This is sponsored content brought to you by Armanino, an Accountingfly Firm Partner.
For better or worse, career progression in public accounting is tied to performance reviews. Employees tend to see these reviews as a once-a-year report card, rather than an ongoing process, and this is a mistake. By taking an active role in your performance management throughout the year, you can improve your performance before annual review time rolls around. Here are some simple guidelines.
Be proactive about getting feedback on your performance. Don’t wait around for your annual review or assume that the manager on your last engagement is going to come to you with timely advice. Instead, ask them how you performed on the project and how you can improve. Do this on a regular basis with the manager(s) on your engagements, as well as the person responsible for your annual review. (We’ll call the latter your performance coach, which is the term we use at Armanino.) You’ll need to work out the timing of your check-in sessions with your supervisors. Your manager sessions will likely need to be more frequent than your performance coach sessions. Whether you sit down every week, every quarter, or somewhere in between, the main point is that you need to get regular feedback throughout the year so that you can perform better.
Get feedback that is relevant to the work you’re doing now. You need real-time performance information in order to improve quickly, so always check in with your manager right after an engagement wraps up. They’ll be able to provide better insights when your work is fresh in their mind, and you’ll be able to use the feedback immediately, versus waiting until after an annual review to apply it.
Help determine your own goals. You’ll be more invested in goals if you help create them. Don’t just ask your performance coach what you should aim for next. Come to your annual evaluation with a list of goals to discuss, then work with your coach to set the most appropriate targets. This is also where regular check-ins come in handy because you can use them to touch base about whether you are on track to meet your goals, or what you need to do differently to reach them.
The bottom line is this: By taking an active role in your performance management, you can get better quality feedback at a more useful time. This helps you perform better, which in turn makes your manager look good, so everybody wins.