Posted by Michelle Schusterman on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 16:00
An acounting career can be rewarding ones, with competitive salaries and desirable positions. Like many professions, the early years are marked by pride and excitement. But accounting professionals can find that, in time, their careers encounter stagnation.
For some, it may be complacency; it’s just too easy to settle into routine. Others feel like they’ve hit a roadblock; they want to move up, but they’re unsure how to advance in their accounting career.
Here are four signs that your accounting career is stalling — and tips on what you can do to reignite your passion for your work and focus on advancement.
1. You've stopped climbing in your accounting career
Maybe you’ve been stuck in the same job for years, or perhaps you’ve bounced from one employer to another without ever actually advancing your position. Whatever the reason, the idea of career advancement feels like a relic from your past. But you have the power to change that.
Tip: Schedule a meeting with your employer and be honest about your desire for career advancement. Ask about the possibility of finding a mentor, participating in training opportunities or shadowing a worker in a position you’d like to learn more about. Take classes that would further your professional development (and not disrupt your work schedule). Your employer will appreciate the initiative and your interest in your accounting career — and remember the extra effort you put forth when senior positions open up.
2. Your current position is too comfortable
Your job pays well, your employer is great and you get along with your coworkers. Still, you’re starting to feel restless but don’t want to leave the company. How does the idea of changing your workplace routine feel to you? If you could redefine your role at the office, what changes would you make? Any restlessness you may be feeling can be converted to action by giving your mind the freedom to brainstorm and envision fresh challenges.
Tip: Make a list of your favorite and least favorite aspects of your job, and see if you can identify trends. For example, if you were on a team responsible for implementing a new accounting system at your organization and you enjoyed the risk assessment process, you could approach your boss about taking on a project that uses that skill or applying your specific interests to your current role. Soft skills such as public speaking or social media savvy are other ways finance and accounting professionals can expand their careers in challenging and enjoyable ways. Speaking at conferences, blogging or branding yourself on social media sites could give your accounting career a shot in the arm.
3. Your performance reviews are mediocre
According to your evaluations, you “meet expectations” — which is the same way you feel about your job. You might be good at what you do, but you aren’t driven to get better at it. What would it take to change that?
Tip: Show up to your performance reviews with a list of questions that could help to advance your accounting career. For example, how does your employer think you could be more helpful to the team? What goals does your employer have for you? What new skills could you work on to become more of an asset to the company? If there’s an area you’re interested in, ask how you can learn more about incorporating that interest into your current position in ways that will help the company, too.
4. Your contacts don’t contact you
The network you worked so hard to build up early in your career doesn’t seem to be doing much for you these days. That inaction could be another sign you’re in a rut.
Tip: Make an effort to reach out to a few contacts each week. It might be as simple as checking in, sharing an informative industry article or congratulating a contact on a promotion. Networking is important to successful accounting careers, and regular maintenance is required. You may get good ideas applicable to your own career advancement by spending a little time each week checking in with your professional network.
With an accounting career, you can hit a plateau, just as with other careers. Don’t wait for changes to come to you. Instead, be proactive and take the road that leads to positive change — and not stagnation.
More accounting career advice
- What’s Next? Career Advice for Senior Accountants Looking Ahead
- A Closer Look at Accounting Certifications to Advance Your Career
Need more inspiration for your accounting career?