By Jim Wong, CPA | June 9, 2014

Are you looking far enough ahead?

John M. Richardson, Jr., an acclaimed American Professor once said, “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” No one really knows what the future holds, especially when it comes to managing your accounting, finance, or IT career, but doing your part to try and guide it is what really matters.

You might not think about your career in the long–term if you’re happily employed. But, while it’s important to focus on performing well in your current role as a staff accountant, financial analyst, or data architect, you should be mindful of where your career is heading. Nothing could hurt your potential for riding up the ranks more, than becoming stagnant in your day–to–day job responsibilities.

Assuming that you want to challenge yourself and move up the latter of your accounting, finance, or IT professions, know that there are steps you can take to manage your career aspirations as a whole, and not just at the job–level.

So, here are 5 Tips for managing your career at a higher level:

  1. Keep up with changing trends
It’s important to know what’s changing in your profession. Know the current accounting and finance regulations, like the FASB and IASB Revenue Recognition Standards, or the latest Technology trends such as big data, data mining, and cloud computing. Know what types of roles are out there for you to attain. How have they changed? Are new positions getting added at a rapid pace? Know the state of the job market overall. By staying in front of this information, you’ll have added value as an employee and will be set a part from the pack when it comes time for a promotion.
  1. Learn skills you need but don’t have
While you may be proficient in your current role, there may be a few key skillsets that you haven’t necessarily mastered. For instance, if you’re thinking of moving up in your career but know that you’re lacking that CPA title, now might be the time to go after it. Or, if you’re an IT professional and don’t understand Web frameworks or know ASP, Java, or Ruby, perhaps you should sign up for a new set of courses. These skills are not only important for most job titles in the accounting, finance, and IT professions nowadays, but are essential for future growth within the professions.
  1. Network / Be Social
Sometimes the best information you can learn is simply by talking with a person who is currently working in your dream role. Networking at conferences, meetings, trade shows, or other industry events is always smart. You can also reach out to colleagues via social networks. Actively participating in group discussions on LinkedIn, retweeting content on Twitter, or commenting on industry blogs can help you develop into a thought leader and help you gain you credibility as an expert in your profession.
  1. Be active within your industry
If you’re serious about growing your career and really knowing the ins and outs of your profession, it’s best to get your name and face out into the community. Volunteering to be a panelist at local conferences or industry events are good ways to do just that as you further identify yourself as a thought leader. You might also want to run for leadership of an accounting and finance association or IT forum. You’ll have a chance to meet new people, and reconnect with old colleagues, possibly becoming an integral part of the decision-making process. And, if you author industry–related articles in various trade publications, you’ll get your name out into the profession even more and position yourself to be seen as an industry authority.
  1. Employ a search and staffing firm
Really great search and staffing firms have former accounting, finance, and/or IT professionals working for them. You can use these experts to act as your personal consultant or career advisor. Even if you’re not ready to change positions, a firm like Brilliant™ can provide accounting, finance, and IT professionals the tools and resources needed for managing their career on a high level. A boutique search and staffing firm works one–on–one with professionals and shows their support for the individual throughout their career.

No matter which tips you choose to consider, thinking about your career in the big picture and not just as a job title, allows you to see that there is potential to becoming that VP of Finance, CFO, or CIO in the future.

What other tips are out there to help you manage your career and not just your job? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page or email us at today!

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