If the end of your training contract is rapidly approaching, you are most likely thinking ‘What next?’ and starting to plan (or stress about) the next stage of your career. Real life is beckoning and it can be a lot to take in if you aren’t entirely sure what your next steps will be.
“The current job market for newly qualified accountants is extremely competitive and organisations are very specific about who they recruit and what type of person they are looking for,” writes country manager at Robert Walters recruitment, Nic Sephton-Poultney. “Newly qualified accountants therefore need to build towards an end goal and, to avoid disappointment, not expect to land their dream job as soon as they have completed their articles.”
That makes it all sound rather depressing but luckily for you, here are two of the best tips about life as a newly qualified accountant ready to tackle the next leg of the journey up the career ladder:
ü Don’t be too proud to take an entry-level position, even if it’s not exactly what you had in mind. “Starting in an entry level position such as internal auditing, learning the business, developing the necessary skill sets and moving up the career ladder from there is recommended to help you achieve your end goal more quickly,” advises Sephton-Poultney. “If the role isn't exactly what you were planning, look at the long-term career prospects the organisation can offer – remember it's not only about the short-term and that any role that gets you started on your career path is one worth considering. Not only will you learn from the role but you will build on your skill set.”
ü Be positive – and patient: Even if it seems that your dream job is nowhere near materialising, keep positive. You will get a job sooner or later, and the opportunity will be what you make of it. Attitude and work ethic are as important as brains and technical skills: so take advantage of whatever opportunity comes your way and use it as a chance to shine and show what you are capable of. You will be surprised at where it will take you.
Ultimately, what you should remember as you look for your first job as a fully qualified professional is that the CA(SA) qualification can lead to many different career paths. If you start by building a strong foundation – regardless of what the role is – you will already be on the right track.
As Sephton-Poultney concludes: “Depending on individual aspirations and abilities, it is possible to progress to finance director of a major company within ten to fifteen years. The qualification also opens doors to general business management careers or creates the opportunity to set up independently as a sole practitioner.” The only limitations are those you place on yourself.
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