Business and Career Growth: What brought me here?

Ten years ago, when I had just become editor of accounting today and I sat down to write my first monthly column, I realized I had no idea how to write a monthly column. Some might say I still have no idea how to write a monthly column, but that’s beside the point; the thing is, I was cast in a role that involved writing a monthly column even though I had never written a monthly column and had no idea how to write a monthly column. I had read monthly columns and edited them, but had never come up with an idea for one, let alone written one.

Here are a few other things that are pretty essential to the role of an EIC that I didn’t know how to do: managing a team, setting an editorial calendar, overseeing a freelance budget, conducting an employee evaluation, representing a publication in front of an advertising client major, speak at an industry panel and deliver a keynote address.

Again, the fact that I still have no idea how to do these things isn’t the point here; the point is, like many people, I was chosen for the role of EIC based on a skill set that bore little resemblance to the skills needed for the position itself. I knew how to follow a publishing schedule and meet a deadline, how to find art that livened up a story, how to write a good (sometimes excellent) headline, how to coordinate with a production department and a printing company, and how to proofread with a high degree of precision.

And that brings me to my main point: it happens everywhere, all the time, including in accounting – and it’s just as true for accounting firms as it is for accountants. There’s even a phrase for it: “What got you here won’t get you there.” The skills, attitudes, investments, and efforts that lifted you to a certain position are often not the ones you need to succeed in the position or rise above it.

For example, the technical skills and headlong work ethic that brought someone into partnership will not help them develop business, plan a long-term growth strategy, or manage a group of partners. unruly. Likewise, the hustle and bustle and hard work and willingness to take on any client that can blur a mirror and take your business to $5 or $10 million in revenue won’t help you grow the business. back-office infrastructure, sophisticated service offerings, customer experience, and marketing strategy you’ll need to reach $25 or $50 million.

For companies, this means that when you promote people, you need to make sure they fully understand their new responsibilities and have the training they need to succeed. It also means matching your growth goals with the initiatives and strategies needed to achieve them, not just hoping that you can grow by continuing to do the same.

For accounting professionals, that means pressuring your firm for specifics about what they expect from the next role you hope to get, and never getting complacent about developing your skills and learning the new skills you have. need to succeed in the future.

If you do, it won’t take a decade for people to find out.

Trust me.

Laura J. Boyer