In Review: Our First-ever Glasgow Rising Stars.
At the end of Q1, iMultiply hosted our first ever Rising Stars event in Glasgow. After a few runs in Edinburgh, it was time to take the event to our fantastic candidates in the West, and we had a fantastic time doing so!
Our four impressive speakers shared valuable insights and experiences with the attendees, so we’ve put together some of the best advice from the night for young accounting professionals.
The Importance of Varied Experience
Firstly, all the speakers at the event highlighted the importance of gaining varied experience in different areas of accounting and finance, and even beyond.
Jenny Buchanan, Virtual Finance Function Senior Manager at AAB, talked about what we think of as “soft skills”, and how they are often the most transferable skills professionals can take from one function, role level, or even career to another. Her personal experience of going from a humanities degree to accounting showed her there is no such thing as useless knowledge or experiences. Everything has value.
Understanding both practice and industry was also mentioned throughout the event. Janie McMinn, Audit Partner at EY emphasised how valuable it is for practice professionals to understand what it’s like to work for a single business. Industry exposure can provide insights into how businesses who are practice customers operate and what their financial needs and priorities are.
Sagar Mackenzie, FC at Tag Digital spoke about his experience working abroad and how valuable that was in his development. Exposing yourself to different ways people approach work, and particularl, experiencing different work cultures and their impact on yourself, allows you to grow holistically. A well-rounded professional is always in high demand!
The Importance of Networking
Secondly, networking was mentioned over and over throughout the night as a key tool for young accounting professionals looking to build their careers. Every speaker highlighted a connection or connections that had an impact in their careers at some point.
Nick Fitzpatrick, Head of Commercial Finance at SSE Renewables had great advice for the attendees- don’t judge what someone can teach you based on perception alone. In every role and company there will be people who can give you something useful, and building those relationships is what gets you where you want to be.
Jenny noted a casual meeting like a coffee is all you need to start the relationship. Most professionals like talking about what they do, and it’s not always about having a calendar full of formal events. A balance between formal and informal opportunities to network will allow you to build a verity of connections you can later reach out for advice and opportunities.
Change is Positive When Done Right.
Knowing when the time is right for a change was another thing the speakers touched on frequently. A comfortable job, especially, can be hard to leave, but a couple of the speakers noted sometimes it’s better to pursue a new challenge where we can have a greater impact than stay somewhere out of comfort. Nick spoke about the career changed he made, noting the moves he made because he knew he could add value and make a difference, rather than because they were expected of him, are where he learned the most.
In addition, Sagar had very interesting insight into the idea of change. He talked about the temptation to only consider changes that reflect an immediate step up from where we are in our careers at a given point, and how people often forget that a step to the side or even backwards can be what gets you into the right space and culture that you need to start developing and working at your highest level.
Janie’s tip on how to choose when and what change is necessary was to imagine what you want your CV to look like in 2-5 years and build a strategy based on that goal.
Growth in a Critical Way.
All the speakers emphasised the importance of having a growth mindset and being proactive and critical about how you learn and develop throughout your career.
Moreover, returning to his previous line about perception and reality, Nick’s advice for the attendees was to not believe at face value what people say about a sector or function if you haven’t experienced it. In his words: “Corporate finance is not always sexy, and renewables can be sexy!” Growth should be for you not for what the newest trend is.
Sagar echoed this advice, emphasising the importance of seeking growth with an open mind and being willing to challenge traditional ways of thinking. His repeated phrase was “culture is crucial!”
Speaking about the value of seeking out diverse sources of growth and learning, Jenny recommended looking for development opportunities even in areas you don’t already know much about. Starting from zero can be worth it!
Janie spoke about the value of seeking out new challenges and opportunities to develop new skills, and noted the importance of being proactive and taking ownership of those opportunities and all your career development.
No single path to success.
We think the biggest takeaway from the night was there is no such thing as a single path to success, and it is very much within people’s control to carve out the careers they want. Our speakers’ advice on openness, upskilling, and proactivity was engaging and diverse and we hope everyone who attended enjoyed it as much as we did!
The Rising Stars Event is a valuable opportunity to learn from some of the most impressive accounting professionals in the industry and connect with the future leaders in their space.
Written by Arantza Asali, Marketing Executive.
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