The activities you plan for yourself during your downtime might be your escape from work, but do not hide your hobbies completely. In fact, certain hobbies can really help boost your career — indirectly or directly. From improving conversation and communication skills to making yourself indispensable to your boss because of a rare skill, the following hobbies for accountants might be even more helpful to your career than the degree you earned in school.
1. Web Design
Nearly every competitive company — or business that wants to be competitive — has a great website. If you are able to create attractive, user-friendly designs, use HTML coding and CSS, and manipulate images and even video so that content, products, and services are clearly communicated to customers, you can greatly increase your chances of getting hired or getting a raise. Smaller companies that do not have in-house designers and developers may be especially happy to snag your talents. Also think about learning how to design mobile- and iPad-friendly sites, too.
2. Blogging and Journaling
Blogging is not just a way to increase your own personal brand or start your own business. It is a valuable opportunity for you to network and collaborate with others in your industry, amping up your chances of getting a great job. Additionally, all kinds of businesses are looking for employees who can blog on their websites for marketing, public relations, and customer service purposes.
If you are able to demonstrate that you are familiar with writing for the web (and can use basic blogging software) by creating SEO-friendly, interesting, and succinct posts, you could be a great add-on to any business — even if your principal specialty is in finance, human resources, or consulting. Journaling is another helpful hobby for accountants, as it improves your communication skills and can help you articulate your feelings and goals.
Besides working on your public speaking and confidence skills, acting and improv can be a valuable hobby for accountants and those interested in propelling their business careers. As an actor, your job is to consider situations, people, and feelings from a new perspective, constantly keeping an open mind as to how to solve problems and deal with others. Improv especially prepares you for real-world curveballs, and by practicing with a group of friends or a formal troupe, you can train yourself to be actively engaged in any conversation or situation at work.
Patricia Ryan Madson, author of Improv Wisdom explains in an interview with Brand Autopsy that “to “improv” or “improvise” is a way of doing things, a methodology that involves paying attention, responding supportively, and acting constructively.” You will quickly become accustomed to using positive feedback and listening more attentively by engaging with this hobby as an accountant.
Reading gives you a broader perspective on how the world works, from human nature, motives, and actions to historical and current events to emerging cultural trends and contrasting cultural ideals. Whether you read magazines, novels, or blogs, you will be constantly replenishing your mind with fresh ideas that you can apply to work. Creative problem solving skills, insight into public opinion, and possibly even tips about your competition’s strategies can all be positive effects of reading. Reading is also one of the best ways to relax and reduce stress.
Photographers — even amateur snappers — train themselves to look beyond the obvious and capture people, landscapes, animals, and other subjects that reveal hidden emotions or messages. Being able to uncover these layers is a useful hobby for accountants when dealing with other people and analyzing projects, ideas, or problems. Besides your insightfulness, your boss may like the idea of hiring in-house when your company needs a professional photographer to cover an event or take official portraits.
6. Computer Repair
For some techie minds, there is no greater pastime than taking apart and putting back together computers and other gadgets. And if you are particularly adept at computer repair or smart phone maintenance, do not hide your hobby from your boss. A full-time IT employee could be expensive for a small company, and you could earn extra money — or, at least, valuable brownie points — if you are able to quickly patch up computer problems at the office in addition to your regular duties.
7. Party Planning and Hosting
Party planning is not a frivolous pastime. In fact, if you are able to pull together an attractive, budget-friendly dinner, office party, happy hour, or major event that impresses clients and makes your boss look good, this hobby can be extremely important to promoting your company’s overall brand. Getting stuck with guest lists, invitations, menu and venue selection, RSVPs, and other party planning details can be overwhelming, but if you love it, are good at it, and have a repository of valuable contacts, you can make everyone’s lives at the office easier.
8. Bargain Shopping
If one of your interests as an accountant is finding a good deal, you know how to quickly shop around to save money. Your boss should appreciate this frugality, especially if you are put in charge of booking flights, arranging conferences, or refilling office inventory. Some people might feel too lazy or overwhelmed to look for deals, but if you can save your office money — without sacrificing quality — you may be greatly appreciated at work.
Traveling in any capacity is an interest that can really boost your accounting career, proving to your boss that you are open-minded, organized, and up for new challenges. If you can speak another language besides English, that can greatly help your business expand to new markets and clients, too. Extreme travel, backpacking, and hostel hopping demonstrate your penchant for being adaptable and budget-minded, and most frequent travelers present themselves as being social, confident, and lifelong learners, too.
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