5 Tips for a Successful Career in Accounting or Finance

The worlds of accounting and finance are competitive. As a professional who wants to enjoy a successful and lucrative career in these fields, it’s imperative that you create a game plan and follow through.

5 Tips for Career Success

If you’re looking for job stability, real-world skills, and a career that offers both flexibility and financial upside, look no further than accounting or finance. These popular industries have a lot to offer young professionals. 

In order to maximize your success, consider the following tips:

  1. Find the Right Employer

The first step is to find a good employer. (Notice we didn’t say the highest-paying job.) You’re not looking for your “forever” job. You just want someone who is going to set you up for success. A good employer is someone who:

  • Is willing to help you improve your skills.
  • Gives you room to make mistakes and use them as teaching opportunities.
  • Allows you some level of freedom and flexibility (doesn’t micro-manage).

You’re not looking for hip benefits like ping-pong tables and beer on tap. You need an employer who is going to mold you into a better version of yourself, so that you can advance in your career. 

  1. Sit Under a Mentor

In addition to having a supportive employer, it’s a good idea to have a professional mentor. This is someone you can meet with on a regular basis, observe, and learn from. It should be someone who is several years your senior and who is in the position that you one day hope to be in. In other words, if you one day aspire to be the CFO of a non-profit organization, then you want a mentor who is currently the CFO of a non-profit. 

Mentorship doesn’t have to be formal and rigid. Don’t go out and ask someone, “Will you be my mentor?” Instead, put yourself in close proximity to the right people through strategic networking. Make yourself available and let it be known that you want to grow. That’s how mentorship relationships take root.

  1. Never Stop Learning

The most successful accounting and financial professionals are lifelong students. They don’t stop learning when they graduate from college or land their first job. They continually learn and invest in themselves over and over again.

If you ever feel like you’re stagnant in your career, it’s a good time to try something new or make a jump. For example, you might be comfortable in your career as a junior accountant, but what if you committed yourself to taking the CPA exam? Not only would the process of studying for the CPA exam teach you a lot, but the designation will allow you to be more competitive in future job opportunities. 

  1. Adopt the Right Daily Habits

To be honest, success in the world of finance comes down to doing the little things right. You aren’t going to wake up one day and suddenly catapult yourself to the top of your industry. It requires consistent effort. 

Learn to adopt smart daily habits, such as waking up early, practicing gratitude, exercising, staying up to date on industry news, networking, listening, etc. It’s in thousands of small steps that real growth occurs. 

  1. Block Out Distractions

As you advance in your career, there are going to be a lot of distractions that emerge. For example, you may get lucrative job opportunities in niches that you aren’t really interested in and/or that don’t help you advance your career in the direction you’re looking to go. You have to block these out.

Focus is the name of the game. Set specific one-year, five-year, and even 10-year goals for yourself. Then backtrack and figure out what it’ll take to achieve each of these. If an opportunity or investment doesn’t appear to help you reach these goals, ignore it. Set your sights on an outcome and channel all of your energy toward it.

Adding it All Up

The world of accounting and finance is diverse. Whether you want to work in corporate accounting, public accounting, the private sector, the public sector, non-profits, or startups, there are exciting opportunities all around. 

By applying the tips and principles outlined in this article, you can give yourself every chance to be successful.

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