Considerations for your next accountancy career move

November 10th 2023 | Posted by phil scott

When building an accountancy career, it is essential to look ahead to the future and visualise how you would like your career to progress.

With an idea in mind of future goals and ambitions, you will be able to understand what points you need to consider to achieve your next career move (and the next one after that!)

What questions should you be asking yourself to help shape these important career decisions?

1. What do you like about accountancy and where do you excel?

It’s crucial to take time to evaluate what it is about your current role that you enjoy and what areas of your current job you believe you excel in.

Considering the areas that you achieve or exceed in will help form your next steps.  It can direct you towards more senior roles that require the skills you possess and also make it easier to review job roles and understand if they are suitable for a) your skills and abilities and b) your ambitions and preferences.

You may already have chosen a specialist accountancy area to work in, such as tax, audit or corporate finance or you may have a more generalist accountancy role.

Again, before looking for new opportunities make sure to analyse what you like and dislike about your specialism or general role and let this to influence your decision when reviewing new career opportunities.  Think about whether you are looking to build on certain areas or whether now is the time to make a change.

Accountancy practice or industry?

As you progress in your career, consider whether you feel you are better suited to working in accountancy practice or within another type of company. Do you prefer the concept of working in an accountancy practice, supporting the accountancy needs of a number of clients? Or do you feel a greater affinity in working within one business, perhaps in a particular sector that is of interest, where you can see the impact of your role in the wider success of the organisation?

Exploring this idea and assessing what you enjoy now about your role in either of these scenarios will shape decisions about your future moves.

Do your skills need a refresh?

Before making the next move in your accountancy career, think about whether your skills need refreshing.  Don’t limit this only to accountancy specific skills, but look at whether you need to build up in other areas that would help develop your careers, such as leadership abilities or managerial skills.

If you feel key skill areas could benefit from being refreshed and refined, look at the best time to do this.  It could make looking for a new role much easier if your skills are strengthened in advance, making you a more attractive candidate in the job market.

Are your qualifications in place?

When looking forward to your next career move, it’s essential to ensure that you’ve got the qualifications you need behind you.  Do you have the AAC, ACA or CIMA qualifications you need to progress to the next role that you’re looking for?  Are you part qualified and need to complete the studies before moving on?

Make sure that you know the qualifications and levels needed in the types of roles you’re looking to step into and if work needs to be done, it makes sense to get this complete and in place before actively joining the job market.

Do you want to be a leader?

It may appear as if your accountancy career progression must head towards leadership roles within the team or business.

However, this might not be for everyone and taking the time to consider if you want to be a leader is essential before reviewing opportunities and applying to new roles.

If leadership opportunities appeal, hone your ambitions to this area and focus on applying for roles that offer this and will propel you towards a leadership career.  However, if your interests and passions lie outside of this, this too can contribute to your decision-making.  It can direct you towards new opportunities within your particular specialism or industry sector and shape the kind of roles that you apply for.

Keep an eye on the market

While considering the various internal factors for career progression, don’t forget to keep an eye on the external accountancy job market.   Before proactively job hunting and exploring new potential roles, keeping up to date with the overall market can be very useful.

Market knowledge will show the types of roles that are frequently available, the salary levels that can be achieved in various areas and levels of responsibility and the skills and experience that employers are looking for in general and for specific roles.

All of this market knowledge is vital for you to be able to sell yourself when the time is right – demonstrating what you have to offer, why your skills set you apart and what unique abilities you can bring to the opportunity.

If you are looking for career advice or are looking at taking the next step in your accountancy career register with us today.