We spoke with Karen Shaw FMAAT, finance director at Waterfall Catering Group and David Hassall MAAT, managing director of DH Business Support, to get their top tips on how to get the most out of learning and your career.
1. Stay up to date
Shaw says it’s essential to keep up to date with current legislation and financial reporting standards to make sure you know what’s going on in your field of work and beyond. “Vocational and CPD courses help refresh your knowledge and help stop you from becoming stale,” she notes.
Hassall says keeping on top of what’s going on in your industry can also help you hold your own when it comes to clients and meetings. “You can give clients and colleagues the best advice as well as ensuring that your work is still to the highest standard,” he comments.
2. Make the most of any networking opportunities
Networking and meeting other people who work in your industry is something you should really make the most of and utilise, says Shaw. “Networking has helped me as I can keep an ear to the ground and ensure that the organisation I am working at has acknowledged new changes, and are being proactive in implementing changes,” she notes.
3. Keep learning and make the most of any CPD opportunities
Many organisations give you two days in lieu a year to attend a CPD course but that’s not to say you can’t do one if the company you work for doesn’t provide that. Shaw explains: “There are many ways to obtain CPD, and plenty of online learning courses which can be done in the evening,” she says.
In-house company training courses can also count and any project that you are working on in areas that you haven’t covered before, says Shaw. You just need to make sure you document the training and try and keep learning to keep your brain active and alert.
4. Think about what you might gain from work-related courses on a personal level
Hassall says that doing vocational courses has given him a self-assurance he didn’t know he had. “My CPD has given me a really big confidence booster, as I have confidence in the fact I know what I am talking about,” he notes.
Shaw says that CPD has also helped her grow in her role. “There are many different aspects of continued development and it’s how you utilise it in your organisation that is key to being successful,” she says.
5. Remember it doesn’t have to be boring
Hassall recently returned from the Xerocon South conference for cloud accountancy leaders in Brisbane, Australia as part of his CPD and said it was an amazing experience. “People envisage reading millions of books or falling asleep in a course just to gain CPD points but it doesn’t have to be like that. The Xerocon South conference was a great, fun and amazing way to learn and I gained points for going to it!” he says.
6. Keep an open mind
Keep a look out for any opportunities that come your way, especially learning ones. “Learning of any kind is important, keep your mind open and take on new subjects (even if you don’t think its applicable to your current role),” says Hassall. “New opportunities come along and even if you only have a little knowledge to start off with, that will help you at time of change.”
7. Don’t just stick with what you know
Sometimes you need to step outside of your comfort zone to learn and grow, says Hassall, and this can be a good thing. “Learning in itself is not just something you should do for the sake of but something you should keep doing,” he advises.
Photo: Karen Shaw FMAAT is finance director at Waterfall Catering Group.
Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.