Tips for Accountants: How to Stay Ahead of the Pack

By Russell Axford

Russell Axford, Senior Client Partner at Clarity Recruitment, shares his insights on accounting and finance career growth and development. 

Opportunities in the accounting and finance market are finite and for the most part very competitive. Candidates need to learn how to differentiate themselves in order to stay ahead of the pack. While being enrolled in, or completing a professional accounting degree is definitely a starting point, this is just the first step towards building a successful accounting career. Consider these three ways accountants can stay ahead of the pack.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Have you ever looked at a job description online and been frustrated because it only outlined general “Must Have” qualities that every accountant and their uncle has? Unless you are applying for a highly specialized opportunity that requires explicit training, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. This is where your soft skills come in.

More often than not, employers are looking for specific hard skills or technical experience, and an accountant who can act as a strategic business partner. This means you must have the ability to work on cross-functional teams, possess a relentless work ethic and interpret and communicate financial data to non-finance people. More so, you must have a willingness to learn, be friendly and down to earth, and at the end of the day, get along with your supervisor and colleagues.

…employers are looking for specific hard skills or technical experience, and a candidate who can act as a strategic business partner.

When you’re looking for a new accounting job, this means it’s essential to share evidence about your soft-skills on your resume and in your job interviews.

For those of you already working as accountants, think about how you can further develop your soft skills.

Live Innovation

Employers are looking for individuals who can add value within the accounting function. This may mean improving processes or helping to streamline systems. Generally, it means questioning how things are done and looking for better, more efficient solutions. Accountants who live innovation by approaching tasks with an inquisitive eye, leveraging internal resources and proposing unique ways of approaching problems are sure to stay ahead of the pack.

Network, Network, Network

If you want to stay on top of the accounting and finance industry, it is very important to network both internally and externally.

Internally, you want to be on the radar of both your finance and non-finance associates as a hard-working, team player.

Externally, you want to build up your network of professionals whom you can leverage for assistance, guidance or collaboration. It’s a small world after all, and an even smaller finance and accounting community. You never know where your connections will take you.

Staying ahead of the pack means developing your soft skills, living innovation and taking the time to make valuable connections through internal and external networking. Be sure to keep these three things in mind as your finance career unfolds.

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook for more great tips and advice.