The accounting profession is constantly evolving and incorporating new practices, technologies, and trends. You’re always learning new things at work, but it’s also important to keep your skills relevant with a combination of education and professional development. This is crucial to establishing and advancing within your accounting career.
It’s more important than ever to make yourself more valuable by expanding not just technical skills, but skills needed for the future, such as communication, business development, data analysis, problem-solving, and business acumen that is more than just an understanding of the numbers, but the business as a whole.
Here are four ways to pursue professional development and prevent inertia in your career.
One of the most well-known certifications in the accounting world is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification, but it’s hardly the only one. Corporate accounting professionals can hone industry expertise with the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification. Professionals in government accounting may be interested in the Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) or Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certificate.
These are just a few of the many credentials recognized in the accounting profession. Because they require a commitment to ongoing education, they’re an excellent way to increase your knowledge base and make yourself more valuable. Do your research to find the right credentials that fit within your scope of work.
Attend a conference
Attending conferences is a great way to learn about best practices and network with peers. But between the cost of travel and time away from the office, it’s difficult to attend more than one or two per year. Fortunately, with the power of technology, you can attend some conferences virtually and learn from the best thought leaders in the profession without leaving your office. Looking for ideas?
- Check out the AICPA’s Conference Calendar
- Attend Intuit’s QuickBooks Connect
- Purchase a virtual pass to AICPA Engage
Read industry publications
Reading magazines, newspapers, and websites from the accounting profession and other industries gives you current information on trends and opportunities that relate to your career. Here are a few you might subscribe to or bookmark in your browser:
- Journal of Accountancy
- Strategic Finance Magazine
- Accounting Today
- The Tax Adviser
- CFO Magazine
Educators have theorized that while we retain only about five percent of what we learn from a lecture, 10 percent of what we learn from reading, and 50 percent of what we learn from a group discussion, we retain 90 percent of what we learn when we teach a new concept to someone else.
After you attend a conference or training session, offer to share what you’ve learned with your coworkers by giving a presentation on the tips and best practices you picked up. And those industry publications and blogs you read? They’re often interested in receiving article submissions. Pitch some ideas, and if you get published, you’ll benefit from learning more about your subject and advancing your own reputation as a thought leader.
Your employer may have a professional development plan and ample training resources, but don’t leave responsibility for your career advancement to someone else. Ultimately, your career advancement is your responsibility, so take charge!
Find a new job that advances your career.