and emotional intelligence are vital. The trend towards automation of repetitive accounting tasks, using artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), means that advisors and accountants can focus on activities which have a higher impact and greater strategic value for their organisation. This will require professionals to develop and demonstrate leadership, analytical thinking, problem-solving abilities, an aptitude for decision-making, and other soft skills such as effective communication, adaptability, collaboration and empathy.
Showcase your soft skills in your resume, job applications and interview presence. When you possess these skills and find a company culture which values them, you can prepare to advance into leadership roles.
4. Stay abreast of industry trends
It’s important to stay informed about regulatory and compliance changes, technological advancements and other trends in the accounting profession. Read the finance news, stay across content produced by professional associations, and attend conferences focusing on new developments you need to be aware of.
You’ll find it easier to stay up-to-date in a progressive organisation with global associations, a focus on supporting employees to continue learning, and a variety of clients offering interesting insights into diverse industries. So, if you’re stuck in a rut with your present employer, you’ll know what to put on your wishlist for the next one.
5. Research potential employers
This brings us to the importance of conducting research into possible future employers before you start the application process. You need to make sure that you and the organisation will be a good fit in terms of company culture, core values, strategic objectives, types of client, meaningful work opportunities, and growth potential. If international career opportunities are of interest to you – look for firms that have global connections.
Assemble information from company sources – take a deep dive into their website, LinkedIn pages, news coverage, industry publications and your personal and professional networks. Use this data to tailor your application, and demonstrate your well-informed enthusiasm when you get to the interview stage.
Find a career that will help you get where you want to be
With so many opportunities in the professional services and accounting professions, now is an ideal time to take stock of your career development and lock in your vision for your future. Expand your networks, review your skills growth (not forgetting soft skills), pay attention to developments in accounting and finance, and arm yourself with knowledge about firms you’d like to work for. Then submit the application that could accelerate your progress in the profession.
Want to know more about how Bentleys can help you to get where you want to be in your career? Head over to the Careers at Bentleys webpage to explore the opportunities that we have available.
Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.