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Whether you’re just starting out in the world of accounting and finance, or whether you’re an established professional ready to take your career to the next level, there are certain things you can do to ensure you achieve success.

Here are my 10 top tips for accounting and finance professionals.

Remember that communication is key

Well-developed communication skills are vitally important for those in the finance industry. When it comes to both clients and coworkers, being able to communicate effectively is key to building strong professional relationships.

Always keep in mind that most clients won’t have in-depth financial knowledge, so it’s up to you to translate complex industry jargon and concepts into a language they understand.

Develop your analytical ability

People outside the industry might think that accounting and finance is just about the numbers. But as you know, accountants are so much more than just ‘bean-counters’!

If you really want to excel in the industry, you need the ability to perform in-depth analysis on financial scenarios and data, and to think laterally to solve problems. Developing an analytical mindset is an important contributing factor to becoming a successful financial professional.

Find a great mentor

GWG’s CEO, Julie, has blogged before about the benefits of having a mentor – and I couldn’t agree more when it comes to the accounting and finance sector!

Finding someone with expertise and experience who can provide you with advice, guidance and connections in the industry will enhance your career immensely. Check out Julie’s guide to creating a successful mentoring relationship for some tips on finding a mentor and making the most of the experience.

 Broaden your skillset

As a finance professional, it’s all well and good to specialise in a particular area, but be wary of pigeonholing yourself into that area alone. In fact, I’d recommend that you take any opportunity you can to broaden your skillset.

This not only increases your prospects for future growth and promotions, but also ensures you are always learning and challenging yourself. Speaking of which…

Be proactive about learning new things

Don’t wait for learning opportunities to come to you; be proactive and seek them out yourself. Aim to be constantly learning and increasing your knowledge throughout your career.

Whether it’s keeping up-to-date on the latest developments in the industry, or adding to your qualifications with a short course, you’ve got nothing to lose. Being proactive about learning will not only keep you sharp and at the top of your game, but also help give you an edge in a competitive industry.

Improve your time management

There are only so many hours in a day, and as an accounting/finance professional, you really need to make those hours count! This industry is fast-paced and always busy, so it’s really important to ensure you’re managing your time effectively.

Learn how to organise, prioritise and delegate to improve your efficiency. Utilise technology to automate processes and save time wherever you can, and track how you’re spending your time to identify areas for improvement.

Show initiative and leadership

It’s your responsibility to take the reins and steer your career in the direction you want it to go. To do this, demonstrating initiative is essential.

Honing your leadership skills is also a great way to show employers that you are driven, motivated and capable of managing a team. As you move into more senior positions, these qualities are invaluable.

Maintain credibility and integrity at all times

When it comes to money, people want to deal with someone they can trust – someone who really knows their stuff and always has their clients’ best interests at heart.

As an accountant or financial adviser, you need to demonstrate to your clients that you are reliable and credible, and that you always go about your work with discretion and integrity.

Find a healthy work/life balance

It’s no secret that many accounting and finance professionals work long hours – and that some might have trouble leaving the office behind when they do head home.

If you want to succeed in this industry, yes, you have to work hard. But you also need to learn how to achieve a healthy work/life balance. Failing to do so can easily lead you to overwork and burnout, which will only set your career back – and can negatively affect your health and personal life, too.

 Learn from your mistakes and never give up

Everybody makes mistakes on their career journey, no matter what industry they’re in. The important thing is not to dwell on your mistakes, but to learn from them. Try to see them as an opportunity to grow, both as a professional and as a person.

And most importantly: never give up! Set your sights on where you want your accounting and finance career to take you, and don’t stop until you get there.

Amanda specialises in finance, accounting, legal and risk management aspects at GWG. Contact her on 0249 050 130 or via email at amanda.macgregor@gwgpartners.com.au

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