If you are a focused and driven finance professional, you probably show up to work every day and pour your best effort into everything you do. But while you are focused on today, are you thinking about long-term success? If you want to advance your career over time, you must consider the steps you need to take to get where you want to go, and you must be prepared to learn some important lessons along the way.

Choose Your Specialty Wisely

There are many specialties in accounting and finance, and while it is possible to make a change into a new niche during your career, it can be a challenge. In the early stages of your career, take time to figure out exactly what it is you want to do. As a recent grad, consider working as a contractor or temporary employee with different companies. This allows you to try out different-sized organizations and different specialties so you can commit to a path with confidence.

Study Your Positive (And Not-so-Positive) Results

One of the biggest lessons you can learn in your career is that results matter. As you look to advance, you’ll have to prove your value to potential new employers. Pay attention to the things that you do that drive results and keep track of those successes along the way.

It is also equally important to pay attention to things you do that don’t drive results. When you hit a stumbling block, go back and deconstruct your process. Identify the things you could have done differently to change the outcome and work to correct that approach in the future.

Continually Grow Your Skill Set

If you were to take a time machine and go back just 20 years, you’d find that accounting and finance are significantly different than today. Rules, regulations, best practices, and technology are always changing and evolving, and it is critical to keep pace with new trends if you want to move forward in your career.

Take advantage of your employer’s continuing education benefits. Many companies will sponsor you for outside training programs and many also provide tuition assistance if you wish to take college courses. Even if your employer does not offer these benefits, do what you can to continue to build your skills to make yourself a strong candidate for advancement.

Work With A Professional Finance Recruiter

While there are many clear-cut career paths for accounting and finance professionals, identifying new opportunities, pursuing them, and getting offers can be a complex and frustrating process. Working with an expert finance recruiter can ease a lot of the stress and increase your chances of landing your next opportunity.

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