Managing Your Career at Every Level — Directing the Directors

by Kathleen Hoffelder, NJCPA Content Editor – September 13, 2018
Managing Your Career at Every Level — Directing the Directors

Directors, more than any other group, are known as thought leaders and industry experts in their field. Most of this comes from their title, years in their profession, company name or community activities. But a question that often remains unaddressed is how does a director or equivalent accounting profes­sional become a thought leader if they are not already one? As Dr. Sean Stein Smith, DBA, CPA, CMA, CGMA, CFE, assistant professor at Lehman College, explains, “simply calling yourself one is not good enough — you need to work hard at establishing your expertise, but that can be easier said than done given the numerous other pressures facing you and your organization.” 

Tricks of the Trade 

One tactic that can, and should, be used to become a thought leader is to research and read one article (it doesn’t matter how long) on the topic in question on a regular basis. “Even if you take some time off during the year, you will end up reading hundreds of articles on whatever topic you are seeking to learn more about,” says Stein Smith. “This will put you in a qualified position to write or discuss the information you researched.” 

Amy Delman, owner of Amy Delman Public Relations, LLC, explains how imperative it is for directors to differentiate themselves and become thought leaders in particular areas. For the director looking to advance his or her career, Delman offers the following tips to maximize efforts:  

  • Write articles on your area of expertise. If you don’t have the resources to get published, write it as a blog on LinkedIn or your company website. Be consistent. Public relations, like all marketing practices, produces the best results when done on a regular basis. 
  • Speak in public. Look for opportunities at industry events, tradeshows, your local places of worship, libraries, etc. The goal is to position yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
  • Offer to serve as a mentor for less-experienced accountants. Men­toring is an excellent way to develop strong bonds both with your mentee and your organization. Sharing your knowledge so others can benefit will reflect favorably upon the type of pro­fessional you are. In most mentoring experiences, both the mentor and mentee benefit from this shared relationship.
  • Strategically network. Look to industry associations, chambers of commerce and networking groups your clients would be members of. For instance, if your practice area is matrimonial, look for networking events held at bar asso­ciations and large law firms.

Amy  Delman

Amy Delman

Amy Delman, owner, Amy Delman PR, has been involved in public relations, marketing, and branding for over two decades.
Sean D. Stein Smith

Sean D. Stein Smith

Sean Stein Smith is a professor at the City University of New York – Lehman College. Sean also is the chairperson of the NJCPA's Emerging Technologies Interest Group (#NJCPATech). He serves on the Advisory Board of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, where he co-chairs the Accounting Work Group. Sean is on the Advisory Board of Gilded, a TechStars ’19 company. He is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the American Institute of Economic Research.

More content by Sean D. Stein Smith:

This article appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.