4 Steps You Can Take in 2019 to Achieve Your Professional Goals

by Monette Anderson | Jan 29, 2019

When you sat down to think about your personal resolutions a few weeks ago, did you spend any time setting your professional goals? You may be mentally checking this off now if you do any goal setting as part of your company’s annual performance review, but put down that imaginary red pen for a moment and really think about it. My guess is that what’s locked in your firm’s HR cabinet fails to consider your personal long-term objectives or the bigger why behind your short-term annual goals.

Ask yourself: Where do you want to be in ten years and how are you going to set your career goals to get there? You may have a goal of starting your own firm in ten years—which you may not want to highlight in your annual performance review. Alternately, you may know that you want to eventually cut back your hours to spend more time with your family. In that scenario, your short-term objectives may consist of working more efficiently to convince your boss that you can do your job in fewer hours a week and it may not be the right time to lay those cards on the table.

If you do know what your goals are, have you written them down? Of those individuals with a clear goal, 20% fail to do so, which may be a mistake. Research shows that writing down a goal increases your chance of achieving it by ten times.

Create Your Road Map

Below, find your WSCPA professional goal-setting roadmap. Pick up a real pen (or your laptop) and create your visual roadmap to success. Once completed, put it somewhere where you will review it regularly and make adjustments as needed.

  1. Think about your overall objective. This should be something you want to accomplish in five to ten years. Example: Make partner in ten years.
  2. Identify a short-term objective that might get you closer to that goal. An example might be gaining assignment to your firm’s biggest clients.
  3. Create a daily action plan. This is the part where most people fall off the goal-setting bandwagon. Find supporting actions you can refer back to daily or weekly to stay on target. Supporting actions are continuous goals that get you closer to step 2, and ultimately step 1. Supporting actions might include building your network, attending a conference to gain more knowledge about a top client’s industry, or talking with managers who oversee those clients and offering assistance on those projects when you have extra time. This is also where seeking out a mentor who can help you make progress toward your goals may be invaluable.
  4. Revise. It’s okay to adjust your goals. Priorities, plans and even circumstances change over time. Think of vision as a scaffolding. It’s impossible to plan every detail, and it’s important to leave room for unforeseen life events and opportunities. This often includes taking calculated risks, or determining whether your long-term goals need to be adjusted as you grow.

Whatever your long-term or short-term goals are, the WSCPA is here to help you reach them. Check out our event catalog for networking and continuing professional education opportunities, sign up for our member-exclusive Prixe Fixe webinars, or find out how you can support the WSCPA’s professional advocacy.


Monette Anderson is the WSCPA Manager of Student Initiatives. You can reach her at


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The Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants is the only organization in the state of Washington dedicated to serving the professional needs of CPAs, educating consumers about CPAs and the services they provide, and encouraging students to study accounting and enter the profession.

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