macdonald and company
macdonald and company

Accountant Salary - How To Plan Your Accountancy Career Path

Posting date: 29 May 2019
Ricky Fullman our consultant managing the role

Accountant Salary & Career Path Planning

A sad fact of life is that some very talented accountancy professionals don’t achieve their desired accountancy career path. If your Accountancy career in real estate seems to have hit a roadblock, it may be that you are neglecting it. It’s a common problem. If your peers are advancing in their career faster than you, it’s probably because they are better at setting career goals. When was the last time you sat down and thought about your Accountancy career in real estate and did the numbers? Read this, you’ll learn how to set short-term and long-term career goals to maintain momentum on your accountancy career path.

How Accountancy Career Appraisal Affects Your Salary

As an accountant, you are responsible for the financial side of a property company’s business. You must consider all the regulatory and tax issues, as well as cash flow, VAT returns, and payroll. These activities keep the company on top of its financial situation. For improving performance in the long term, you may work with others to develop financial strategies, and formulate and execute business plans. You help to ensure that income and profitability is maximised.

For a successful accountancy career in real estate, you must define your career vision and take a strategic approach to achieving your ambition. Your strategy should include short-term goals that take you a step nearer to your vision. By taking a business plan approach to each of these short-term goals – and managing your strategy like a project manager – you’ll find that you accelerate on your chosen accountancy career path and influence your accountant salary.

Create Your Vision

When was the last time you took time to consider your long-term career goal? Only with a clear vision of your future, can you set a path to where you want to be. How can you decide the route to travel if you don’t know your destination?


Ricky Fullman, Accountancy Career Recruitment Team Leader

Many people spend more time on planning their next holiday than they do considering their career. Yet, without career planning, you are less likely to tick off the world cruise, African safari, and seven-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro from your bucket list. In fact, it’s probable that you don’t have any professional dreams on your bucket list. You have a vision of the future, but it excludes the biggest chunk of your life: your professional career.

5 Steps to Create Your Accountancy Career Vision

These five steps will help you to develop your personal vision, and set out a career vision statement.

1. Make Time to Visualise Your Future

You cannot rush developing your career vision. It takes effort, and you will probably screw up a ream of A4 paper before you get a grip on what you really aspire to be and do.

2. Be Creative and Positive

Forget pragmatic thinking. Instead, be creative. What is possible for you to accomplish? The future isn’t limited to your current abilities and skills. Be positive when considering what could be. Negative thoughts at this stage will only stop you from achieving your full potential.

3. Use Visioning Questions to Help You

To develop your ideal future vision in accountancy and finance, you need to think long and hard about what you want to achieve in your career. Ask yourself questions to prompt ideas. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • What is your definition of career success?
  • Does your current position give you a feeling of success?
  • If you had no money worries (no mortgage, no debts, and all your monthly expenses were paid), what would be your ideal lifestyle?
  • If you could choose any accountant job, what would it be?
  • If you died today, what would your obituary say about your professional life? What would you like it to say?
  • What would you like to achieve most in your career, if there were nothing to stop you doing so?
  • Who are your heroes or heroines, and what is it that you admire most about them?
  • What is the thing you enjoy doing most? How can you make it part of your career?
  • Imagine yourself in 20 years. What do you see?

Thinking deeply about such questions forcing you to look inside yourself, consider your strengths and weaknesses, and learn more about the type of accountant jobs that most appeal to you today and in the future.

4. Write a Concise Career Vision

You may have pages of notes by now. You must condense these into something clear and concise. Write a few sentences, one paragraph, to describe where you are now in your career. Then do the same for where you see yourself in your future vision. Write both paragraphs in the present tense. This will bring your vision into focus.

5. Keep Your Career Vision in View

If you lose sight of your vision, you lose sight of your potential future. Keep it in view, so that you are reminded of it daily. More than daily. Make it your screensaver. Set it as your alarm. Put it on your notice board. Pin it to your fridge.

