10 Top Tips for Newly Qualified Accountants
10 Top Tips for Newly Qualified Accountants
Starting out as a newly qualified accountant can be both exhilarating and daunting. Whether you're eyeing a specific role or exploring diverse opportunities, Claire Clark, Managing Director – Specialists at Hutcheon Mearns, shares invaluable tips to help kickstart your finance career.
Embarking on a career as a newly qualified accountant is an exciting yet challenging journey. I can remember feeling relieved that I didn't have to study for any more exams, but I also felt nervous as I didn't know the right steps to take – would the next job be the right move?
Whether you're eyeing a specific role or exploring diverse opportunities, incorporating these tips into your career journey ensures a progressive and rewarding path in the world of accounting and finance.
1. Build your network
Building a robust professional network is essential for career growth. Attend social events, join professional groups, and engage in networking. I am heavily involved with the ICAS Grampian Area Network and find that to be invaluable. Cultivating relationships with other professionals can provide valuable insights, career advice, and potential opportunities. Also, keep in touch with those you trained alongside, as they may become significant contacts as they develop their careers.
2. Develop soft skills
Beyond technical expertise, honing soft skills is crucial. Effective communication, teamwork and leadership are attributes highly valued in the accounting world and can set you apart from others. Developing these skills will enhance your performance, contribute to a positive work environment, and open doors to leadership roles.
3. Get a mentor
Seek out experienced mentors within your organisation or industry. Mentors can offer guidance, share their experiences, and provide constructive feedback. Learning from someone who has navigated similar career paths can be instrumental in avoiding pitfalls and accelerating your professional development. ICAS offer a mentor programme, as did KPMG when I trained there, making these options very accessible.
4. Use recruitment professionals
I often reached out to recruitment consultants when I was ready to move on to a new role. Ideally, you should build a longer-term relationship with a respected professional who can provide industry insights and support you throughout your career. This allows them to understand what motivates you and what your ideal role looks like so they can work with you to develop your career path – when the time is right.
5. Continue your development
The field of accounting is dynamic, with regulations, standards, and technologies evolving rapidly. Stay abreast of industry trends, attend workshops and webinars, and pursue additional certifications to enhance your skill set. This commitment to learning will keep you relevant and set you apart as a proactive professional.
6. Stay tech-savvy
Embrace technology in your career. Familiarise yourself with accounting software, data analytics tools, and emerging technologies in the financial sector. The ability to leverage technology efficiently streamlines processes and positions you as an asset in the digital age. We all need to remain open-minded to new ways of doing things.
7. Build a strong online presence
A professional online presence is essential in today's fast-paced digital environment. Create a LinkedIn profile showcasing your skills, accomplishments, and professional interests. Actively participate in relevant online communities, share industry insights, and connect with professionals to expand your network. Follow up face-to-face meetings with a connection request on LinkedIn to build your network.
8. Manage your time
Effectively managing your time is critical, especially in a profession that often involves tight deadlines and multiple responsibilities. Prioritise tasks, set realistic goals, and establish efficient work habits to ensure you meet deadlines while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
9. Embrace feedback
Constructive feedback is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. Welcome feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and clients, and use it to identify areas for improvement. Demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement will position you as a proactive and dedicated professional.
10. If you don't know, ask!
The final tip I have learned is never to be afraid to ask questions. If you don't understand something, I can guarantee someone else in the room feels the same. It has taken me many years to have the confidence to do this, but you have a window of opportunity to ask questions, and it has always been beneficial to me and aided my understanding and knowledge.
Navigating the early years as a newly qualified accountant requires a combination of technical competence, interpersonal skills, and a proactive approach to career development. Incorporating these tips into your career journey will ensure you progress successfully - whatever path you take!
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.
Are you a newly qualified accountant looking for a unique career advancement opportunity? Find out more about the Hutcheon Mearns Finance Career Development programme, where you can gain valuable experience across the spectrum of accounting and finance.