Many of us would like a promotion – a bit more money, a fancier sounding job
title, a corner office and your own car parking space. Well, perhaps the last
two are wishful thinking, but a promotion is a strong motivation for those in
the accountancy profession.
To secure that promotion, in all likelihood, you will have to pass an
interview. You may even be asked to give a presentation. Depending on the level
of the promotion, this could be with a line manager, a group of partners, or the
whole board of directors. Regardless, this is your opportunity to sell yourself.
Unlike many other forms of interview, your accountancy skills may not be on
test. They are a given. They will be looking for other skills which
differentiate you from other applicants. In some cases, there may be several
people in line for this promotion. The challenge lies in not necessarily being
the best for the job, but having the confidence and ability to convey that you
It is vital to ask yourself the question: “If I were on the other side of the
table, what would make me select that person?” They are looking for someone who
can bring in business, impress directors and clients, lead a team, manage
projects and motivate everyone from junior members to those who have been in the
firm for decades. They want to know what you aspire to become. They are also
looking for skills that separate you from the pack: if you give speeches, have
any published articles, or are considered a thought leader in your profession,
do highlight these.
Make sure you build your contacts within the business. Being able to engage
with other people is incredibly important.
Presentation skills are equally important. Ensure you maintain eye contact,
are dressed appropriately, and pause after each point you make to show
confidence and authority in what you say and allow your listeners to take in
what you have said. Make sure you do lots of research beforehand and practice
any answers or presentations, perhaps in front of family members – but not so
much that you have learned the answers by heart and sound robotic on the day.
In short, they are looking for someone who will represent the firm and
enhance their reputation: make sure you convey that you’re just the ambassador
they are looking for.
Jack Downton is the managing director of The Influence Business
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