Almost every career plan in every industry can benefit from a little attention to long-term planning. But this type of planning is especially helpful for those who hope to climb the ladder as accountants. Why does a five-year plan matter? And what do you stand to gain by casting your glance so far into the future? Here are a few reasons why accountants are wise to think a few years ahead.
Complacency is real.
It’s no coincidence that accountants and the accounting profession are often typecast as “safe” and predictable. Just like doctors and teachers, the world will always need accountants and the profession itself isn’t going anywhere. But like medicine and teaching—which many overly comfortable accountants discover to their dismay—the technology that supports this job changes fast. Requirements for the role evolve. Relationships with clients matter now more than ever. And it’s never a bad idea to stay connected to wide professional networks and friends outside the workplace. You might think the web of safety around you is unassailable … until the day that belief is shattered, and you need to find a new status quo, fast.
If you’re used to thinking “Next year will be just like this year … and last year … and the year before,” think again.
Stagnation is also real.
As in any profession with a steady rhythm and a nice retirement plan, it’s easy to let your long-term radar focus on other types of plans. When will you buy a house or pay one off? When will you have children or send them to college? When will you take that trip or take that class? But you may be ignoring important questions like “Where will I go when I outgrow this firm?” or “What will I do when I’m ready for a management role?” If you’re aspiring to something beyond your current desk and responsibilities, you’ll have to create a map for yourself and start moving. Nobody will knock on your door and tell you it’s time.
You’ll need allies.
Before you start climbing and moving, and before you lay the groundwork that leads to a letter of resignation, a new job and a new employer, you’ll need to enlist some strong allies who can vouch for you and help you spot opportunities. That takes work. And it takes time. And like any other aspect of career management, it takes focused planning. Who would you like to get closer to, work with or learn from? Now is the time to identify those people and approach them.
Set your goals, start small and take one steady step at a time until you get where you’re going. You can do it! And we can help. Contact Extension today.