Survey – Networking for career benefit is a challenge for many accounting professionals
63.2% of the accounting and finance community surveyed highlighted that they do not have a well-developed professional network that provides adequate support for their career and achievement of their career goals.
In a career field that has traditionally involved limited network development and focus on engagement, many accountants do not have the range of contacts in their network to open new career doors or provide support for their career development beyond their current place of employment.
In listening to many in the accounting and finance profession, this lack of network becomes particularly problematic during stages of change or career pressure, such as redundancy. Traditionally, to compound the problem, the field has a high time commitment for even generally delivery of tasks within a job function. In Manager and Senior Manager roles, particularly where there is a balance between delivery and upward management of executives, breaking the cycle to build new relationships, work with mentors and focus on personal development is often put in the “too hard” basket.
For those that have well-developed networks that have played a positive role from a career point of view, it is often a case of prioritisation and focus on maintaining a relationship, as opposed to a reactionary approach adopted by many where there is a need, like finding a new job.
Comments from the community included:
Too easy to get immersed in the job and not enough networking
Have not invested the time and effort in development external to my organization
Like most jobs, time constraints prevent this. I know I should make more time but don't. "Always too busy"
Unfortunately, I spent all my time focused on delivering business goals that I neglected my own
The theme is consistent. Time is seen as a barrier and neglect is consistent.
The Outperformer’s platform is designed to drive a deeper focus on network development and mentoring to support career goals. It can become a key piece to repairing and systemising challenges in this space, but here are some additional methods to ensure more strategic and career-oriented networking:
- Use your diary to block time out for people and relationship development. This will ensure you have prioritised.
- Be selective about events that are directed at “networking”. Understand the audience and who you can collaborate or connect with quickly.
- Systemise or formalise the development of certain relationships, especially those with mentors that focus on career development, to ensure continued and value-adding connection.
- Diversify your connections, including professional contacts in different industries or different perspectives on the same experience
- Play a role in helping or supporting others. While this can be time consuming, it is often under-rated and a key to engaging with context and deepening a professional relationship.
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