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Progressing your Accounting Career in the City

22 MAY 2013
Career Path : Business

There are many reasons to pursue an accounting career, from the flexibility of being able to work for all different types of organizations or becoming self-employed to the comfortable lifestyle inherent in being well paid and in high demand. For the more ambitious, there are clear pathways to progressing your career to the various certifications and onwards to the very top. Research shows that about a quarter of the most successful companies have a chartered accountant as their CEO or managing director.

Right Skills + Right Opportunity = Rewarding Job
The key to finding the job that you want is possessing the skills that employers are seeking. A solid background in accounting fundamentals is a prerequisite, as are computer skills, particularly Excel and industry-specific software like Great Plains or Simply Accounting. A good eye for numbers, attention to detail, organization, analytical and problem solving abilities are necessary soft skills, while higher level positions will seek more specialized technical qualifications. This may include budgeting or payroll expertise or an in-depth knowledge of today’s tax laws.
Perhaps more so than in other industries, professional designations make a real difference in opening career opportunities. Certified accountants have successfully completed educational requirements and a minimum amount of work experience before taking further specialized education and testing. In Ontario, you are not permitted to practice public accounting until you are granted a special licence by CGA (Certified General Accountant) Ontario or another accounting regulatory body. Designations such as CA, CMA and CFA are a necessity for certain jobs. Additional credentials and courses, such as CICA In-Depth, can improve your odds of being recruited for rewarding accounting employment.

Professional Advancement
Getting ahead professionally begins with excelling at your duties, making a good impression on management and becoming well versed in your company’s corporate culture. Proactively, it means looking at the broader trends shaping the accounting industry, reading trade magazines and joining industry networking groups. Social networking on sites like LinkedIn can go deeper by becoming involved in online discussions and asking questions of interesting professionals. There are no shortage of business courses in Toronto that exist to improve your skill set while unlocking countless networking opportunities. Attend trade events to network personally with all types of companies and don’t hesitate to contact bigger players directly with a private message introducing yourself, your career experiences and future goals.
Understanding the broader implications of the industry and expanding your professional network don’t just open doors to other types of employment – it will make your overall work more well-informed and rewarding. Staying on top of legislative shifts and changing tax laws will make you more marketable but also give you a deeper holistic perspective on your career, present and future. Taking accounting courses in Toronto will provide the foundation but continuously learning and improving will take you to the top.

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