By Ruoro Kairu
Ruth has been in the accounting field for 3 years. In that time, she is yet to move up from the position she first got. Her first job was an accounts assistant. After a year, she moved to a different company. While she still got an account assistant position, she hoped she would grow her career in the new company.
It has been two years in the new company, and in the time, she still holds the same position. What’s worse, the accountant position has been vacant twice, but the company has preferred to bring in an accountant from the outside.
“I want to excel in my profession. I want to earn more, and I want to grow in my career. I’m tired of holding the same position for three years. I think I should quit as I try and figure out what the problem is before I get back into employment.” Said Ruth on a call she had made to our offices.
Though I advised her not to quit first, I had to get more information on how she could move from her current position.
I spoke to a senior accountant at a manufacturing company. Here I four tips I gathered on how Ruth, and every other accountant, can grow their careers.
1. Find a mentor
Imagine you’re taking a trip to an unknown location. The first thing to do is to carry out your research about the unknown destination. If you know someone who has already gone there, you can ask them for guidance.
The same goes for the accounting profession. To succeed, get a mentor whose at the position you’d like to get to. Ask them to help you grow your career and advice you on the steps you should follow to grow professionally.
2. Gain practical accounting skills
Accounting is majorly a practical profession. To excel, you need to attain the key practical accounting skills.
Some of these skills include;
- Filing taxes –Knowing how to file taxes will go a long way in helping you grow your career. Moreover, be keen to update your skills as time moves. For example, now taxes are filed on the new KRA iTax portal. Gaining these skills will give you an upper hand over other professionals.
- Using QuickBooks –QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software in the market today. You’ll rarely go through an accounting interview without being asked how proficient you are at QuickBooks.
I spoke to Ruth a few days after she had called. I asked her what networking forums she’s a part of. She said she did not belong to any.
Around 40% of all jobs are not advertised. They are filled through connections and referrals.
In most cases, when a position opens up, the organization circulates it internally, if they don’t get anyone, they then advertise the job externally. If someone in the organization knows you’re looking for a job, they can inform you to apply to it or recommend you for the position.
Create networks with professionals, managers, senior accountants and hiring managers. Ideally, you should try and attend a networking forum at least once a month.
4. Gain relevant experience
Having the skills in only one part, you also have to exercise them. This is the best way to perfect the skills. At work, pick up a new role in an area you’re not fully conversant with. This will put you out of your comfort zone, where you’ll be forced to learn more.
In accounting, you can volunteer your services, or work part-time in order to gain relevant skills and experience.
After I spoke with Ruth and gave her this information. She agreed to continue with her job and to take actionable steps into growing her career. She began by enrolling for the Practical Accounting Training & Career Mentorship Program.
What other steps can you take to grow your accounting profession?