Technology – The #1 Skill to Leverage for Your Career Success
Recently, I had a client, a CFO, come to me and say “I need an accountant that is heavy in IT. I guess what I’m really looking for is a unicorn”. In the recruiting industry, we call this a purple squirrel. Companies can’t find and hire these people because they don’t exist. Although it’s rare these days for a person to have both of these skill sets, accounting and technology, the need for people with such blended skill sets is growing quickly.
In the not-too-distant future, it’s going to be more widely expected that job applicants and employees have knowledge of their own industry, as well as technology as it applies to that industry.
People are going to need blended expertise to be marketable and competitive in the free-enterprise system we call capitalism.
For example, human resources professionals often specialize in specific areas so they can become subject matter experts, but also maintain knowledge outside of their specialty areas to be more marketable. A benefits specialist can often help with new employee onboarding and other HR generalist responsibilities. This blend of skills gives them a competitive advantage in a job search. However, the HR professional with this blend plus the know-how to optimize processes through the use of key technologies, and the flexibility to adapt to new technologies, is going to be the most marketable out of the three.
The higher on the corporate ladder, the more strategic your mindset must be.
So, how can you become more big picture focused and yet more technologically savvy at the same time?
Let’s say you’re an accountant with aspirations of becoming a controller or a CFO. GAAP and IFRS are regularly reviewed and modified yearly, but accounting principles rarely change. Technology, however, is changing constantly and the speed with which it evolves is exponential. Besides continually looking for opportunities for increased responsibility and leadership, you should maintain up-to-date knowledge on available tools and ways to utilize those tools to automate tasks and increase efficiency. This will allow you to spend more time on the areas that matter most to an organization, such as developing team members and strategies for growth.
By effectively leveraging the right tools, you will have a bigger impact on the company’s bottom line, giving you a better shot at career advancement.
You and I have both heard the term “late adopters,” or heard people say they don’t have enough time to keep up with technology. Those people are going to be at a severe disadvantage in the workplace, especially when competing with new generations coming into the workforce.
Technology in the workplace is here to stay, so embracing it and figuring out how to leverage it more effectively can give you a real competitive advantage.
Still not convinced that you should be focusing on rising technology trends in your industry? Consider these reasons why tech-savvy and industry-specific knowledge is beneficial:
- Increased demand for the skills = increased financial value of the employee with those skills (which means a bigger paycheck)
- Through process automation, companies can reduce overhead, retain their competitive edge and provide you with job stability
- Using technology to reduce errors means less time and money wasted to correct those errors. Many companies’ bonus structure is based on their gross margin. With reduced errors, gross margin goes up and so does your bonus!
Technology allows us to complete normal, everyday functions with greater speed and accuracy. It’s a wonderful thing, really. It allows people to accomplish so much more.
Have you seen an increased emphasis on technology in your industry? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
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