Career Builders and Killers for CPA Firm Staff

Career Builders and Killers for CPA Firm Staff

I was recently asked by CPA Leadership Institute, one of the industry’s finest resources for cutting edge CPA practice management, to describe the most common career builders and career killers for staff professionals. Here was my response:

Career Builders

  • Develop a positive attitude towards practice development. Even if your results don’t immediately translate to meaningful sales, savvy firms know that results eventually follow efforts. The key is to demonstrate the “want-to” attitude early on.
  • Develop strong interpersonal skills at all levels: with firm personnel and clients.
  • Become known to the partners as someone who is reliable, can be counted on to do good work consistently and on time. If you are low on work, visit with managers and partners to get more work. Always be planning ahead.
  • Be receptive to training and mentoring efforts by superior firm members. Never be defensive when being criticized.
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude when working with difficult people. Avoid being combative or competitive in your interactions with them. This pertains to all firm personnel (especially partners) and clients.
  • Understand that, with reasonable exceptions, the firm’s #1 goal is to provide world-class service to clients and consistently meet their needs and expectations. Work-life balance is great, but don’t let it negatively impact clients.
  • As early as possible, become known as a go-to person in a specialty area important to the firm.
  • Embrace technology; learn it well. The ideal scenario: mentor an “older” partner who is technologically-challenged.

Career Killers

  • Being “ordinary;” being satisfied with average performance.
  • Turning in work to supervisors knowing it is incomplete and expecting corrections.
  • Making the same mistakes over and over again; “it just doesn’t sink in.”
  • Inability to multi-task, mainly to organize and manage multiple jobs at the same time. When one job is stalled, be able to start another and then return to the first job.
  • Being a “me first” person instead of a team player.
  • Disrespectful treatment of co-workers, admin staff and clients.

Disorganization and poor time management. Read more on CPA Practice Advisor.