Why you ARE leadership ready!

Are you ready to apply for a leadership role in an accountancy practice?

You might be concerned that you don’t yet have the experience to demonstrate that you’re ready to take on a managerial role. But we’re here to reassure you that the vast majority of accountants do have plenty of useful qualities and skills that will mean they are perfectly positioned to manage a team. You might just need help understanding  why you’re a perfect leader and in turn transferring these reasons into CV buzz words that will convince a prospective employer to see it too.

Here’s a few of the best leadership qualities accompanied by some practical examples of how you might have acquired them.

Communication Skills

Management 101! You must be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in a written format. And you don’t need to already be a leader to have developed basic communication skills. 

Perhaps you’re a Junior or Semi Senior Accountant – you’re likely to have had the opportunity to convey information to your clients and colleagues? Think of a time when you’ve done that really well and you’ll be perfectly positioned to give an example of your excellent communication skills at a leadership interview. 

Emotional Intelligence

This is a modern quality that’s really important to know that managers of people have mastered. It basically means you’re able to read a room and understand what motivates the people within it and to help find balanced solutions that work for everyone. 

Often this is a quality that can’t be learned, you’re either empathetic and can see the world through the lens of others, or you can’t. So if you’re emotionally intelligent you likely won’t struggle to showcase evidence of it. 

Have you supported your team through a difficult time? Have you stepped in to cover the workload of a colleague when they’ve faced a challenge? Have you suggested changes to systems and processes that you’ve been able to see might work better for your clients or your internal teams? Then you’re emotionally intelligent and you should list that on your CV.

Integrity

Once again integrity is something you either have or you don’t. If you’re a blame shifter or an accountability shirker you likely don’t have much in the way of integrity. But if you take ownership for your decision making and fallibility as a human being then you likely have the essential leadership quality of integrity so write it down! 

Organisation, Multi Tasking and Delegation

Even as a Junior Accountant you’re likely to have to make plenty of decisions on a daily basis that will demonstrate your ability to see the wood from the trees  and juggle your workload which really matters as a leader. 

If you’re able to structure your time, identify when work would better be delegated and have the ability to prioritise the most important use of your time and the time of others, then you’re ready for more responsibility! 

The Art of Persuasion, Active Listening and Mentorship

Deeply linked to your skills in emotional intelligence, an accountant with leadership potential will be able to gently persuade their team or their clients to follow the best course of action. But they’ll be able to do that without manipulating or lying.

If you’ve actively listened to the problems or challenges of your clients or colleagues and supported them to come to a new way of thinking or to reach a decision, then you’re ready to be a leader and to mentor a team of junior accountants.

Decision Making 

This is a big one and one that really stands leaders apart. And it’s important that we clarify that the ability to make decisions isn’t the same as the ability to make perfect decisions – there’s no such thing! 

A great manager will be able to weigh up the different pathways to progress and lead their team one way or the other. They won’t always get it right but they must be able to make that decision and be comfortable with the fact that sometimes people get it wrong. 

Often the best way to showcase your skills in this area at interview is by showing your human side and opening up about an instance where you made the wrong decision but explain how you rectified that and turned the experience into a positive one. 

‘At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re often really surprised by how candidates underrate their experience when it comes to applying for jobs with a requirement for leadership. We’re always really pleased when we can reframe someone’s experience to help them see that they are more than ready to progress to the next level in their career and enjoy the enhanced benefits that accompanies that progression.’

Garry Howling, MD

If seeing your potential for leadership is something you could do with some help with, email us today to set up a call for some confidential and informal career counselling. And take a deep dive into our library of resources and guides for job seeking accountants in our Candidates’ Hub.

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