Last week I discussed the increase in women-owned businesses and some challenges for CPA Mom entrepreneurs. Many smart, driven CPA Moms are choosing to go out on their own for various reasons and creating businesses that are a reflection of who they are and how they want to be of value to their clients.
But even with the growth of CPA mompreneurs, the vast majority of CPA Moms are employees, myself included, working for public accounting firms or private companies. If you are one, and feel like you don’t have much control since you are an employee, I’m hopefully going to help you see things differently.
You are much more valuable than you realize, especially as a highly intelligent and professionally trained woman. By taking a more intentional approach towards your accounting career, you can improve your skill set, add even more value and advance in whatever way you choose.
Modern-day businesses need supportive accountants and you are an important part of a company’s growth. Don’t underestimate the significant part you play, as an accounting employee, as a working woman and as a mother.
This week I’m going to discuss 6 ways to advance your accounting career as an employee that will benefit you as much as your employer.
What are you doing?
In the book, The Big Leap, author Gay Hendrix discusses how we all have “upper limits” in our minds; those beliefs about what we are capable of doing and achieving. These upper limits are based on many factors and often start in childhood when we were directly and indirectly told what others believed was possible for us.
He describes it like having an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success and creativity we will allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into our familiar comfort zone.
If you believe you may have an upper limit problem when it comes to your job, you’ve actually just taken the first step – creating awareness. In order to advance, you need to incrementally change your beliefs about what’s possible.
The author goes on to explain that we tend to stay in our Zone of Excellence, doing the activities we do extremely well, making a good living and staying with what’s comfortable. That’s fine if that’s what you really want.
However, if you want to advance your career, you need to know what your Zone of Genius is and do more in that zone. Your Zone of Genius is the set of activities that you are uniquely suited to do and that draws upon your special gifts and strengths.
To advance your accounting career, you should become more aware of what work you love doing that doesn’t even seem like work, that taps into your unique abilities and adds the greatest value to your employer. Your Zone of Genius is where your fulfillment and advancement lie.
Who are you being?
Let’s be honest, there’s probably a lot about your job that you don’t like and end up complaining about. Whether it’s a lack of flexibility, a difficult boss or the shortage of opportunities for advancement, there are things that you would like to see changed.
Now imagine your dream job where you are highly respected, are happy to come to work everyday and where you are supported in every way. Having that dream job sounds like the perfect situation, in order for you to be able to be a great employee and advance your career.
But the only difference between your current job and your dream job, is you and your unmanaged mind. Schedule flexibility, bosses and career opportunities are not responsible for how you feel or what you do; that’s all on you and the repetitive thoughts you have about your job.
If you keep blaming your job for how you feel, you’re never going to be that employee in her dream job. So if you aren’t currently being who you would be if you were in your dream job, then you need to get to work on managing and mastering your mind.
To advance your accounting career, you have to stop asking what your job can do for you and instead, ask who you want to be regardless. Who you are being, in any job, will literally change everything for you.
Value for money
Whether you are in public or private accounting, you’re keenly aware of the term “Time is money”. Your job may even require you to keep time sheets to justify the time you’ve spent on a project or on a client.
Because of the belief that time is money, you might feel like the only way to make more money is to spend more time at your job. As a CPA Mom, the idea of more time away from your family to make more money may seem like an overwhelming, horrible idea.
However, instead of believing that you are paid for your time, I want you to instead see that you are paid for your value. With this belief, I recommend you to start looking for ways that you can add value, even if you may not get noticed or rewarded in your current job.
When you show up at your highest level, over-delivering when possible and spending more time in your Zone of Genius, that’s when you will begin to shift – from a time-based belief about money to a value-based belief. Whether it’s in your current job or not, the value you add WILL come back to you in ways you can’t anticipate.
To advance your accounting career, seek to add value for your employer and for yourself. When your employer feels like they won the lottery having you as an employee, you will have much more control than you may realize.
What do you really want for your career as a CPA? So many women that I speak to and coach are clear about what they don’t want, but have very little idea about what they really do want – that’s an issue.
You have to know what you want, and then take full responsibility for achieving it. Every result you currently have has everything to do with you, and not because of anyone or anything else.
This can be frustrating and sobering to hear at first, but it is the most empowering thing I can share with you. When you take full responsibility for the results in your life, you then have the power to create a different result.
A word of caution – you cannot change someone else’s thoughts about you, their feelings towards you or the actions they take to support you. You need to take full responsibility for what you think, feel, say and do in order to create the job experience and the career you want.
To advance your accounting career, take responsibility for what you currently have and for getting what you want. If you want to be valuable, create value; if you want to be respected, respect yourself; if you want to feel happy and proud, stop looking outside yourself.
It can be difficult for women to be vulnerable and open to feedback. That’s because your brain is always scanning the world, on the lookout for something threatening, in order to protect you.
To be a great employee and advance your career, you need to ask your employer what you can do better. Notice that I didn’t say you should ask what you’re doing wrong; just ask them for what you could do, that would be better, helpful or useful.
Even if you have yearly reviews with your boss, taking the initiative to ask what’s important to them and how you can help them, will allow you get clear on how to add more value. Make sure you manage your mind after you have a conversation like this so that you intentionally decide what to think, rather than allowing your brain’s negative default mode to take charge.
To advance your accounting career, ask the people in charge what you could do better to help them. In reality, you are helping yourself more by showing up at the highest level you can, in order to grow, add more value and increase your self-confidence.
Learn to sell
At a young age, most young girls are taught to not brag, to be humble and to stay quietly in the background. We then grow up to be women who have a difficult time with self-promotion.
When we see strong, powerful women stand in their power and then get chastised for it, we get the message – don’t be too proud of yourself. But in order to be a better employee and advance your career, you need to get comfortable with being your own sales person.
Letting your boss know what you did, how well you did it and the value you see in it, is going to go far in your sense of job satisfaction, growth and possibly compensation. Whether your boss values it or not is irrelevant; when you get better at pointing out what’s amazing about you, you build your self-confidence.
Don’t sit back and wait to be noticed; share your successes so that you can acknowledge YOU. When you are confident in yourself, you think, feel and act differently, ultimately giving you much better results in your career and in your life.
To advance your accounting career, get better at self-promotion. When you own your worth, there’s nothing stopping you from having what you want.
Whether you want to stay where you are and just have a better experience at work, or whether you want to advance your career as far as possible, do not give your power away. How you show up and feel about yourself while doing your job, will take you further than anything anyone else.
- To advance your accounting career, you should become more aware of what work you love doing that doesn’t even seem like work, that taps into your unique abilities and adds the greatest value to your employer.
- Stop asking what your job can do for you and instead, ask who you want to be regardless.
- When you show up at your highest level, over-delivering when possible and spending more time in your Zone of Genius, that’s when you will begin to shift; from a time-based belief about money to a value-based belief.
- You need to take full responsibility for what you think, feel, say and do in order to create the job experience and the career you want.
- Even if you have yearly reviews with your boss, taking the initiative to ask what’s important to them and how you can help them, will help you get clear on how to add more value.
- Letting your boss know what you did, how well you did it and the value you see in it, is going to go far in your sense of job satisfaction, growth and possibly compensation.
If you’d like some help advancing your accounting career as an employee, please feel free to schedule a strategy session or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get to work together.