“You know you are on the Road to success if you would do your job and not get paid for it” Oprah Winfrey

This popped up this morning on my Social Media and at a quick glance, I nodded to myself and carried on. Later, I took a second glance started to think about whether there is truth in the matter.

This then prompted me to think about what defines success and in particular, what defines a successful career. Within the recruitment world, I am always interacting with successful professionals and I thought what makes those people successful and others not? What do they do differently to guarantee their success?

I have looked at a number of people, some who are in the public eye and some who I just deem to be successful and they have very common habits. Out of these habits, there is most certainly one that is the most crucial ingredient, yet most of us neglect to implement.

Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Those who are successful understand that things take time. We live in a time where we are surrounded by instant gratification and most people just don’t like to plan! This is fueled by evolving technology setting unrealistic overnight internet success stories and this is where it goes wrong.

It can be easy to assume that many businesses suddenly became successful overnight when in fact, there have been hours, days, months and years of hard graft for them to get to where they are! This is the same for individuals….

Let’s look at Apple Inc – This brand in the blink of an eye was everywhere, the ‘must have’ gadgets of today and most households owning an apple device in some form. But can you believe this was all started by 3 boys, working out of a garage, chasing a dream that many told them to give up! Who would have thought that the picture below was indeed a creation of one of the most successful human beings in the modern world?


So, this was NOT an overnight success story!

The truth is – there are no overnight success stories – just a lot of long term planning a hard work. So, if you want a slice of the ‘Apple’ pie. (Excuse the pun) You must commit to it, and this involves planning for the next few years, not just weeks!

So, I put this to task – I asked a lot of people about how they going about their business (personal and professional) and the majority is centred around planning. Some have even planned for up to 50 years. (That’s right some plan for the next half a century whilst most of us can barely plan for next week.)

Let’s get started… Let’s start planning… Let’s get successful!

Whether is a new business venture, a new start in a different career, a workplace promotion OR even something personal to you, stop what you’re doing and put aside some time to plan for the future.

I found a few tips that I think ring the most truth:

1) Don’t dream of making it overnight: It’s unrealistic and will only jeopardise your attempts in the future. “Tomorrow I want to become a Senior Partner of one of the largest accounting firms”

2) Appreciate that it takes a long time to be successful: If it was that easy, then everyone would be successful

3) Make a long-term plan: Be realistic about your goals and how you will achieve them

4) When the going gets tough: ……remember that every other success story has been through the exact same thing as you! “I didn’t get that promotion I was really hoping for”

5) There is light at the end of the tunnel: Know that if you are persistent and determined the hard work WILL pay off. Commit, stay focused and never give up!

So, I speak to the job hunters reading this, whether you are at the beginning, middle or somewhere near the end of your career, when it comes to your next move make sure if fits within your plan, and you WILL be on the road to success.

Published in Blog

A young woman stands, hair and scarf billowing in the wind, leaning precariously over a sheer cliff face.

“I don’t think I can do this”, she says quietly, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.

Her Sales Manager shrugs, and replies; “That’s your problem; Limiting Beliefs.”

He pushes her over the edge.

Metaphorically speaking.

If you google ‘Limiting Beliefs’, you’ll find myriad articles on the most common limiting beliefs (I can’t do it!), where they came from (your parents), and how to get rid of them (therapy).

But can a Limiting Belief be a positive thing?

It’s a Limiting Belief that stops me from jumping down flights of stairs in one leap (I learned this one the hard way). I have a whole bunch that stop me from attempting the impossible on a golf course. And they also prevent me from wasting time recruiting for roles that cannot be filled.

The problem isn’t with the concept of the Limiting Belief- rather, the issue is that lazy managers use them as a stick to beat people with. It’s a lot easier to tell your staff that they have limiting beliefs, rather than learn about their markets/challenges, and offer them appropriate training, coaching or direction.

If you have a manager like that, I would suggest it’s time to find someone else to work for. You’re not going to learn anything from that person, and they aren’t trying to learn anything from you.

So, are Limiting Beliefs in recruitment bad? The answer is paradoxical. They can be both vital and toxic.

In recruitment terms, it’s a Limiting Belief that stops you from looking for a candidate that your experience tells you doesn’t exist. If you’re an expert in your market, then this is using that expertise to become more efficient with your time. Balancing your opportunity cost.

It’s also a Limiting Belief that stops you from suggesting your client interviews a candidate without seeing the CV. This ‘learned’ experience is preventing you from unlocking better performance, and from giving a better service to both your clients and candidates.

I realise that this article has, thus far, not been that useful. About the only take away is that any manager who constantly cites Limiting Beliefs is probably a moron.


I’m going to try to make it more real for you.

