Accounting often gets a bad reputation for being boring and monotonous. However, there’s so much you can do with an accounting degree; you just need to think outside the box a bit. If you’re currently an accountant and looking to boost your skills, here are some suggestions on how to advance in your career.
1. Work on Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are just as important as your industry knowledge and financial expertise. To advance above and beyond your peers, you need to be a well-rounded professional that knows more about business than just numbers. Big companies and hiring managers are looking for accountants with a breadth of business knowledge, strong communication skills, and leadership qualities. Keep up with your number-crunching techniques, of course, but also dedicate time to developing qualities that make you a star business professional.
2. Join a Professional Organization
Professional organizations are easy ways to network with industry leaders and connect with peers. You can often find jobs, mentors, and valuable training by attending local chapter events and annual conferences. National and international organizations often provide online webinars, in-person social events, and publications to help keep you up to speed on current trends and best practices. They may also offer educational resources, certification programs, and discounts on professional credential programs.
Though the membership dues might seem steep, they are well worth the investment. Plus, you may be able to write off your dues and other organizational expenses on your taxes, especially if you work as an independent contractor.
3. Earn a Master’s Degree
Most professional accountants need at least a bachelor’s degree to land their first job. An undergraduate degree paired with years of experience might sustain many professionals for continued success. However, times are always changing, and job competition is fierce. To set yourself apart from your peers, you might consider going back to school for a post-graduate degree.
These days, you can earn a master’s degree online in your own time. Programs are often flexible around your work schedule, but you still have access to real instructors for guidance and questions. For example, Maryville has an online master degree in accounting program tailored toward full-time employees with busy schedules. Programs like this emphasize changes in technology and financial regulations and prepare you for the unknown future.
4. Think About the Environment
Environmentalism and sustainability aren’t just for scientists. Professionals in the financial sector have real influence over decisions regarding energy, green initiatives, and environmental conservation. If you have ambitions to make positive impacts on the environment and help companies achieve their social responsibility goals, consider entering what is known as “sustainability accounting.” NEC published an informative article that describes this specific discipline and what it entails.
What Are Your Long-Term Goals?
Above all, sit down and think about your personal and professional long-term goals. Write down notes about where you see yourself in five, 10, and even 20 years down the road. Backtrack from those goals and develop a plan that works for you. Get the education and experience you need to position yourself to achieve abundant success.