There is little doubt amongst employers that the nature of work is changing, and candidates are increasingly looking for working practices that suit their individual career goals and cultures that foster their personal growth. However, as a candidate, establishing exactly how well you will fit within a specific organisation can be challenging, so aside from strong remuneration, what should accountants be looking for in a potential employer?
Flexibility is now the number one motivator for qualified accountants when they are looking for their next role. In fact, according to research we produced in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), work-life balance is the number one consideration for 55% of accountants, up from 37% the year prior. Asking about a potential employer’s existing flexible working policies, and whether they have the technology in place to enable employees to work remotely is important. Even if you don’t necessarily work flexibly in your current role, agile working policies can allow finance professionals to manage their work/life balance more effectively. It’s also crucial that professionals look for employers with workplace environments that suit their own working practices and professional strengths. For example, while some candidates may prefer to work in collaborative teams, others might be more productive while working autonomously, so it’s crucial that you consider the kind of environment fostered by potential employers prior to accepting a role with them. It’s also worth contemplating whether your own values align with the organisation’s strategic goals and the ethics of its leaders, if you own principles sit well alongside the organisation’s own values you will likely be a better cultural fit within the business.
There’s little doubt that professional development is crucial throughout an accountant’s career and it is important to evaluate the training and development initiatives on offer at an organisation prior to applying for a role with them. According to the latest CIMA Salary Insights survey almost two thirds (69%) of accountants are planning on learning new skills within the next year to aid their career progression. Management accountants are often focused on learning new skills such as strategy (36%), influence (29%) and coaching and mentoring (26%). When looking for a new role, considering opportunities for growth is key, and it is worth exploring the training opportunities currently on offer with any organisation. For professional looking for a new challenge, it’s also worth looking closely at the role on offer, and potential opportunities for progression within an organisation. Many accountants change roles looking for a new challenge, whether that be to gain more responsibilities, the opportunity to lead a team, or simply a more challenging workload. It’s therefore important to consider exactly what kind of change you are looking for and whether an organisation, or indeed a specific role, can offer you the routes for progression you are looking for.
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