So you’re thinking about leaving your current job, but you’re not sure if you should move to a new role within your current organization or explore a new company altogether. The two decisions are based on completely different criteria, though they both circle back to career growth. To know which one is right for you, read on.


Option A:

You move to a new role in your organization

You like your organization, but you’re not fulfilled anymore in your current role, and it’s time to make a change. Here are a few options:

Grow Your Current Role

If you find that there’s nothing new for you to learn, then you’re not growing professionally. Would your boss be open to you learning new skills and taking on more responsibility in your current role? That’s a great place to start. Upskilling is never a mistake.

Make a Lateral Move

Maybe you’ve decided that your current role simply isn’t for you. Let’s say you’re working in accounting, but the work you see your colleagues doing in FP&A is more interesting to you. If your organization is open to you moving to a different team internally, then that’s a solution worth trying.

Move Up in Your Career

Or maybe you’re ready to move up. Again, is there room to do this in your organization? While your department might not have an opening at the level you’re looking for, it could be that another division or branch has just the right position for your skills and experience.


Option B:

You explore a new company

When should you look outside the company for roles? One sure sign is when your current organization is no longer encouraging your growth. If you’ve exhausted all the options for reinvigorating and reinventing your role, then it’s time to move on. Here are a few things to remember:

Consider the Location

Are you looking for remote work, in-person or hybrid? Companies differ on their policies, so discuss up front if the company offers the option you’re looking for. If you’re interested in living in a different region, a new job is a great time to make the move.

Use AFP’s Finance & Accountant Careers interactive map to explore the number of job postings and salary trends in different states and metropolitan areas across the United States. 

Mouse over a state, metropolitan area, or title circle to see a high-level summary of the data. Click on a state or metropolitan to see the detailed data. Select a title from the dropdown box to narrow the results to a single title. Check out the full site.

Seek the Path to More Responsibility

When considering a new role, don’t just look at the title or pay. Make sure there is plenty of runway at the company to take on additional responsibility and expand your skill set, as this is what will lead to career growth.

Take it from Emmanuel Caprais, group CFO at ITT: “Early in my career, I remember refusing two or three jobs before leaving the company I was with because they offered more money but not more responsibility. Another time, I left and accepted a pay cut because I saw a more exciting long-term opportunity. I am now CFO of that company.”

Look for Culture Fit

Get clear about what your values are, then find a company that aligns with your values. This will make all the difference in how satisfied and engaged you are with your work. Do your research on the company’s mission and if it actually lives it out. And make sure you feel comfortable in the work environment.

Creating an action plan

If you really need to move on from your job, you know it. That said, generating the energy to look for a new opportunity, whether within your current organization or somewhere new, can feel daunting. Here are some action steps to help move you forward.

  • Make a list of what is and is not working about your current role. You need to be clear — before you make any move — on what isn’t working. Is it something about the company? Or your current responsibilities? You don’t want to leave behind what you enjoy about your job, so you need to take the time to fully examine that too.
  • Figure out what’s fueling your motivation. Extrinsic motivation — more money, better title, better benefits — while positive, won’t be enough to lead to long-term job satisfaction. Identify what motivates you intrinsically: what you enjoy doing, what you’d like to learn, and what you’re passionate about.
  • Get genuine and valuable feedback from those who make promotional decisions in your current company. If you move on without knowing how you stack up, you’re likely to run into the same obstacles at the next company you work for. Learn if there are skills you need to acquire, or if there’s anything holding you back.
  • Build your network. Fostering your professional network is the best way to find a “dream job,” and people in your network may have the inside scoop on a company you’re thinking of joining. Start building your network by joining a professional association, and attending annual conferences and networking events in your area.

    Whether you take a new role within your current company or move to a new company, look for the position that will allow you to grow. Ready to take the next step? Head over to the Career Hub for job search and skill-building resources.

    As you navigate your career, we’ll help you identify key decision points that can shape your future. Check out other articles in our Decision Points series.