As a certified public accountant, you know your way around a financial plan. While your knowledge of fiscal responsibilities is unrivaled in the corporate environment, you may not have the same amount of time and energy to dedicate to other business management aspects in your professional life.
One such area might be networking. Even the best professionals in their respective fields need the help of peers to move up the ladder, and for CPAs, balancing these relationships with the financial side of the industry is a must. For younger professionals, this task can be intimidating, but this certainly doesn't have to be the case.
To help you juggle the demands of being a CPA with the ins and outs of networking, here are a few pieces of advice:
Be valuable to other people
When you think about networking, the first thing that comes to mind might be making friends who will help you out when you need a new job. However, networking can be so much more than that.
In order to get the best results, the American Institute of CPAs Insights blog recommended offering your services to other people first. As a CPA, you have an in-depth knowledge of numerous financial aspects, and many other people may not have this same expertise. So, respond to questions on LinkedIn, write articles for other blogs and provide advice whenever asked. This way, when you need some help down the line, all those relationships will already have been established.
Keep it conversational
Great networking isn't all about the sales pitch. In fact, those who excel at connecting with new people often avoid this element altogether, and instead focus on keeping things conversational.
According to Entrepreneur magazine, fun, light exchanges are better than those with hard sales pitches. Your goal going into the process should be to just talk with someone. Forget the desire to network and get something in return – simply sit down and have a conversation. Doing so can often lead to better results than something much more formal. Better yet, people generally want to conduct business relations with people whose company they actually enjoy.
Above all else, be passionate about your profession, Entrepreneur magazine recommended. Use your knowledge to connect with other people, and demonstrate a desire and willingness to learn new things. With this attitude in place, you'll be confident and comfortable networking with total strangers.