How to Climb the Accounting Career Ladder Quickly


Climbing isn’t always done in a straight line, even on a mountain. There are obstacles to work around and challenges to overcome. But those who climb the finance or accounting career ladder quickly seem to share some very key behaviors. Want to fast track your finance or accounting career? Try practising these 8 habits.

Take Less Desirable Assignments
Taking assignments that others don’t want can give you exposure to different areas of the business, making you much more marketable. Not only do you demonstrate that you’re willing to pitch in for the team, you potentially enhance your skill set and your network.

Consider Lateral Moves
Moving laterally in an organization is not the death knell for your career. A lateral move in a larger firm, for example, actually allows you to gain specific business unit experience, not just corporate experience. And accepting a similar job in another company exposes you to new processes, people and opportunities.

Read: To find out more about the surprising ways that a lateral move could benefit your career, click here.

Make a Plan
Those who move up the corporate ladder quickly set short and long-term career goals. They develop a roadmap of how to achieve them, but are adaptable to new information and challenges. What is your long-term career focus? What are the interim steps along the way? 

Never Stop Learning
One of the things that differentiates those who fast track their accounting career from those who don’t, is a commitment to lifelong learning. The more skills and education you have the more valuable you are, and the harder you are to replace. Consider, for example, improving your systems knowledge. Increasingly, big data is driving decision-making, and finance is often seen as the bridge between IT and the rest of the company.

ReadHow Big Data is Changing the Accounting and Finance Landscape” for more information.

Have a Mentor
Those who climb the corporate ladder are committed to networking regularly. More importantly, they also have a mentor. Mentors are a sounding board. They can help you navigate office politics and be an advocate for you should the opportunity arise.

Be Willing to Work for It
Always seek to contribute more. Be willing to work long hours and volunteer for high visibility projects. Never say “that’s not my job.” Demonstrating initiative goes a long way to showing that you’re ready for more responsibility.

Develop Expertise
Top performers become subject matter experts. Whether it’s being seen as an industry guru, or an IFRS whiz, the more you know about a given area, the more important you are to an organization. Follow thought leaders on social media (or better yet become a thought leader) and grow your knowledge by attending industry events.

Dress for Success
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Dressing professionally helps project the image that you’re ready for more. How do the executives in your firm dress? That’s a good starting point.

Read: “Dressing for the Job You Want” for more tips.

Key Takeaways
Those who move up the finance or accounting career ladder share some similar traits. They are planners, who typically have a long-term career focus and a sense of how to get there. They are adaptable, willing to consider a lateral move if it makes strategic sense. They never stop learning, and often become industry or subject matter experts. They understand the importance of constantly networking and they usually have a mentor who helps guide their career.  Finally, they dress for the job they want and are willing to work hard to achieve their goals.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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