As the pool of talented accounting professionals continues to grow, qualifications and technical skills alone will not always land you with your dream role.
Looking forward, the accounting function is expected to take a proactive position within businesses, whereby the accountant will be partnered with stakeholders to develop best practice and improve its commercial proposition.
"Networking is one of the most important ways for accounting professionals to ensure they keep abreast of changing professional standards and trends," said Martin Fox, Managing Director at Robert Walters.
Networking will also improve your profile within an organization which will in turn help you to partner more effectively with other parts of the business.
Where to start
The easiest way to start is through regular networking.
“Connecting with people and telling them about what you do is the easiest step to fostering good working relationships and expanding your professional development,” continued Fox.
It may be intimidating at first, but if you follow these simple tips you can build a great profile.
1. Colleagues and key stakeholders at your current work
Think about the role you play in your organization – how does the scope of your role and where your work put you into contact with other parts of the business?
- Who do I work with most?
- Which other teams/individuals would I get value out of working with?
- Who do I not know much about?
Reaching out to these people through social business events like team building exercises, charity days, corporate sporting groups and team drinks are all easy ways to get to know your colleagues. The more you make yourself involved, the easier it will become.
2. Join formal networking groups
There are a huge range of professional associations and bodies which hold conferences, seminars and other events that you can attend.
“Meeting accounting professionals from outside your organization can be a fantastic way to stay abreast of trends and meet key influencers within the field,” said Fox.
Trade magazines and professional organizations are often a great place to start as they tend to run events on a regular basis throughout the year. Making contact with your graduate or alumni groups is also a great way to stay connected to the greater industry.
Meeting accounting professionals from outside your organisation can be a fantastic way to stay abreast of trends and meet key influencers within the field.
3. Networking is your investment
With networking, the more time and effort you invest, the better your return. If it's tricky to begin with, remember that other people are there for the same reason.
Some of the most important opportunities can present themselves at unexpected times and the more you open yourself to professional exchanges, the more you will find opportunities for career advancement.
Looking for your next opportunity in accounting & finance? Take a look at our latest jobs here.
Or, find out what you're worth using the Robert Walters Salary Survey.