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10 Steps to Take to Boost Your Career in 2018

Now that we are over 3 weeks into 2018, you might ask yourself how your New Year’s resolutions are holding up. If the answer is not great, it’s still not too late to make a fresh start – Taking your successes from 2017 and implementing your goals for 2018. While most common resolutions are based around health and wellness, setting objectives in your career is just as important to build your personal brand and, hopefully, end your year with a promotion. Regardless of your current job status, keeping your eyes ahead and on ways to further grow will only help in the long run. Here are 10 steps to take in order to boost your career, making 2018 the best year yet!

Recognize Your 2017 Wins
First and foremost, take notice of the accomplishments you had in 2017. Write down at least 5 wins and reflect on how you reached success - It is important to recognize these achievements and how to build on them in the new year. Whether these were projects or tasks completed, you can always implement the process used in future endeavors.

Improve Your Networking
Regardless of your occupation, networking is key in all industries. Making connections will be beneficial in many different ways, including potential job searching and / or looking to advance in your current company – Expand your professional circle and see what new things you can learn from everyone you meet.

Increase Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are always something you can learn or grow that will help you in many different situations. Open to constructive criticism, showing empathy, strong team player – These are all proficiencies people look for in new talent, as well as current employees. Improving them, as well as others will make you more desirable and sought after in work settings.

Strengthen Your Email Writing
Sending emails is one task many of us find ourselves doing the most throughout the day. Because this is commonly the main form of contact with colleagues, clients and customers, brushing up on this skill will help you to write the most efficient emails – Effective communication is key, especially in today’s technology proficient generation.

Revamp Your Work Space
Your desk is where you spend 40+ hours a week – Likely more time than you see your own home. Make this space as inviting and comfortable as possible! This seems simple, but adding mementos and inspiration will increase your motivation and make you feel at ease, even when working long days.

Perfect Your Resume
Keeping your resume up to date is important regardless of your job searching status. Constantly adding your accomplishments to your portfolio will act as a reminder of the great work you are currently doing, while properly telling (and selling) your story. This will also save you from starting from scratch when the time comes around to submit job applications.

Enhancing Your Management
Project management is a task all professionals have in their job description. Implementing internal plans and due dates will help you keep track of the many moving pieces in your projects, as well as who is taking ownership of each aspect – This will keep yourself and team on track to deliver when promised. Upper management will quickly recognize when you accomplish assignments on time without pushing deadlines.

Evaluate Your Work-Life Balance
Balance is key in all aspects, specifically in your work life. It is so easy to become wrapped up in projects and team members that you begin to neglect things outside of the office. Success is equally as important in your career as it is in your personal life, so evaluate how you are spending your free time, and reward your hard work with time-off – This will ultimately decrease the possibility of being burnt out by the job, and remain successful in your role.

Set Achievable 2018 Goals
Defining career objectives is a prime way to set yourself up for success in the new year. Take the time identify the areas in which you want to grow, while recognizing the strengths you already possess that can help you get there. While creating these goals, be mindful that they are realistically obtainable in a year – For those that are not, make timelines to reach these. Checking boxes will make you feel accomplished when December 31st rolls around, giving you a new sense of purpose in your career.

Request Monthly Check-Ins
Requesting regular feedback is the best way to achieve personal improvement throughout the year. Scheduling monthly check-ins with your manager will show your interest in developing with the company, as well as ultimately helping you reach your set goals.

Doing even one of these steps will help you boost your career in a noticeable way. Putting yourself first in the working world will keep you mindful of your worth, while maintaining motivation to grow and succeed in the years to come!

10 Steps to Take to Boost Your Career in 2018

How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Accounting

Many have been waiting for Artificial Intelligence to enter the financial world, and the time has come. Numerous accounting companies have begun introducing AI to their organization in order to reduce the amount of time staff accountants are spending on various responsibilities, ultimately removing tedious and repetitive tasks from their plates to focus on bigger things within the firm. In order to understand how AI will positively change accounting without machines taking jobs away from humans, understanding how it works is key – Let’s dive a bit deeper into how machine learning will affect the accounting realm.

