Planning Your Career Journey – Top Tips

Rutherford Cross’ Grant Atkinson shares his thoughts following our inaugural ‘Planning Your Career Journey’ event aimed at newly and recently qualified accountancy and finance professionals.

Rutherford Cross recently held the first in the series of its ‘Planning Your Career Journey’ events in partnership with ICAS, EY, Whyte & MacKay and Clydesdale Bank. Targeted at recently qualified professionals through to managers from industry, Financial Services , public sector or practice; the aim of the event was to offer attendees a forum in which they could network with their peers and gain insight into the career paths open to them.

There is currently huge competition for organisations from both the accountancy profession and industry to attract high calibre candidates; however, at Rutherford Cross we have found that many newly and recently qualified individuals looking to make a move are conflicted and confused about which career path to follow.

To combat this, Rutherford Cross invited successful leaders from three different sectors to share their experiences and offer insight into what it takes to achieve both short and long term goals.  Michael Sloan, CFO of Whyte & Mackay, Laura Mair, Partner at EY, and Richard McCambridge, Head of Financial Reporting at Clydesdale Bank joined the Rutherford Cross team to share their experiences of their respective career paths in finance.

Each spoke about their varied and colourful career histories and shared stories from their individual sectors, but there were some common themes echoed by each of our speakers;

  • Early on in your career set out an end goal so you are clear from the start what you are working towards
  • Sometimes taking a ‘sideways’ move can be the best way to progress towards your ultimate career goal
  • Sacrifice can be necessary – you may need to make a move nationally or internationally, or take on a secondment in order to progress
  • Don’t be afraid to make a move into the unknown – sometimes risk is the best way to reward
  • Conversely, don’t be afraid to stay where you are for a few years if you feel your CV needs some consistency
  • Seek out mentors e.g. managers, former colleagues or via new programmes like the recently launched ICAS mentorship
  • Going with gut instinct is perfectly reasonably but needs to be supported with logic and relevant information
  • Networks can be the most important career building tool, from offering support and guidance, to referring you to a potential career-changing opportunity
  • Don’t close doors by not considering other sectors. Doing something different can stand you apart from the rest of your peers
  • Position yourself as ‘front of mind’ with your managers through volunteering and going beyond expectations as this can lead to promotion and recognition
  • Thinking outside the box such as learning another language can put you at the front of the queue for international opportunities regardless of experience
  • Broaden your experience by requesting to spend time with different teams as this could allow you to progress into a broader role in the future

There is no doubt that planning your career journey should be at the forefront of every newly and recently qualified accountant’s mind.  By attending events such as ‘Planning your Career Journey’, gaining access to experienced professionals and building their peer networks, accountants are setting themselves up for success.

Rutherford Cross will be running future Planning Your Career Journey events throughout 2016.  If you’re interesting in building your network or attending our events, please contact [email protected]