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Transitioning from middle to senior position

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​As employees in the Accounting & Finance industry, we are often faced with a common question: When and how do we move from a mid-level finance function role? Candidates often feel that they have hit a glass ceiling in their career — be it in growth or development — and the step above seems harder to reach than the steps that came before.

If you’re ready for the next advancement in your professional career, or if you’re beginning to feel too comfortable in your current role, here are some areas to consider before deciding on your career progression:

  1. Understanding what is next for you: One of the most crucial components to succeeding in your new role is to understand exactly what is involved — what are the skills and responsibilities of the new position? How does this differ from your current role? How can you better prepare for these new responsibilities? What is your plan of action? Understanding the specifics of your new role is fundamental to your success in the next stage.

  2. Shift your focus and look at the bigger picture: One of the biggest challenges in transitioning from middle to senior position is the ability to shift your focus. Senior positions often require you to oversee matters objectively, rather than focus on a specific task. With a transition into a senior role, you would no longer be focusing on daily operations or looking at one specific element. So start putting on your thinking cap and move away from daily operational work and see how each task fits into the overall business objective.

  3. Finance isn’t just about numbers: You need to be able to inspire people, make value-added decisions for the company and acquire buy-ins from relevant stakeholders. Developing strategies and providing a vision for your function that support the goals of the business is what every company needs.

  4. Which stage are you at right now? Do you consider yourself an individual contributor? Do you have experience in managing and leading a team? Are you ready to take on new challenges and responsibilities, on top of your current workload? Different individuals have varying perspectives on their career progression, and many choose to believe that leading a team is the way to go. This thought may hold true to a certain extent, but if you are still focusing on operational work, then leading a team might not be the right fit for you. Instead, start creating partnerships across the different functions within the organization, such as the sales or marketing team. Find ways to value-add to their work, by sharing insights from a finance point of view in an effort to contribute to their success. This would not only significantly help improve the business, but also prove your worth as a finance employee!

There are many ways to go about a career progression, but it is crucial for one to be well prepared for the necessary challenges and responsibilities that are to come when accepting a senior role. Progress only comes when one is constantly growing and adding value to the lives of others throughout the path of their life journey.

I hope the above questions and tips would enable you to better evaluate your next move in the industry! If you wish to have a private discussion in Accounting & Finance recruitment, please reach out to Fred Ng at