When you think of networking, you might picture the classic small business networking event; lots of people gathered in a room, persuading each other to buy their service. While that may be true of the former years (think pre-Covid), we believe that, as an accountant there are so many more ways to network than the classic BNI-type event. More importantly, we believe that networking is now as vital to your career as your professional qualifications, experience and CV. It doesn’t have to be about selling a service. It’s more about building lasting business relationships that will bring value in years to come.
Kate, our Founder here at Artemis Clarke, has always been a strong believer in the power of networking thanks to the impact it had on her accountancy career prior to setting up her financial recruitment business. She’s also seen just how useful networking has been in growing her business. Quite simply, Kate has experienced firsthand how networking can create opportunities for career, business and personal growth. Unsurprisingly, she is a huge fan even if, as an accountant, traditional networking might not feel like a natural fit!
Networking as an Accountant
You might be wondering why you, a qualified Accountant or a trainee Accountant should bother networking. Especially if you are already in a role that you enjoy and find fulfilling?
The answer lies in the different types of networking, and the kinds of contacts you’ll make and develop through each one. Take a look at the three main networking possibilities out there – you don’t need to do everything. Find what works for you and then enjoy building a network over time.
Professional accountant networking
First is networking and training within professional associations or bodies where you connect with fellow Accountants and Finance Professionals. Accountancy conferences, meet-ups and seminars are a great way to stay on top of developments within your field. They also provide you with the opportunity to build relationships with more senior Accountants, interesting newcomers and anyone in-between.
These finance professionals shouldn’t be considered your competitors. They are the people that could lead you to your next role. They are precisely the kind of people that you can learn, and take inspiration, from.
Great places to look for such events are those held by your accountancy training body (E.g. ICAEW events and ACCA “link up” events). Online training courses can also be a useful, and surprising way to expand your network so do sign up to courses or sessions that interest you.
Second are those networking events not directly related to finance, but which are close to you via geography or sector. For example, you might currently be working in a small business in a big city. Attending networking events or talks will give you the chance to meet other professionals in the same location. If you are keen to get into a certain sector, then attending a trade show or talk specific to that industry could be the way to go. Such events are often found by doing a quick search on Eventbrite.
These people, found at local networks or regional events, could well be the key to moving forwards and upwards in accountancy into a more senior accounting role. Each individual you meet has their own network which will include a wide range of people in many different fields and organisations.
Accountancy roles will often crop up in growing businesses that are struggling with their financial systems. Many of them will not be advertised publicly. Having a good local network is an excellent way to stay front of mind even when you aren’t looking to change job – those connections could serve you well in the coming years.
A good network is also useful if you are able to be actively helpful to your connections – building a level of trust in the professional community is invaluable.
Finally, your current organisation is likely to be an excellent place to widen your network, and we don’t just mean heading out with your fellow golfers!
Taking part in the events and opportunities at work will give you a chance to meet interesting people from a variety of different roles, cultures, backgrounds and departments. A great way to network with people in different departments without feeling any ‘networking pressure’ is to get involved in any workplace volunteering days that your organisation runs. Likewise, workplace training sessions – such as
first aid, sustainability, or wellbeing – are also a great way to build your network while improving your soft-, and non-accountancy skills.
Even if you tend to think of yourself as a heads-down Accountant and can see little reason to step away from your time-specific tasks, allowing for some networking around the kettle will give you the chance to develop insights and relationships that will make your job easier. Those contacts and insights will make your work more enjoyable. They could potentially also be useful in the future as people move
on to other organisations.
Accountant? Network to find a new role
We definitely would agree that networking is now an important route to finding a job – according to payscale.com How Many Jobs Are Found Through Networking, Really? anywhere between 70 – 85% of open positions are filled thanks to networking rather than the more traditional external job advertising.
It means that the thankless task of doom scrolling through the latest roles online is increasingly outdated. This should give us all hope! While searching online is no longer a priority, a skilled and well-connected recruiter will have excellent and targeted contacts, as well as the kind of industry information that is vital for a successful job search.
The key to finding your next role if your efforts haven’t yielded results, is finding a good recruiter. Someone who takes the time to understand you, has the same sort of values/ethics and takes pride and delight in finding the right person for the right role. This is especially important in more specialised roles such as accountancy where a firsthand understanding of the work can really help when it comes to identifying the right accountant for the role.
That’s why we believe combining a good recruitment specialist with your own networking is the ideal way to stay ahead in your finance career.
We hope we have shown why you should keep on networking, regardless of where you are in your accountancy career. The connections you make now will support you as you climb the ladder.
As a key part of your network, we’d love to invite you to consider applying to join our talent database where we’ll use our own excellent recruitment and networking skills to find your next accountancy role.