I receive the Journal of Accountancy magazine on a monthly basis in the mail but do admit that I usually toss it away and never read. However, the cover headline of this month’s issue – “Building the Happy CPA” – grabbed my attention. In the 7.5 years that I’ve been in public accounting, my happiness level has certainly gone through many ups and downs. What insight could they possibly share that I didn’t know? The answer is nothing. The article discusses factors that contribute to a CPA’s happiness, much of which I was already aware of. However, reading someone else’s perspective (as well as knowing they are backed up by research!) reaffirmed what I need to continue to do and look for to maintain my career happiness (and sanity).
The three factors discussed in the article are:
1) Hope a.k.a. “belief in a better professional future based on having concrete goals and multiple paths through which to achieve them.”
2) Calling a.k.a. “Matching the employees’ interest with their work.”
3) Automomy a.k.a. Freedom.
The times that I have felt the most fulfilled with my job is when I have specific goals to achieve, usually short term ones and have been given the freedom and flexibility to manage my work and schedule. I have also been the happiness when I’ve been able to do something that I love. I really enjoy teaching and developing the newer folks in my firm and expressed that interest to my partners. By expressing my interest I’ve been able to teach local and national level trainings within my organization.
I encourage you to read through the full article for a more detailed discussion on each of the three factors. Although the article seems to be addressing an audience of leaders within a firm or organization and how they can keep their employees happy, any YCPA can benefit from this quick read. As a CPA, determine what your short term and long term career goals are and find a job that fits those needs. Strive to find your interests/passions both in and outside of the office. It is crucial to work with your supervisors in exploring different options and paths to incorporate these interests into your job. For anyone who is part of leadership/management, talk to your employees and get their thoughts on the factors above to ensure they are being fulfilled in their job.