Public speaking can be an extremely stressful event at any stage of your career. Not to say that a green accountant fresh out of college has it any worse, but they may lack a few of the key factors that can make it just a little easier. For example, new accountants lack the knowledge, experience, and credibility of those who have their CPA license and years of experience under their belts.
Networking is one version of public speaking that I intend to show how it does not have to be a stressful event but a fun one. Yes, I said a fun one. I know some of you out there might be like, “Yeah right. Networking, talking to new people about their business, their money, and speaking in front of groups about what you do. Fun yeah right.” But, hear me out on this.
There are a few things to keep in mind when networking as a new accountant to help relieve some of this stress.
- You are not alone: There are always other professionals at the same stage of their career as you. Each one of them has different skills and strengths. Talking with your peers about what stresses you about networking or public speaking can reaffirm that you are not alone and have someone to talk to. Also, your superiors have all been there before. Taking the time to ask them questions about how they networked as a young accountant will give you a wealth of insight on how you can too.
- Sell the firm: If you are part of a firm small or large, you are probably not the only person who is going to be looking at the potential client’s project. Meaning, there are people in your firm that have been doing this for years. Giving the potential clients comfort or assurance that someone fresh out of college is not going to be the only person reviewing their business is absolutely key at this stage of networking.
- For example, I would say something like: “Now I am not the only person who is going to be looking at your tax return. My work is reviewed by someone who is a CPA and who has been a CPA for multiple years. All our projects are reviewed for quality assurance and accuracy.”
- You could also say: “I am not familiar with that topic or I do not know the answer to that question, but I have someone at my firm that I can bring in to help us with it.”
- These comments, in my opinion, show maturity and humility. Both are traits people want to have in an accountant.
- Integrity: Integrity is the most important aspect of everything we do as a professional and as a person. When it is applied to networking, the first thing one needs to consider is “Do not lie.” Telling someone that you have credentials you don’t or experience you have not obtained is unacceptable. Clients will find out if you have lied to them and if you have, there are consequences. Being honest about who you are and where you are at in your career is worth more to people at the end of the day.
No matter your experience or credentials, you have the power to network and bring clients – of all sizes – to your firm. This can be accomplished by inquiring of their peers and supervisors, selling their firm, and having integrity.
I am one of those accountants. I have been an accountant for almost three years and am currently sitting for my CPA license. I have large and small clients and am more successful at networking than other accountants with their CPA and many more years of experience. All of this while still being nervous while speaking in front of others about what I do. But, I remember that I am not alone, I continuously sell the firm, and I act with integrity.
|David Rea is an Analyst at Abacus CPAs, LLC in the Branson, Mo office. David is excellent in situations that require strategic organization of information. He sets priorities and put them into appropriate sequences. David’s talent with both strategies and tactics makes you essential to any massive effort.|