8 Ways to Advance Your Accounting Career

8 Ways to Advance Your Accounting Career

The accounting job you have today may not be the same one you picture yourself in 10 years from now. So, how do you make it to the corner office?


You’ve put in the work to get your degree. Now you have your first job in the accounting industry - congrats!

Still, you’re looking to take that next step. The good news is you can fast-track your career and get the promotion you’re looking for with just a little extra effort.

Jobs in the accounting industry can be competitive. Standing out from your fellow jobseekers is not only crucial but easier than you may think. 

Read on to learn 8 ways you can advance your accounting career.

1. Get a Valued Certification

Getting the right certifications for your career proves that you can go above and beyond for your job. Earning your CIMA or ACCA helps you stand out among other job candidates.

Employers know how tough it can be to earn those certificates. It takes a lot of time and commitment to follow-through and pass those exams. 

Thankfully, there are programs that can help you along the way.

2. Build a Solid Network

Networking is a big part of advancing your career in accounting. In fact, 85% of all jobs are filled using networking. Some jobs never get posted online but are filled by networking. Candidates in those cases may not even meet the qualifications for the role.

If you show potential and demonstrate past performance, you can land your dream job without the hassle of job searching. Sometimes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

You can also use your network to  find a business mentor. Mentorships are a great way to learn how to move up successfully in your career from someone who has already done it. 

Choose your mentor wisely. Make sure your mentor has a career path similar to what you’d like.

3. Diversify Your Experience

Diversification is critical in your retirement fund. But have you ever thought of diversifying your experience? It’s important not to stay stuck doing one task for too long if you want to move up the corporate ladder.

Accountants need to have a wide breadth of knowledge in order to be successful in their careers. When you’re building your career, it’s important to experience several roles in accounting and not stay in the same role for too long.

Work with your manager to  change your responsibilities up every two to three years. It will help you prepare for more advanced roles in the future.

4. Continue Your Education & Training

It’s true that what you learn in school can quickly become obsolete. 

That’s why many of the popular accounting certifications, like the ACCA, require continued education and training. It’s sometimes referred to as continued professional development or CPD.

The purpose behind CPD is to keep you up to date with industry trends. You’ll be further developing your skills as an accountant, too. 

Staying on top of your training and education will help you succeed in your role as an accountant, and thus, make you more eligible for the roles you want in the future.

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5. Focus on Relationships

A lot of accounting is focused on the data entry and running of reports. However, in order to be successful, you need to handle your clients and teammates respectfully.

Building relationships with those on your teams and your clients will gain you huge points in the accounting industry. Being approachable and relating to other people, while staying professional, is a skill that not everyone has. Plus, operating on a human level instead of focusing only on business is a nice change of pace during the day.

One of the best ways to build a relationship with others is to actively listen to them. As an accountant, you might think you know what’s best for your clients. 

That might be true, but listening to their concerns and communicating how you can best help them is going to leave them feeling taken care of.

6. Have a Global Mindset

As technologies advance, companies are looking for global teams to run accounting departments. 

Technologies such as AI, machine learning and automation are becoming more common in the accounting sector and you need basic knowledge to keep up. 

As we live and operate in a digital world, keeping on top of development that impact the sector is key to impressing in an interview or moving up the ladder in your current role.  

Embracing a global mindset will help you stay ahead of the curve throughout your accounting career.

7. Talk to Your Boss

It may seem like an obvious tactic, and it is. Asking your boss for a promotion is a great way to advance your career.

You might not get the promotion immediately. Instead, asking your boss for a promotion shows that you’re looking for more. You’ll seem eager to take the next steps for your company.

Talking to your boss also offers a great way for you to ask what is needed before you can advance your career. Perhaps there are skills or training that you must go through before you can be promoted.

You can understand the requirements and create a plan to get there. Being upfront with your boss about your intentions will probably put you on their good side, too, which never hurts.

8. Be Dependable

Your company is going to take note of who the key performers are on the team. As an accountant, your work is time-sensitive and must be accurate. 

Show that you’re a valuable team member by sticking to your word about deadlines and completing your work accurately. If you fall behind on a project, make sure you’re reaching out and communicating.

The simple things like arriving on time, finishing your shift, and staying positive are ways you can show that you’re worth a promotion. Look for ways to solve problems, both in your role and in for your teammates.

Final Thoughts

Creating your future in the accounting field is an exciting thought. If you already know the direction you’re heading, it can be a lot easier for you to take steps towards your next role.

Accounting is a fast-paced and ever-changing field. If you want to advance in your career, you’ll need to stay on top of all the trends and work diligently to set yourself apart from the rest.


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Topics: Accounting