Your Accounting Career Plan

Arrow in center of target/bullseye

Let’s talk about your accounting career. If you know what you want, how do you get there? If you’re already on a path, how do you change directions? When you have your goals at heart, it makes the journey much easier to assess. Let’s take it one step at a time.

In this article, we’ll touch upon:

  • How to set goals
  • How to plan for advancement
  • How to ask for training
  • How to be accountable

Setting Goals

Imagine what your life looks like toward the end of your career. You’re ready to retire comfortably or maybe you have a business or you’re living in a remote part of Alaska because that’s your dream. Whatever your ideal is, how do you get there? Your career will help you part of the way, but it’s up to you to plot out the milestones.

Here is an example of a few goals you can plot out.

Accounting Career Goals Chart

Planning for Advancement

One way to plan for your projected advancement is to ask around! Ask your fellow CPAs (if you’re already a CPA) or email someone at another firm who you admire. Ask them how they advanced.

You can also look at a leader’s LinkedIn for a bird’s-eye view of their career. Over time, your career could advance like theirs or like this:

  1. Staff accountant
  2. Senior Accountant/CPA
  3. Tax/Audit Supervisor
  4. Tax/Audit Manager
  5. Senior Tax/Audit Manager
  6. Principal
  7. Partner

You may or may not decide to become a CPA, but it is often one key to career advancement in public accounting. You can also specialize in other areas to advance your career.

Asking for Training

Additional training, a raise or a re-evaluation in benefits or compensation, including more time off, can feel like taboo subjects. It can be uncomfortable trying to navigate the best time to bring these things up to your direct manager.

A good time to broach the subject is in your yearly performance evaluation or even when you have a monthly or weekly meeting. Be ready to talk about why training is important and what it will cost the firm in time or money. With this in mind, your manager can identify the right timing and resources for you.

If your firm has a suggestion box or sends out quarterly employee surveys, suggest training opportunities that could help you and others. Include a resource that can lead the training, whether it’s an internal expert or an outside organization.

Being Accountable to Your Career

The number one priority in your accounting career plan is to take charge and be accountable for your career’s trajectory. Plot out the short- and long-term goals that will bring you closer to your dream. Planning will make you feel more in control, especially when you face challenges or changes. Taking responsibility for what you want and need from your employer and your career is a great first step.

LvHJ is here to help. Our firm is dedicated to continuing career education and advancement. Let us know if you have questions about anything relating to your accounting career.

Read next: “What is Total Compensation?”

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