Your accountancy career is just like any other long-term project that you might be supporting your employer or your clients with. Without a strategy it’s not likely to succeed.
Just like any project in any aspect of your life, you’re not likely to achieve the desired outcome by just waking up every day and moving in the direction that seems the most natural. We all need a high-level strategy to give us focus and that we can check in against to ensure that we’re walking the route that we need to in order to achieve what we really want from life.
And your career as an accountant is no exception.
And if you’ve decided you want to put together some kind of strategy for your career then a five year plan is a great place to start.
But how do you do it?
Well, depending on your personality you’ll either want to get a delightful new notebook or download a brilliant project management app (try Asana or Trello), or maybe even put together a visual mood board! Then you need to sit down with a hot drink and ask yourself a big question…
Where do I want to be in 5 years time?
Flesh it out and throw as much or as little detail into your notes as you like.
Further questions you might consider to help you really picture where you’d like to be in 5 years time….
What does my lifestyle look like? What do I need to be earning to accommodate that?
Where do I live? Do I work from an office or at home? Do I work every day? Do I travel for work?
Is my direction of travel still ambitous or does my plan for five years time include a reduction in pressure and responsibility.
What perks of a role in accountancy would really be attractive to me in five years time? (e.g pension, health insurance, annual leave allowance etc.)
Hopefully you can get to the stage where your picture of 5 years time is really clear in your mind.
Next step is to match up your image of success and contentment in 5 years time and to research how that can be achieved.
So now is the time to allow yourself to fall down a rabbit hole of research.
Note down every job and career possibility that you think might match up to your perfect picture. Which firms can offer you that? Which parts of the UK do those firms practice in? What roles give you the kinds of benefits you’ve listed in your moodboard.
Copy links of any jobs that you’ve noticed, make note of the qualifications and skills required to get those jobs.
Now it’s time to get a little more focused and flesh out your journey.
You know what you want, you know what you need to do to get there and now you need to fill in all of the gaps to ensure that you’re on track to smashing all of those goals and achieving your five year plan.
So for example you may have identified that in five years time there is no reason why you couldn’t be aiming for a role as a Partner in a specific firm that you know offer the perks and culture that you value. Your research will have shown you what kinds of skills and experience those firms will be looking for and you’ll then be able to write a tailored plan to ensure you are in possession of all of these or more over the next few years.
Perhaps you can identify a set of clear career stepping stones. Create a timeline of what jobs you need to be landing and when to keep you on track to your Partnership goal by 2027.
Or perhaps you want the opposite and in five years you’d like to be experiencing less pressure at work and valuing other elements of your life by investing your time into them. In this instance your big picture might be one where you work six months of the year in a lucrative interim role and then reap the rewards of that post for the other six months exploring the world or spending time with your family.
Your plan for how to achieve that goal might involve a big, high level and high earning role for just a year or two while you build up a safety buffer of a pension and savings to allow you to scale back.
It doesn’t matter what your vision of five years time looks like, what matters is that you know how you’ll achieve it.
‘Once you’ve created your five year plan we strongly recommend you reach out to a trusted recruiter for their advice on how and where to achieve your ambitions. At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd all of our career counselling discussions with accountants are 100% confidential and if we ever meet you in a room we’ll deny ever having laid eyes on you! Trust means everything to us and it’s the thing we can assure you of above all else. So if you’d value some of our time and a second pair of eyes reviewing your five year plan, reach out today and we’ll set up a call.’
The future is bright for accountancy and you’re lucky to be in a industry where as long as you work hard to gain the necessary skills, qualification and experiences you can pick and choose the career pathway that works for you. And we honestly cannot wait to help you on that journey!