By Bryan T. Newlin, CPA.CITP, CISA
One of the really cool things about working in the public accounting industry is that each year we hire a crop of eager college graduates to fill our ranks. They are always excited to jump in and start working and it is refreshing to have such enthusiasm filling our Collaborative, Unifying & Beneficial Environments (CUBEs). Our new folks started several weeks ago, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share some sage advice that I have gathered in my 11+ years in public accounting (which, believe it or not, is a pretty long time in accounting years). And there are probably some timely reminders for the DeTech readers as well.
Always Learn: Even though the ink is barely dry on your diplomas, the learning really begins now. Every interaction with colleagues, clients, and peers is an opportunity to take away some new piece of knowledge that will help grow your career. Never settle for your current level of knowledge.
Build Your Network: The network of professionals with whom you interact on a regular basis is an invaluable asset that may ultimately determine the success of your career. Invest time to get to know the people you meet and work with, and stay connected as best as possible. And not in the “how can this person help me meet my goals” kind of way. But with the attitude of “how can I help this person meet their goals.” To that end, start to develop your list of contacts and keep it updated and organized. Check in with them once in a while.
Be Committed: Some of the best advice I’ve received about business is this: You make decisions differently if you view yourself as an owner. When you view a situation through the perspective of an owner of a company, it’s easier to determine the “why” of management’s decisions. Having worked with a lot of C-suite leaders, Boards, and business owners, they all demonstrate care and concern for their employees, especially employees who are committed to their vision. When management knows you will make decisions that are good for the company (cue the Office Space quotes), they will give you latitude to make more and harder decisions.
Get Comfortable Outside of your Comfort Zone:
This one cannot be overstated. Take on projects and assignments that are challenging and uncomfortable, and the next one will be easier because you will learn something new (see advice number 1). This means interviewing people with more experience, taking on speaking opportunities when they come up, or heck, even going on an IT audit when you don’t know an IP address from a postal address.
Bring Snacks: I can’t say conclusively that this will help your career, but it probably won’t hurt. Nothing brings a team together like sharing a snack.
Bryan is a Manager at YHB and serves on the Risk Advisory Services Team. Bryan focuses on assisting organizations in a variety of industries with internal audits and IT-related audit and consulting services.