- The concept of job security has taken on new significance post-2020.
- A commitment to continuing professional development is central to remaining relevant and valuable in the workplace.
- Employees should seize opportunities available to them to ensure they have the right tools to build their career.
By John Burfitt
Since 2020’s accountancy ‘job tsunami’ that saw 1300 people from Big Four accountancy firms made redundant within months, the concept of job security has taken on new significance. Landing and keeping a job is more important than ever, especially when border closures continue to reduce the opportunity to work overseas.
Most new employees are keen to create a good impression from their very first day, but it’s good to have a little patience, advises Andy Hickey, principal consultant in Qualified Accounting & Finance at recruitment agency Robert Walters Auckland.
“You need to walk before you run and be adaptable in the new environment,” he says. “Take the time so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.”
Here are five ways to thrive and get ahead in your new position.
1. Make it a priority to know the business
Gaining a clear understanding of how a business functions, its place in the marketplace and how it generates revenue are fundamentals for a new employee, says Hickey.
“This is vital as it allows the accountant to have a clearer understanding of how their role fits in with the bigger picture. Understanding this detail can prove most empowering,” he says.
2. Identify how you can benefit the business
“Find out why you were hired, so you can identify how to add real value,” Hickey adds. That may mean having a conversation with your new boss to pinpoint the skills that landed you the position and how you can deliver on expectations.
“If you learn the person you’ve replaced was amazing, find out what made them so good. Or if it was someone who was not performing, discover what they struggled with. Knowing those details can help get some quick wins on the board,” says Hickey.
“If you learn the person you’ve replaced was amazing, find out what made them so good, or if it was someone who was not performing, discover what they struggled with. Knowing those details can help get some quick wins on the board.”
3. Know your KPIs (and meet them)
Having a clear grasp of the key performance indicators (KPIs) in a role means the new employee knows what factors their performance is being measured against, explains Hickey.
“This provides a clear playing field so you know exactly what is expected, and what insights you can add,” he explains. “It’s about utilising your key skills and capabilities so they add value.”
At Deloitte, there is a framework of Global Talent Standards that outlines expected competencies and behaviours.
“We encourage our people to stay focused on these competencies and priorities,” says Tina McCreery, chief human resources officer at Deloitte Australia. “Performance expectations remain throughout an individual’s career and continue to broaden as people grow and develop.”
4. Make an effort with communication and relationships
Fitting in with how the company operates demands not only high-level accounting skills and commercial acumen, but also an affable personality and an ability to be a team player.
“Attitude is everything,” says Deloitte’s McCreery. “Technical ability and knowledge are fundamental, but those who want to thrive need to be good leaders and create followership. This impact can only be achieved by being authentic, engaging others through clear communication and teamwork.”
She adds that effective communication both within and outside the company is paramount to driving success. Building diverse networks can also be helpful.
“Becoming culturally competent – in terms of geography, gender, ethnicity, culture and thinking – is more prominent with an increasingly diverse and borderless workforce,” McCreery says
5. Keep developing your skills
Committing to continuous learning and skills development is another essential if you want to remain valued in the workplace.
CA ANZ members can assess their skill levels and create a personalised development plan with the CA Capability+ tool. It’s a convenient way to identify any skills gaps and make the most of the training resources available through the CA Store.
“You can’t stand still when you land a new job,” says Melinda Woodlock, EY Oceania talent sourcing and attraction lead. “Employees need to continue to acquire new skills to be ready for what’s next in this rapidly changing world.”
EY has its EY Badges development program which focuses on skills such as analytics, transformative leadership, cybersecurity, digital skills and capabilities that are in high demand. To date, more than 3000 EY Badges have been awarded in Australia and New Zealand.
McCreery from Deloitte has similar advice. “Our services continue to evolve with enhanced technologies,” she explains. “We require our people to continue to develop to ensure we stay abreast of the latest thinking to add value to clients.
“Deloitte provides financial and study support for individuals undertaking professional qualifications, and postgraduate or equivalent university courses that provide direct business benefit to the firm and our clients.”
“You can’t stand still when you land a new job. Employees need to continue to acquire new skills to be ready for what’s next in this rapidly changing world.”
Deloitte supports study for qualifications including the CA Program, Graduate Diploma CA and Master of Tax.
Staying ahead: The importance of continuing professional development (CPD)
In our rapidly changing world, keeping your knowledge and skill set up-to-date can be your competitive advantage.Find out more about CPD
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