How to Manage Your CPA Career Path to Work Towards Your Dream Job


Although a lot of financial professionals will tell you that their careers were determined by a series of happy accidents or winding detours, today’s most savvy professionals think carefully about every job opportunity that’s presented to them – not only for what it means at the moment, but also for where you can take them in the future.

In other words, they only take on positions and challenges that seem like they are actually aligned with their overall career goals, rather than simply offering the right short-term salary or work schedule.

To help you do the same, learn about different kinds of accounting jobs, and make the most of your CPA career path, here is some of our best advice:

Look for the right supervisor and mentor. Time and time again, accounting professionals tell us that having the right boss is what turns a job into an opportunity. When you have the right supervisor, work isn’t just easier and less stressful, but you gain a mentor who can help you achieve your bigger goals, and not just improve your immediate job performance.

Remember that overtime now translates into experience and responsibility later. Too many younger people are so worried about minimizing their workload that they miss the bigger picture. Certainly, overtime and big work projects mean more hours spent at your desk, but they also mean learning new skills, taking on responsibilities, and gaining experience more quickly than your colleagues.

Think carefully about career breaks, and don’t let them turn into permanent stops. Your career isn’t the only part of your life that matters, and you might need to take a break at some point to raise children, care for a parent, or deal with a personal responsibility. When that happens, do what you can to stay involved with your profession, even if it’s just for a few hours a week, and make a plan to eventually return to your career if that is your desire.

Keep a long-term perspective. Perhaps the biggest mistake we see CPAs make, in terms of career planning, is taking a job that they want right now because it offers a slightly higher salary, and easier workload, or just a break from the type of jobs they have had in the past. If these don’t fit in with your long-term plans, though, they could turn out to be detours that pull you farther from better opportunities in the future.

Consider contract work assignments if they fit into your overall career plan. Often, short-term contract assignments can mean higher pay, fast-paced work, and developing specialized skills. So, if it fits in with your longer-term plans, evaluate these opportunities to see if they might be a good match for what you can offer employers in the short term.

Want more great financial career advice? Come back to the Exceleris blog regularly for great pieces of financial and accounting job seeking advice!


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About the Author: Dejan Ristic

In 2004, I founded Exceleris. In addition to managing all recruitment aspects of Exceleris, I have consulted (as CFO or in similar roles) with a number of technology companies (both publicly traded and venture funded start-ups)....