Taking Responsibility for Your Accounting Career

Gusto Editors

Are you constructing the life and career you want?

Taking responsibility for your accounting career and actively determining your goals are critical for designing your career path. You can be intentional about the goals you set for yourself and create the career path that you want.

Gusto, along with our partners at CPA Academy, presented a great webinar all about how you can start taking personal responsibility when developing your accounting career. Our webinar titled “Intentional Goal Setting For Your Career” featured inactive CPA and executive coach, Amber Setter, and you can watch the full webinar here

In addition to Part One of this webinar article series, you can also read Part Two and Part Three to learn about defining personal goals and establishing a framework for setting goals. 

In this article, you’ll learn valuable insights from the webinar, including the importance of taking personal responsibility in your accounting career, creating your life rather than reacting to external circumstances, and the qualities of someone who creates their life. 

Taking personal responsibility in developing your career

When moving forward within the accounting profession, it’s important that you take personal responsibility and actively develop your career. Amber observed that you need to actively plan your career rather than waiting for your career path to present itself. When you consciously develop your career and establish goals, you can also use your career path for personal growth: 

“I really like to think of our careers as a metaphor … [for] growth. [Think] about [this:] What will it take for you to thrive? … [I] invite you to consider—where do you want to go? And how do you want to grow? … [Create] your own path, and [set] your own goals.”

Amber Setter 

You can determine your career path and create goals that represent your overall growth. When you actively conclude what you want for your career path rather than merely responding to the career opportunities that present themselves, you create your journey and lay the framework for moving your life forward:  

“The establishment of goals really serves as the structure for your performance. It enables you to move your life to the next level of satisfaction, success, and happiness.”

Amber Setter 

Choosing your career path and pursuing your goals can help you structure how you want to move forward with your life. One way you can strive towards your desired career path is by sharing your goals with your firm. Sharing your aspirations can help your career and develop your firm: 

“You really create clarity on where you want to take your career and your life and what it will take for you to thrive. And if you share these goals within an organization, it creates more clarity in the organization in terms of ‘What is there for you to take on next? What can be delegated to you? How can you serve the overall mission of the organization in addition to growing yourself?’ “

Amber Setter 

As you grow in your career, you can also develop your firm and pursue its overarching goals. When you take personal responsibility for your career path and grow your firm in the process, you can build the life you want to lead. 

Two business people discussing business strategy over the papers.

Creating the life you want rather than reacting to external circumstances

When determining the career path you want to follow and your goals, it is critical to avoid making reactionary decisions. Many people make choices by reacting to their environments rather than creating the life they want. 

“All too often, people react to the environment they’re in versus creating the life they want. So it looks like I’m running away from something versus really being pulled by a sense of purpose and knowing what you’re running towards.”

Amber Setter 

When you make decisions by reacting to your environment, you’re making choices based on fear rather than what you want. You need to focus on your goals and identify how you respond to external circumstances in your career: 

“Somebody that’s reactive is really thinking about … [how they] don’t like something about [their] job. So they leave only to discover … [that] whatever challenges [they] had before [at their previous job] … still exist [at their new job]. The same … issues will come up in the next company, the next position, [and] the next project.”

Amber Setter 

If you switch to a new company because you’re reacting to problems, you’ll find that the same issues will appear elsewhere. If you let external circumstances control the decisions you make, you’re not creating your path. Reacting to external circumstances can also deplete your energy:

“When somebody is really in the reactive, fear-based mode, there’s extreme busyness, and [they get] overwhelmed. … This is usually the result of not having a plan or a goal, right? You’re just reacting to everything that gets delegated … or assigned [to] you without some intention on what you want to create for your life. One’s energy becomes scattered versus focused on the clear goals a person has established for themselves.”

Amber Setter

Reacting to external circumstances rather than following your own path depletes your energy because you don’t have clear goals that you’re striving toward. Don’t make decisions by reacting to circumstances—follow the career path you want and pursue your goals:

“Rather than reacting to circumstances, a much more powerful place to come from is creation and being intentional about the goals you want to achieve.”

Amber Setter

When taking responsibility for your accounting career, you need to actively create your path and establish your goals. Stick to your desired career path, and don’t make reactionary decisions based on external circumstances.

The qualities of a creator

Shifting your energy from reaction to creation enables you to focus on your goals and the path you want to establish. When you focus on creating rather than reacting, you become the creator of your own life:  

“You can shift your energy towards creation. … Generate the life that you want. You’re the creator of your own reality, and this aligns with intentional goal-setting.”

Amber Setter

When you shift your energy to creation, you develop certain qualities that help you create your own life and follow your goals. 

Happy woman employee sitting at workplace looking at laptop.

The first quality of being a creator of your life is that you’re action-oriented and focused on remedying situations:

“[Creators are] oriented to action, and as needed, they correct rather than explaining or protecting themselves”

Amber Setter

Creators focus on action and fixing things so that if something goes wrong, they won’t make excuses or push the blame onto others—they’ll focus on improving the situation and moving forward. 

The second quality of a creator is that you’re focused on completing projects and building relationships with others:

“The primary concern is about the ultimate success of a project or relationship, … so [you’re] really focused on success and making things good versus correction and protection.”

Amber Setter

When you’re a creator, you focus on pushing towards completing a project while forming positive relationships rather than centering your attention on protecting your professional career or reprimanding others for making errors. 

The third quality deals with channeling your energy to push forward and solve problems rather than dwell on the past:

“A person that is in this creative domain doesn’t spend a lot of energy evaluating how things got to be the way they are. Instead, they really focus on effective action going forward. We can’t change the past. It’s fixed, but we can say, ‘Where are we today? Where do we want to be in the future? And how do we get there?’ “

Amber Setter

Creators focus on accomplishing goals and striving forward rather than remaining focused on the past. 

The final quality of creators is that they’re inspired to drive forward from their own results:

“People who are … living from the creative domain are empowered by being the source of their own results. They create [their] goals, and they achieve those results.”

Amber Setter

Taking personal responsibility in your accounting career means that you’re driving forward in creating your path by focusing on action and achieving your goals. You create the life and career you want by living in a creative state rather than a reactive state. 

Learn more about taking responsibility for your accounting career

When developing your accounting career, you need to take personal responsibility and actively create your path and goals. Your career path can also stand as a framework for your personal growth. You can use your professional journey to strive towards creating the life you want to lead. Avoid merely reacting to external circumstances—create your career path and consciously pursue your goals.

If you’re ready to learn more about taking responsibility for your career, read Part Two and Part Three of this webinar article series. You can also watch the entire webinar here.  

Developing your accounting career and helping your clients can be challenging. Fortunately, Gusto can assist you in moving forward with your goals and provide excellent tools for your small business clients. We support small businesses by providing onboarding, payroll, and health insurance. Additionally, our Gusto Partner program gives you access to helpful HR tools as well as a dedicated partner advisor. If you want to learn more about how Gusto can help your career, visit our Gusto for accountants page.  

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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