Are you ready to move up? Find out with a skills audit
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are in your career, but smart accounting and finance professionals know not to rest on their laurels. To keep up and move up the career ladder, you need to know where you should make improvements. There’s no better way to begin than to perform a skills audit.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and put career aspirations on the back burner. Conducting an annual skills audit allows you to identify which skills you’ve gained over the past year and what gaps you need to fill in order to reach your professional goals. When you take the time to do a self-assessment, you may be surprised at how far you’ve come — and what else you need to do in order to go further.
How to conduct a skills audit
Unlike a financial audit process, a skills audit isn’t as regimented so feel free to use a list, spreadsheet, or flowchart. The most important part of the skills audit is finding out the answers to following questions:
1. What have I achieved?
List the accomplishments you’re most proud of. As you do, note the technical and interpersonal skills you used to excel at each task. Were your monthly or quarterly statements flawless and on time? If so, you have excellent accounting and time management skills. Has senior management accepted and implemented all your recommendations? That’s probably because you possess top-notch business knowledge and presentation abilities.
Referring back to your calendar and to-do lists can help you remember all of your wins and successes. Write them all down, no matter how small, and soon you’ll start seeing a pattern of what you do well.
2. What can I do better?
In your skills audit of the past year, you’ll likely see some areas where you can improve. Has your manager mentioned that your reports contain unnecessary jargon? Perhaps it’s time for a business writing course to improve your communication skills. Do you feel you should have a firmer foundation on the latest compliance and regulatory issues? Do you find that your leadership abilities could do with some improvements? Continuing your learning and professional development will give you the information you need to stay current. A mentor can also help with your skills audit and make suggestions.
3. What do I need for the future?
After auditors examine a company’s books, they make a list of recommendations detailing how the business can improve its operations and profitability. Do the same in your skills audit. To move ahead, you may need to pursue another certification, or professional qualification. Be as honest with yourself as you are with your clients, and write up the action items you need to take in order to advance.
A skills audit can be highly beneficial to your professional development, so take the time to review your yearly performance. Doing so will shed light on your strengths and weaknesses and help you identify new directions you can take your career.