Every time you read your vision, imagine yourself achieving it. This will reinforce the positive and aid you in your career quest – the power of your subconscious mind.

Oliver Dyer, Accountancy Recruitment Career Path expert

Plan to Achieve Your Vision

Now that you have cemented your career vision in your own mind, you must plan how to achieve it. This will become you career plan – a task list of short-term and long-term goals that move you toward your vision.

Short-term career goals are those that can usually be achieved in six months to three years, while long-term career goals take up to five years. However, these measures are flexible. Sometimes, a short-term goal (such as landing an accountant job) could take fewer than three months. A long-term goal (such as achieving an MBA from a standing start, and studying at home) may take longer than five years.

To achieve long-term goals, it is best to divide the goal into a series of short-term goals. This keeps you on track mentally – each smaller milestone is a step along your accountancy career path. A marathon is a series of mile-long jogs. A mile is four quarter-mile runs. Even short-term goals can be reduced to smaller targets.

Setting Your Career Goals

Most accountants are familiar with SMART goals, but are your career goals SMART?:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

A specific goal is essential. To say “I want to improve my skills as an accountant” gives no basis for what the improvement is. Consider what success looks like, and make this your goal. For example, “I want to progress to manage my own accountancy team in real estate within four years”.

Now consider if this is achievable, and what you need to do to make it happen. You may need to take extra qualifications. Can you do this? What constraints are there in your way? How can you overcome these? By answering these questions, you should arrive at a SMART goal. Here is an example:

  • Long-term career goal: I want to lead my own property accountancy team within four years

Short-term goals:

  • Expand my network – ensure your LinkedIn account is up to date and post twice each week within three months to build good habits
  • Develop skills – work with a mentor at my company within six months
  • Gain experience – shadow an existing team leader within one year
  • Become qualified – complete my degree qualification via distance learning within two years
  • Gain further experience – ask my boss for a portfolio to manage, moving into a supervisory capacity within three years

Now that is a career plan. A long-term goal that moves you toward your career vision. The long-term goal is divided into short-term goals. Each is measurable. Each can be further planned.

Review Your Accountancy Career Path 

A plan is never set in stone. Things change. Life moves on. Your motivations evolve. Just like a financial plan, you should review your career plan regularly. Adjust it if you need to. You may find a new way to achieve your short-term and long-term goals.

Your vision may change, too. This will alter your goals, and your pathway forward is likely to need revision. Discuss your career vision and career goals with someone you trust and respect, and an accountancy recruitment professional who is in a position to help you.

The time and energy that you put into career planning and executing your plan will be well rewarded.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success

Accountancy is a competitive market. accountant job in property and real estate can help your career develop toward your vision. To advance your career and keep it on track, you should:

  • Develop a vision for your future
  • Create SMART goals that move you forward
  • Ensure that each of your goals is measurable, achievable and realistic
  • Break your goals into smaller milestones, each with an action

Remain Positive and Flexible

Make your vision a positive one – an overarching ambition that you want to achieve and not something you wish to avoid. You will need to prioritise your tasks as you work toward your milestone achievements.

Undoubtedly, you will encounter roadblocks and disappointments along the way. Therefore, you should remain both resolute and flexible. Modify your short-term goals to remain on course to meet your career vision. As your vision evolves, you may even need to replace your short-term goals to navigate the new path.

Laurna Barry Accountancy Career Path Expert

Write down your career vision, and your detailed plan. Revisit them often, and put your energy into achieving your short-term goals. Smaller wins will accelerate you to the finish line. Your career is a marathon made up of shorter sprints, and each sprint is an achievement itself.

For a confidential discussion and career appraisal, contact the Core Services, Accountancy, and Finance team at Macdonald & Company. 


Our specialist recruitment consultants will help your career in accountancy reach new heights as well as new levels of compensation.

Accountancy salary - career path guide
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