Not up on the latest headlines? Having a nose for the news can help your accounting career – here’s how.
When you’re an accountant, and you spend most of your days in the back office, crunching numbers and poring over data, it can be easy to forget that there’s a whole world beyond your desk. Buried up to their necks in tax regulations, financial statements, and auditing, accountants can hardly be faulted for feeling like islands unto themselves.
But staying up-to-date and connected with the outside world will not only help you preserve your sanity – it can be a major boon to your career. And what better way to keep up with the goings-on outside your neck of the woods than by following the news. Here, then, are some ways that keeping abreast of current affairs can benefit you professionally.
Staying informed helps you find common ground
Accountants might work primarily with numbers, but your ability to connect with colleagues and clients, as well as supervisors and subordinates, can significantly impact how successful you are. Being easily able to carry a discussion will not only make your interactions with them more interesting and less awkward (after all, there are few things more painful than being stuck in an elevator with a colleague and having absolutely nothing to talk to them about until you reach your destination floor). It can also greatly help your professional networking opportunities.
But staying up-to-date and connected with the outside world will not only help you preserve your sanity – it can be a major boon to your career.
Following the news will give you launching points for conversation with people you might not have much in common with otherwise. And by staying on top of local, national, and world affairs, you increase your chances of finding shared ground with others. Being able to relate to co-workers over the water cooler is no trifling matter; you don’t want to be the one left out when the conversation turns to that natural disaster or tragedy that’s dominating the news cycle, but that you have no clue about.
Understanding issues across industries is critical
If you have any aspirations of changing industries, being well-versed in current affairs is a serious advantage. It’ll be hard to convince a potential employer that you’re serious about, and capable of, seamlessly entering a new field, when you don’t know diddly-squat about the latest economic trends, legal and regulatory issues, etc., facing the industry.
Keeping up with the business press will increase your knowledge of happenings and developments across different industries. You’ll have the confidence to speak with authority on an array of fields, which will boost your odds of making a switch.
You build credibility
The better informed you are about the world, the more easily you’ll be able to strike up an intelligent chat with a client or a vender about their business. By demonstrating that you’re a well-rounded individual, whose interests extend beyond budgets and balance sheets, you are far more likely to build trust and credibility with your clients (which will, in turn, raise your reputation and help secure new clients).
Following the news will give you launching points for conversation with people you might not have much in common with otherwise.
You stay abreast of legislative and policy changes
Being aware of developments in the news will also keep you in the loop about changing legislation and policy, and how these impact tax law. To be an effective, versatile accountant, you need to understand how fluctuations in government and policy can potentially affect – or disrupt – different industries, and business in general.
If you want to start getting up-to-date with the various goings-on in the world, there’s no shortage of resources for you to draw upon. In addition to the local and national dailies, evening news programs, and 24-hour cable news stations, you can also be looking at business and financial publications and sites, like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Financial Press, the Economist, Business Insider, and Harvard Business Review, among countless others. Any and all of these will help you take your bearings of an increasingly complex business and political environment.
In the professional sphere generally, competence and intelligence are often associated with worldliness and an expansive understanding of current events. Keeping up with the news and speaking articulately about global, national, or local issues will give you a leg up in the accounting and finance field. Not only will you boost your chances of finding common ground with clients and colleagues across departments; you’ll also increase your marketability as a well-educated, informed, and trustworthy professional. And then maybe you’ll find yourself in a position not only to keep up with the news – but to make it.
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!