A Limiting Belief, by definition, is the belief that something is impossible. Here is a short process that you can work through to see if it’s holding you back, or saving you;

Has the belief been tested? You don’t have to jump off a cliff to know that you can’t fly, but you could try jumping off a wall to check. Believing something can’t be done, because it hasn’t been done before, makes no sense.
Does it cost you anything to try again? If the answer to this is ‘no’, then you really should keep trying! If there is zero cost, even if the chances of success are small, it’s still a good thing to keep doing. Like asking a client if they really need to interview that contractor before they make an offer.
Conversely, is the cost too great? Don’t waste time challenging a limiting belief if the outcome doesn’t justify the effort. For example- someone offers you £5 to eat your own shoes…
Are you drawing conclusions? Sometimes innovation can look a lot like previous failure. This can hold us back. Just because something looks similar, doesn’t make it the same. Don’t confuse a G-Wiz with a Tesla because they both have batteries.
Most importantly of all- is this something you’ve been taught, or something you’ve learned? Unfortunately, we’re all taught limitations based on other people’s beliefs. You can’t play basketball unless you’re tall. Women don’t make good racing drivers. Ginger people can’t get a good sun tan. Some of these things are real, and some aren’t. But try to base your beliefs on evidence that’s tangible, not just what you’ve been told.
That brings us to the crux of this article- how are your beliefs formed?

If you distinguish between the possible and impossible based on evidence that you’re sure of, then you’re making a lot of good decisions.

But if you’re putting limitations on yourself based on what you’ve been told, or if you stop trying new things because they look a bit like something you tried before… well, you’re probably not reading this anyway, because you already know what you know.

Keep trying new things, and don’t be afraid to learn from your experiences. That might give you Limiting Beliefs, but it will also make you smart and successful.

Published in Blog

Are you really ready to jump ship …?

As a fully qualified ACA/ACCA Accountant working within a Practice environment, you may feel one of two ways; “The world is my oyster!” or “What on earth do I do now?”

“Should I know move to industry to enhance my career?” This is a question that I am asked by many qualified accountants over the years and something I have given much thought.

It may be a part master plan or simply an unexpected window has opened for you but making the move from practice to industry represents a significant change for all chartered accountants.

Why are you looking to leave Practice?

In a research study carried out in August 2016 by the Audit Association; One of the main reasons certified accountants leave Practice is on a quest to seek better work-life balance. It is common that during the first 1-5 years of training this isn’t so much of a complaint, however, once people progress with their own personal lives IE starting a family, priorities change drastically.

Is a successful career in practice compatible with a growing family?

Well, the answer is YES! You just need to know what company best suits you.

As a qualified accountant, before making the decision to move into industry you might want to consider whether practice really is the problem here or whether it’s your current firm that’s putting you off staying.

When presented with an opportunity to work in-house, it may seem very appealing at first due to an increase in annual salary, improved benefits package and reduced/fixed working hours, while this may be a quick fix short term, you must consider your long-term goal.

In practice, you may have the potential to work your way to Partner and be rewarded with an attractive 6 figure salary £££. You get to be the first to understand the evolving market that is accounting and be involved in the most interesting projects across an entire range of industries. The opportunity to expand your knowledge is endless.

The Top Accounting firms are a different place than what they were 10 years ago, many have tackled this issue of work-life balance and offer flexible working. So, if you are on a quest to have a more desirable work-life balance, don’t jump ship just yet.

Maybe it’s time to speak to me and see what other options there are for you within practice? After all, not all practices are operating in the same way!

Why would you choose industry?

If you are a Top 20 professional, no doubt you are getting inundated with messages about roles in industry, as clients/recruiters are always on the lookout for qualified accountants from the Top 20 Accounting Firms.

I have spoken with candidates who have made the move from practice to industry and here are some of the top reasons why they moved:

Your work-life balance will improve.
There are lots of opportunities in industry in a range of sectors.
Everyone is trying to speak with you so you are constantly hearing about new jobs in the market.
You won’t have to manage many clients so you will be able to spend more time devoted to one client.
I would in part agree with these points but only on a short-term measure. One thing I would strongly consider when making a move to industry is the sector you want to be in and the company itself. Make sure you choose something you are passionate about or that fits in with your own personal values and motivators.

For those who took the leap too prematurely, they have said that after a year has passed, the role can become monotonous and a chance for promotion is a very distant goal. Let’s face it, you are used to juggling many spinning plates all at once!

So in summary, Practice or Industry…a dilemma you will all face, but all I advise is do your research and really understand the reasons you are wanting to make a change. It may well be that you just need to find a company that suits you, not you suit them!

If you are still undecided and would like more information on the practice vs industry debate, feel free to contact me on 07909228785 or Nicolalane@knownfour.com, we can discuss your motivators and together find the role to suit you.

Published in Blog


Company name*
  • 1 Waterside, Station Road,
    AL5 4US
  • +44 (0)203 793 0444
We use cookies to provide you with the best possible browsing experience on our website. You can find out more below.
Cookies are small text files that can be used by websites to make a user's experience more efficient. The law states that we can store cookies on your device if they are strictly necessary for the operation of this site. For all other types of cookies we need your permission. This site uses different types of cookies. Some cookies are placed by third party services that appear on our pages.
Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.
Resolution Used to ensure the correct version of the site is displayed to your device.
Session Used to track your user session on our website.

More Details