What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence, in layman’s terms, is technology that enables computer systems to perform tasks previously accomplished by humans. Machine learning is a subset for AI that allows machines to analyze data and forecast future outcomes – Although this is a main job for accountants, their time is ultimately freed by having computers predict this information, while also using algorithms to learn from successes and failures.

The Future of AI in Accounting
While some smaller accounting firms do not have the resources to develop and maintain their own AI products, it is said that the technology will become much more available in the foreseeable future – Again, that does not necessarily mean that jobs and head count will be eliminated along with it. Instead, redundancies will be removed, such as clearing invoice payments, bank reconciliations and auditing expenses.

As departments begin to rely more on machine learning to do most of the financial backend work, accountants and bookkeepers, as humans, will be able to deliver the emotional side of the business by connecting with clients and adding more value to the job than ever before. Now is a great time for accountants to identify how this change in the industry can help ensure a higher level of success – Focusing less on mundane areas of their job and more on the people.

How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Accounting

Ways for Accounting Majors to Set Themselves Up for Success Post-Graduation

Although education trends have fluctuated throughout the years, Business has remained the most common major to date for college students. Statistics show that a large percentage of bachelor’s degrees obtained over the past 5 years were in this field – A major which includes areas such as management, marketing or accounting. While all aspects of business play a role in an organization, accounting and finance expertise is crucial for a business to run successfully, so, with many students focusing on degrees in this area, it is important for them to make themselves notable to future employers. Here are some extracurricular activities for future graduates to consider in order to set themselves apart from the other candidates:

Working in a financial capacity
While information can and must be learned in a classroom, you can learn just as much, if not more, from practical work experiences. Putting yourself in a situation to learn from experienced professionals will be beneficial in more ways than one, and will give you the opportunity to network outside of your university. Taking a job in a financially related role can be highly valuable. I personally worked in a bank and was a part-time teller for the last 2 years of my time in college. It gave me the opportunity to prove I had a work ethic, was dependable and capable in managing financial transactions, and effective at relationship building both with clients and co-workers. Of course I didn’t set out with a master plan to accomplish all of those things, I just needed to make some money to pay bills, but in hindsight I did prove those things and I learned a great deal about the operations of a successful company. The people I worked with and for became the foundation of my references post-graduation. To this day the President of that bank is a mentor I have sought guidance and professional counsel from on many occasions and that bank also became a client of mine years later.

Secure a relevant internship
Internships are designed to place students in a true career setting, taking everything they have learned and applying it to real life situations – These opportunities are often very hands-on, and allow the chance to work directly with professionals of different levels, offering various knowledge, as well as possible mentoring as college graduation nears. Not only will these positions prepare students for entry-level positions, but will also make them accustomed to an office environment. Most universities will assist students in securing internships and some have companies that consistently come on campus to recruit for these roles, especially for those pursuing accounting degrees.

Consider outside professional development
Getting your degree speaks to you having the basic foundation to enter the professional work, but it doesn’t give you credibility with interpersonal skills nor does it speak to your willingness to continue your professional development. There are a number of professional organizations that upcoming graduates can consider to address this. Toastmasters International is a great one. Anyone who is at least 18 years of age can join and the groups typically consist of professionals at all levels of their career who want to improve their speaking skills. You never know who you may meet that could impact your career in a group like this, but joining before graduating to sharpen your skills in this area would be impressive to almost any employer. Even if the career path you chose does not entail public speaking, having confidence in presenting and being an effective speaker will eventually be a part of everyone’s career if they are aspiring to move up the ladder. Toastmaster members pay international dues of $45 USD every six months (Some clubs may charge additional fees). International dues are $33.75 USD every six months for clubs not in Toastmasters districts. All new members also pay a one-time $20 USD fee.

There are many resources available to college students and recent graduates to successfully market themselves to potential employers. While some may find their place in the world of Accounting immediately, it may take others a bit longer to find their niche – Nonetheless, persistence is always key. Knowing you have additional skills to push you ahead of the game in the long run is always motivating. We, at SNI, hope these career tips help you prepare for your dream role!

Ways for Accounting Majors to Set Themselves Up for Success Post-Graduation