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Q&A Forum

How To Get Ahead In Accounting


"What is the path for a standard accounting career background to move to a more strategic finance position? What skills should one attain and how can they be obtained?"

This question was asked at a recent webinar, now available on-demand:

"How ‘Modern Modelers’ Will Take Over the World of Financial Analysis"

Please add your thoughts about it below. Thanks!


Elliott Lester
Title: VP IT
Company: Reddyice
(VP IT, Reddyice) |

This path must be cut through the legacy accounting roles. At my present company the cloud based tools set up and configuration/data reconciliation enabled a group of finance employees to become modelers and modern tool users. It also freed up a large amount of time--time that was spent pushing data--you know it--query, import/macro/another query/export/import to and from Excel into real analysis--the kind that has changed EDITDA.

It’s important to understand all kinds of data--not just financial data, so find and take some data modeling courses--there are many on line. Also try to get operational experience in your business line--so that you can model the data to drive efficiency and cost reduction.

The best method--bring in a modern cloud based tool and become a subject matter expert--it will improve your company while giving you the needed experience to become a modern data modeler. Remember its no longer just about data--its about creating relationships in the data that drives EBITDA.

James Scott
Title: Consulting CFO
Company: Early Growth Financial Services
LinkedIn Profile
(Consulting CFO, Early Growth Financial Services) |

Know as much about Operations as accounting for it. Get into the field, or plant. Work some internal auditing into your career. Network in the company, know the players. Become an expert on whatever reporting tools the company is using, and as a power user of your reporting tools help others use them and understand the reports.

Robert Ewalt
Title: Exam Development Manager
Company: Institute of Certified Management Accoun..
(Exam Development Manager, Institute of Certified Management Accountants) |

Very important question! The organization I will soon retire from - Institute of Management Accountants - has some research and training on this, and I plan to explore it more fully when I retire this summer.

(CFO) |

Get as far away from day-to-day accounting as possible. Lest you'll be labeled "accounting clerk", "bean counter" or worse. Once those labels get applied, it is very hard to be seen as a decision influencer.

Shoot for a label like "management analyst" or, "CFO" or "finance officer". It is more respected and comes with the assumption that you can do more than enter numbers in the appropriate boxes.

(Manager) |

I agree with this 100%.

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