Article - Charter
Get your bearings, then steer your career, quoting Leanne Bloomfield
According to HLB Mann Judd human resources manager Leanne Bloomfield, career planning should ideally be done every two years. She says that an essential part of the process is to determine your motivational drivers. It’s impossible to write a career plan if you don’t know what you want," says Bloomfield, who is based in the firm’s Sydney office.
Identify your true drivers Bloomfield says this is a crucial factor in helping the staff at her own firm with their career planning. "We have a whole day off-site with our newly qualified Chartered Accountants and engage an external presenter to help staff figure out what’s important to them~ she says. For example. if you choose work/life balance as your number one motivational driver and you only want to work nine to five, then your career to a certain extent is going to be hindered:’ She says that understanding your motivational drivers can help in goalsetting and performance appraisals. "We encourage our staff to write their own career plan first," she says. "It’s up to them whether they want to discuss this with their manager but we find that most do.
This opens up communication and creates opportunities. After all, managers are not mind readers:’ Researching career options In addition to identifying your personal drivers, effective career planning also involves research into the various career options available to you. This is vital so that you don’t simply follow a traditional path without considering what else you might be suited to.
Cate Bridge is a human resources advisor at PKF in Sydney. She says: "Some mistakes people tend to make at this stage of their career surround lack of research and not looking at the big picture of what they want and where they want to go. For example, they may accept the first job they are offered without researching and understanding all the options available to them’ Recruitment expert Aaron Dodd says that this research is best undertaken by talking to people, in a variety or roles, about what their jobs are really like. Dodd is talent practice leader at Mindset, a consultancy experienced in recruiting Chartered Accountants. "When Chartered Accountants are reviewing these options, they should take the time to talk to specialty practitioners, business managers and entrepreneurs they may know to get their advice and input~ says Dodd.
Dodd says that the biggest mistake Chartered Accountants make with career planning is "staying in a role that they don’t enjoy, for too long". Dodd says: We spend a significant amount of our lives working, so we should pick a job we enjoy! Life is too short to spend it doing something that is unpleasant. This goes for choosing a specialty as well, If a Chartered Accountant chooses a specialty that does not suit their personality or interests, they may find themselves doing something in a few years time that they regret.
"This is why talking to specialty practitioners about their roles is so important.
Find out how they spend their days, what the good parts are, and more importantly, ask them about the parts of their jobs that they dislike. Believe me, they’ll tell you!" In terms of your career Iifecycle, planning is especially important at the conclusion of your Chartered Accountant studies. Bloomfield says this is often a time when people feel unsettled and consider leaving the profession to go into commerce or move overseas. "I would say: Take a breath, smell the roses, and revise your career plan before you take any drastic steps’:’ says Bloomfield.
"There are many opportunities in Chartered Accounting and doors can open provided your manager is aware of your career aspirations. For example, you may want to transfer to another area of accounting, have a career break, or explore a secondment opportunity to either a client, interstate or overseas office" Finding mentors If your employer does not have a formal career-planning program, Bloomfield says you need to take matters into your own hands. "In the business world we now live in, I think it’s critical that people are proactive and take charge of their own career:’ she says. "It’s not solely up to your manager or partner to write a career plan for you, Bloomfield encourages Chartered Accountants to seek mentors, either within or outside the firm. "Pick the brains of people as to what they have learned
and what their stumbling blocks have been~ she says.
However, Dodd warns that you need to seek unbiased advice. "If a Chartered Accountant does seek advice from someone, they should ensure that the advice they receive is objective. For example, their manager may have a hard to-till speciality in the business so they might try to push the employee into that field, even if it’s something the employee has no long-term interest in~ Seeking feedback from mentors should not be a one-off conversation.
Bridge says you should meet your mentor on a monthly basis, "It’s important to build a trusted relationship where you can have honest communication:’ she says. Also, establish strong networks throughout your career and value your working relationships. Everyone is busy but making the time to plan your career is really important: Written by valeri Khoo, Charter published July 2012.