A recent study has identified the most in-demand finance professions among small business employers. News site Accounting Today reported their surprise over the findings which saw ‘business analyst’ top the list, followed by ‘business development manager’. An ‘accountant’ failed to make the top ten.
Div Bhansali, vice president of marketing at AccountantsWorld, believes the study is consistent with an ongoing trend; a branding issue exists for accountants. Bhansali suggested that if accountants are to overcome this obstacle, they need to do a “better job of presenting themselves to small business owners as analysts and development experts”.
Bhansali explained that an ‘accountant’ doesn’t come to mind when business owners are searching for forward thinking individuals who are committed to growth, however, analyst and developer positions do. Interestingly (or perhaps frustratingly for accountants), he goes on to state that even though an ‘accountant’ didn’t make the top ten, they are often able to perform the duties of say, a business analyst for their clients. The analyst however, is unlikely to be able to perform the duties of an accountant. If an accountant possesses abilities such as this one, they need to make it known to potential employers who may not have even considered them due to their ‘accountant’ title previously. How can they do this?Via personal branding.
Bhansali stated that from both a supply and demand perspective, “there’s an invisibility issue when it comes to the branding of accountants.” If accountants are to catch an employer’s eye, they need to showcase the wide range of services they are qualified for when applying for roles. There may be hiring shortages nationwide in this sector, but if hiring managers are not looking for ‘accountants’ per se, accountants will continue to be overlooked.
This is where personal branding comes in. Historically, only the largest companies and wealthy individuals considered developing their ‘brand’. Today, self-branding has taken off. It’s now the norm to see children advertising their brand via social media platforms for the hundreds to see.
One issue accountants tend to have when it comes to self-branding is the fear of overpromising. This can be a dangerous headspace to be in as it can hinder your ability to see what you can effectively offer a company. What’s that famous saying? Variety is the spice of life. Accountants should realise that the more ‘tools’ they have in their ‘kit’, the larger the benefit they will be to a company. If you know about the latest cloud technology, list it on your CV and cover letter. If you’re able to provide strategic advice and accurate projections for a client (like a business analyst would), advertise it on your professional website. By not emphasising and advertising your full skill set, you risk missing out on those all important job opportunities.
Building Your Brand
As you’ve probably gathered, we believe strong personal branding is essential. Now it’s your turn to create or develop yours. There are many articles online on building a personal brand (which can be a little overwhelming), therefore we’ve created a list of six things you need to consider if you want to create a brand that’ll get you noticed:
- Define your target audience – which companies do you want to work for?
- Change how you view yourself – try and see yourself in a more positive light. If you have any negative traits, look for a positive in them.
- Do your research – look at those business analyst and business development manager roles, identify whether you possess the same skills
- Create a platform to launch your brand – create a professional or social media profile. Sites such as Wix and WordPress have free options and they’re very straightforward to use.
- Build your network – if you have a LinkedIn account for example, start to follow and engage with the companies you’d like to work for
- Keep track of your results – if you feel one method isn’t working, try something different. If you aren’t engaging with companies on social media, search for open networking events they may attend.
Want to add to your personal brand by studying an accounting qualification? Get in touch with Aspiring Accountants today for more information on the relevant courses for you.