The basic elements of a formal career plan for a newly qualified Chartered Accountant

Oct 01, 2020

To pass your CAP2 and FAE exams you need to implement a rigorous study plan during the year as you approach qualification. As an ACA finalist, you will need to implement the same approach and format to your job search and career plan. 

If you don't structure your job steps through a considered strategic plan, you risk your career pathway making random jumps and just falling into opportunities. 

Here are a few suggestions to help you build the beginning of your effective long-term career plan:

  • In 10 years when you are an FCA, what role do you think you will want to be settled into? What does this picture look like?  Map it out for yourself in detail 
  • At five years PQE (post qualification experience), what role do you anticipate holding?  It should be a good springboard to your 10 year target. It should be in line with the Career Pathway map 
  • Do an honest skills set audit: Document the skills you are strong on and identify what you are lacking and will need to shore up / develop if they are important to your 5/10 year plan 
  • Speak to people – a lot!  Make your career map part of your business conversations and put your ambition to go out there in a particular direction with people
  • Document your plan: Write it down – keep a detailed spreadsheet.  Track and analyse it like a full ongoing long-term project that you give monthly priority to. (I have seen very average performers reach lofty career heights by giving sufficient time and attention to their career projects and ambitions – don’t put it low on your to-do list). 
  • If you aim to move on after qualifying then take a look at the key actions and considerations here
  • Start meetings with a few mentors and document the tips they give you in your career file
  • Build your personal brand both in work and online/LinkedIn
  • Start to build your personal network in line with key career influencers
  • Put a slot in your diary each month to spend a few hours on your career project
  • Consider a mentor: We can put you in touch with an advisor who will share experience, knowledge and tips. Find out more about the mentoring programme here

There is of course a lot more to building a formal career plan but these are a few initial considerations and initial building blocks to put in place. 

Once you qualify make sure you connect with your Chartered Accountants Ireland Careers team to map out the rest of the plan and review the wide variety of ACA paths and market opportunities.

Dave Riordan (ACA)

Recruitment Specialist and Career Coach

Contact Dave here