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Ensuring your longevity

Pauline Schu explains how to ensure longevity in a finance and accountancy career

March 2017

In January’s PQ magazine, ACCA revealed how accountants will need to embrace a set of seven professional quotients – a mix of technical skills and abilities formed with interpersonal behaviours and qualities.
‘Professional accountants – the future: Generation Next’ is the much anticipated follow up to our earlier skills report, sharing views from younger finance professionals and their career aspirations and work preferences, what attracts them and retains them in organisations, and how they like to learn.
Involving close to 19,000 ACCA students and members from 150 countries, the research shows this generation – which we refer to as ‘Generation Next’ – is well equipped to deal with the changes happening in the profession.
Navigating future employment will entail thinking about your career plans as well as accepting some realities of the new world of work.
Our research shows that successful professionals manage their careers, carefully plotting out the experiences they need to acquire. As the employer-employee relationship continues to evolve and with job tenure decreasing, Generation Next will need to take responsibility for their careers and seek development opportunities that will benefit them most.
Future proofing your skills is now crucial in an age of collaboration between smart people and smart tools to ensure on-going relevancy as careers become more fluid.
Creating a personal brand has never been more important with the need to continually examine how you are building your own brand. In a jobs market where an increasingly fluid range of skills are called upon to meet business needs, demonstrating how you add value is essential. Additionally, developing personal networks can have a significant bearing on career success.
Historically, it has taken time for professionals within finance and accountancy to build up the requisite skills as many employers may not be able to accommodate their aspirations. Future generations should work ‘within the system’ and see the employer perspective as they chart out their own career journey in the organisation. Considering roles without a salary increase or promotion and being open to lateral moves will help with building additional technical competencies and soft skills.
Exploring whether you could gain entrepreneurial experience within the organisation will become part of how successful a future career can be. Be open to embracing ‘intrapreneurialism’ with the benefits from the resources, capabilities and security of the current organisation, and none of the personal risks that entrepreneurship entails.
Gaining global experience will be hugely beneficial as doing so will bring a more diverse view gained working in global teams. The skills obtained through seeking international experience will provide a competitive edge.
Success in the future will require embracing change and owning your career to ensure your skills are not only future proofed, but that you also remain in the group of the most in-demand professionals.

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