There’s no way to avoid it: networking is an important part of having a successful career. No matter what type of career you have or which industry you work in, having a strong professional network helps your career in many ways. But if you’re a young CPA just starting out or simply want to make a more active effort to improve your networking skills, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are a few excellent ways you can start connecting with other CPAs.
Is there a charity you support who could benefit from your experience as a CPA? Or maybe there’s a local organization you could help. Why not contact them to see if you could give them a hand? You can meet a lot of new people while doing volunteer work and the experience makes an excellent addition to your resume. Volunteering is a particularly great option for younger CPAs who don’t have as many professional connections yet and would like to improve their resume. Need help finding something to volunteer for? The AICPA website can help you find volunteer groups to get involved with.
Your State’s CPA Association
As a CPA, the website for your state’s CPA association can be an extremely valuable resource. Exactly what you’ll find on those websites will vary from state to state, but you can typically expect to find things like industry news, job listings, information about various events for CPAs in your state, and much more. Keep a close eye on those local events, because you could very well end up meeting someone who could change the course of your career.
Want to connect with other CPAs who aren’t necessarily local? Professional conferences are an incredible opportunity to meet and connect with other CPAs from all over the country, so if you have the chance to attend one, don’t pass it up. Visit the AICPA website to see a list of upcoming conferences they sponsor all over the country.
Get Connected Online
Sure, spending time on social media can be a lot of fun when we do it for personal purposes. But why not use social media to help you professionally, too? Sign up for a LinkedIn account, look for Facebook groups for CPAs, follow CPA-focused Twitter accounts, find some online forums for CPAs, and join the conversation! The more active of a participant you are, the more likely it is you’ll be able to make lasting connections.
Regardless of how you choose to network, it’s extremely important to remember that it’s not the sort of thing you can just do once and call it a day. You can’t just go out and exchange business cards or add other people on social media and leave it at that; you need to work to maintain and cultivate those relationships over time. Stay in touch with the people you meet while networking and do what you can to help other CPAs when you can. If you keep these things up over time, you’re bound to build an incredibly strong professional network.