How to Change Industries as a Toronto Accountant

If you’re a Toronto accountant with extensive experience in one field who wants to change industries, you may find some reluctance on the part of employers to buy-in.  Most employers want accountants who have industry-specific experience.  To them, it reduces ramp up time and ensures that you already understand the key drivers of the industry.  What a conundrum.  You need experience to work in the industry, but no one is willing to give it to you.  Don’t panic.  Here are some tips for changing industries as an accountant in Toronto.

Transferable Skills
Be honest about your lack of industry experience.  Emphasize, however, your transferable skills.  These skills make you marketable.  Be humble, talk about your willingness to learn, but most importantly speak about what you do offer, not what your limits are.

Explain Why
Whether you’re dealing with a finance recruiter, or a prospective employer, you need to be able to effectively explain why a transition to a new industry makes sense at this juncture of your career.  What is it about the tech industry, for example, that feeds your career fire?  Why is it a better fit?  You need to show passion and knowledge about the industry at this stage.  It’s critical for gaining buy-in.

Network
Take the initiative by networking with people in your targeted industry.  Connect through LinkedIn and attend industry events.  Most people are willing to have a conversation about their industry and their experience.  Who knows, the right contact could be the conduit into your new industry.

For tips on how to network effectively, read “The Do’s and Don’ts of Networking.”

Increase Your Knowledge
While you may not have experience, there’s no reason why you can’t have a working knowledge about your industry of choice.  Pour over the financial statements of companies you want to work for.  Familiarize yourself with industry trends by reading any professional literature, white papers, journals and blogs that you can.  It will help you during networking events and interviews, as you demonstrate your knowledge about your targeted industry.  You’ll be seen as a more credible candidate as a result.

Same Functional Area
As a Toronto accountant who wants to change industries you should consider transferring into the same functional area.  If you did financial reporting in your previous role, look for openings in financial reporting in your targeted industry, where your experience will be an asset.  Frankly, it can be difficult to switch both functional areas and industries, as hiring authorities will see you as having limited transferable skills.

Consider Contract
A contract role may help get your foot in the door.  This allows your employer to explore a “try before you buy” approach.  For you, contracts can be a great way to gain the experience you need to pave the way to a full-time position.

Read this blog to understand how to identify great contract opportunities.

Key Takeaways
Changing industries as a Toronto accountant is not impossible.  It just takes a little creativity, networking and understanding of how your transferable skills can add value.  Take some time to increase your knowledge base about your targeted industry so that you can speak with credibility.  Consider taking on a contract role and transferring into the same functional area.  With the right approach there’s no reason that you can’t transition into a new industry and be successful.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.