Are you an accounting or finance professional looking to transition careers, but not sure where to start? Here’s how to make that change and get yourself onto a new career path.

Rather than being a straight trajectory from first job to retirement, the modern career path for accounting and finance professionals can involve turns and pivots. And like many U.S. workers, perhaps you reconsidered your priorities during the pandemic, or you simply feel it’s the right time for a career change.

How do you transition into a different career within the accounting and finance sector? Here’s our step-by-step guide.

1. define your ideal career

First things first: work out what you really want from your career. Think about your current job and make a list of what you like and what you wish you had. For example, perhaps as a public accountant you enjoy interacting with a range of clients, but you’ve had enough of your irregular work schedule — particularly being run off your feet during tax season. What you’d prefer is a role where the workload is spread more evenly over the year, like internal auditing or financial analysis.

2. write down your existing skills and knowledge

The great news is that many of the skills required to work as an accounting or finance professional are comparable and transferable. You likely already possess a sound understanding of how businesses operate, as well as good numerical and analytical skills.

Treat this exercise as the groundwork for writing a resume or preparing for a job interview, making sure you’ve thought of solid examples to illustrate your skill sets. Remember to showcase soft skills like people management and persuasive negotiation as these are transferable to any new work environment.

3. explore new accounting and finance paths

Now investigate your options. Online resources such as job boards and networking sites are a good place to start. As you look, keep that career wishlist close — this will help you remember the positives of your current role and what you want to change.

At this point, remember to be receptive to new ideas rather than shutting them down before you really understand if they can work. This is especially relevant when considering large changes such as transitioning from auditing to financial planning, or vice versa.

4. gather more information

Once you’ve narrowed it down to the positions that excite you, take a closer look at each. Perhaps you already know people in that field — ask them for an informal chat to learn more about the role and determine if it’s the right fit for you. You can also make new contacts by attending finance networking events or joining a professional organization. Last but not least, use Randstad USA’s salary guide to assess how a career change might impact your personal bottom line.

5. evaluate whether the transition is right for you

With all the research you’ve done, it’s time to decide whether the career move is workable. Be honest with yourself — are the potential changes in salary, lifestyle and perhaps even location really what you want?

If the answer is “yes,” it’s time to implement your plans. Keep up with the networking, which will lead you to new people and opportunities. Craft a professional resume tailored to your desired role, showcasing relevant skills and experience. You might also need to bridge any skills gaps with additional study or by taking on some stretch assignments in your current position.

Ready to take the next step toward your new career? Find out all you need to know about today’s best finance and accounting jobs and browse Randstad USA’s job board for finance and accounting jobs near you.