6 Ways to Grow Your Network by Giving Back to the Profession
The accounting profession is no stranger to efficiency, with CPAs constantly juggling multiple tasks. Oftentimes accounting professionals find themselves in the position of choosing to do one thing at the cost of another. By being more intentional with what is chosen, one can effectively kill two birds with one stone — in this case, giving back to the accounting profession while growing a personal network. Here are six ways to do just that:
- Be a Mentor. A mentor-protégé relationship does not always have to be formal and does not always have to be with somebody in your company. Think outside the box. Those who are in the earlier stages oftheir career should consider forming a relationship with somebody they admire in the profession. Those who are already established should consider reaching out to somebody they may have previously met who showed interest in their career path. Initiate a conversation, connect on LinkedIn and go from there. Depending on the comfort level, perhaps meet virtually for lunch once a month.
- Teach a Webinar. The knowledge accountants possess is highly sought after. Over the past year, there has been a significant uptick in webinar-based education. Teaching opportunities naturally present themselves throughout the year, sometimes when and where one least expects them to. Taking the initiative to teach a webinar to others inside or outside of the profession will open the door to growing a network, which naturally can lead to future opportunities.
- Speak to Future Accountants. There are many opportunities to get in front of possible future accountants to talk about the profession and answer any questions students may have. High school and college business and accounting classes regularly seek out guest speakers to provide informal presentations to raise career awareness. Some high schools and most colleges also have an accounting club for which guest speakers are in high demand. In addition, both high schools and colleges host career fairs at which an accountant can be present. You never know who you might be inspiring — to this day, I still remember speaking with the CPA at the “accounting” table my junior year of high school during the career fair.
- Write an Article. Writing an article might sound like a tedious task, but when one writes about a topic that genuinely interests him or her, it usually ends up not being difficult (it might even be enjoyable). There are so many relevant topics to write about in the accounting profession from auditing standards, to tax updates, to professional development. Not only does writing an article get one’s name out there, but it also can help teach others something they don’t already know; it also establishes the writer as a potential subject matter expert. Talk about a win-win-win!
- Plan an Event. This past year caused everyone to get creative with the way they interacted on a day-to-day basis. Virtual happy hours, trivia/game nights, cooking demonstrations and book clubs became a common substitute for in-person networking events. Fortunately, technology has enabled people to react and pivot effectively without missing a step. Planning events became much more seamless, and the cost of hosting events significantly declined. Attending virtual events is now much easier, and, as a result, more people are likely to attend.
- Perform Acts of Kindness. Most of us are not just accountants, we have hobbies and interests to help keep us balanced. Finding a way to incorporate one’s hobby into an act of kindness is such a rewarding experience, especially when sharing that experience with other colleagues. Form a work team and run a 5K for a cause, collect food and donate to a food pantry, or teach a fitness class “just because” — and get as many accountants involved as possible. The opportunities are endless.
This article appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.