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Creating a Personal Development Plan: A guide for accountants & finance professionals

CFO, leadership, career advice

With the COVID-19 outbreak taking a serious toll on the Australian employment market, concerns around job security are at a high, as is competition for accounting and finance roles.

Whilst the impact of current events may feel out of your control on many levels, there are opportunities to keep yourself in the driving seat of your career and continue to make progress for your future. One way is to create a Personal Development Plan.

Having a clear plan for personal and professional goals will help you to fulfil your potential in your current role or position you well for the role you want.

 

What is a Personal Development Plan?

A Personal Development Plan is essentially a plan of action for your career, guiding you to leverage your core strengths and overcome obstacles. It can be used to help you take your next career step or to develop further within your current role.

Having a clear written plan is a great motivator, giving you a constant visual reminder of your strengths; the things you need to work on and, importantly, clear direction of how you intend to carry out your plan.

It will give you the focus you need to develop yourself and advance your career.

 

How a Personal Development Plan can help you stand out

With organisations often receiving hundreds of applications for a single role, only a handful of truly excellent candidates will make it to the final stages and, potentially, being appointed.

At this point in the process, potential employers will take a high level of technical skills as a given. And whilst, technical skills are an important part of accounting, finance professionals are increasingly required to have a more complex and balanced skill set. This includes the soft skills required to manage stakeholders and partners; to develop and influence others; and to become leaders within their business.

Those with an analytical nature may need to take some time to identify and strengthen those more intangible skills, such as: influencing, managing conflict, giving feedback and leading others.

 

How to create a Personal Development Plan

  1. Self-reflection – Begin by looking at your own strengths and weaknesses. Are there behaviours or mindsets that you need to unlearn? Identify key areas (particularly soft skills) that require development.
  2. Ask for insights from others – Ask for feedback from people that you trust. Speak to people who know you, both personally and professionally. Ask them what makes you successful? What do they like about your leadership style? How do you sabotage yourself? How do you make others feel?
  3. Invest in a detailed profile– Profiling can help you to nail down the specifics. You may consider obtaining a psychometric profile to measure your capabilities and behavioural style.
  4. Get help – Engaging a good coach or mentor can challenge your thinking and help you maintain momentum. An impartial third-party will help you to see yourself in the same way that others might see you.
  5. Get specific – Identify where you are now and where you want to get to – then perform a gap analysis. Once you know what success looks like you can start making your way towards it.

 

Putting your plan into action

The perfect plan involves a mix of on-the-job experience, informal activities (such as mentoring and self-directed learning), together with formal training. Moir Group’s Learning and Development Manager Ola Dabbagh-Roberts believes the ideal split is 70:20:10. She states, “Think about what learning is required and link that back to the outcomes you want to achieve. Identify who can help you, ask for support and seek feedback.”

 

Be proactive and enjoy the learning

Changing behaviours and learning new skills can be challenging, but also an immensely rewarding journey.

In order to succeed you need to invest a proper amount of time, commitment and make the realisation of your Personal Development Plan a genuine priority.

 

If you would like further support, information or resources on this topic, please contact us and we will be more than happy to set you up with a Personal Development Plan.

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