WARNING! This article is not intended for individuals who know EXACTLY what they want to do in their careers and EXACTLY what path they want to take. This article is for those who don’t.
Many of the professional conversations I have are with CPA, CAs who have spent the first 3 to 10 years of their career at an accounting firm and many do not know where to take their careers. They should feel some comfort in knowing that over half of the people I speak with are in the same boat.
What types of opportunities exist outside of the friendly (but often very busy) confines of the accounting firm? What do the day-to-day / month-to-month tasks REALLY look like at a junior oil & gas firm in Calgary versus a Big Bank in Toronto versus a tech start-up in Montreal? How different is a Big 4 firm from a smaller firm?
Here is where working with a good recruiter comes in handy; they can walk you through the options. Do you really want that Controller role at that start-up when, in essence, you will be a glorified bookkeeper? Do you really want that Senior Financial Analyst role with the multibillion dollar / multinational company where you are one of 50 other CPAs on the team? Or is there something in between?
Here is what I would suggest: if you don’t know EXACTLY what you want, eliminate all of the things you know you absolutely do NOT want. By eliminating all of those elements, what you have left over provides clarity. And of those opportunities that are left over, try to identify the ones that will best set you up for your next career move 2 – 5 years down the line, be it an internal promotion or a company change.
The best advice I can give to my candidates, therefore, is this: whatever career move you make next, ensure that it opens more doors than it closes. If you aren’t sure where you want to take your career, don’t move into a role, a company, or an industry, that could pigeon-hole you. I’ve talked about this in a previous article (here: http://linkd.in/1HJ1tA5): it’s improbable to find your ideal job right away, but the job you take now could open the door to finding that ideal job later in your career.