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Special Report: Personal development for accountants in business

This report covers the core areas of personal development that professional accountants will find invaluable in progressing their careers.

Take time to invest in yourself.

From the first day that the faculty opened for business the committee members were adamant that we were not going to limit ourselves to financial management. We were aiming to cover the broad range of management skills that we need to develop our careers.

One of our examiners described the ACA professional examinations as being like the Olympics. We train our minds to a pinnacle across a broad level of technical proficiency. After that some areas decline, others thrive, and we develop the leadership skills that will see us to the top. Hopefully!

Most good MBA courses will not accept candidates without a good few years’ practical experience under their belts. Technical excellence will take you so far but after that we become managers, then directors and leaders. The content of this special report pulls together a selection of our best articles showing how to develop these skills.

It is ironic that these are often called soft skills but they can be the hardest skills to acquire and use. They are the fun bit of what this faculty does and we can always guarantee a big audience when we run events on these skills. But putting them into practice is the most difficult part.

As accountants, we used to have a reputation for being cold and perhaps more comfortable with numbers than with people. I think that is now history but we can all still get better at the ‘people’ aspect.

Our technical needs survey identified ‘managing people’ as one of the topics you most wanted to hear about from the faculty. Perhaps dealing with the most difficult person to manage, oneself, may be a good place to start! I am sure you will remember reading some of these articles in F&M in recent years but few will have read them all. We have organised them to provide a mini-continuing professional development (CPD) course in developing your career. In a time of austerity we wanted to help you fulfil part of your CPD obligation as economically as possible.

Published by the Finance and Management faculty (SR32 - March 2011)

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Comments and suggestions

Emma Riddell, Head of the Finance and Management Faculty