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How to start a career in accounting ?

How to start a career in accounting ?

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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Maxwell,

Here's your guide to kickstart your accounting career:

1. Secure a Bachelor’s Degree: Your journey begins with acquiring a bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar field. This equips you with the essential knowledge of accounting principles and practices. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree is held by nearly half of all accountants and auditors (BLS, 2020).

2. Gather Relevant Experience: Alongside your degree, strive to accumulate relevant experience via internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering. This enhances your skills and makes you a desirable candidate for employers. Many educational institutions offer internship programs to aid you in this process (National Association of Accountants, n.d.).

3. Achieve Certification: Boost your career progression and earning potential by securing certification from a professional body like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) are available (AICPA & IMA, n.d.).

4. Network: Cultivating professional relationships is crucial in any career, including accounting. Attend industry events, become a member of professional organizations, and engage with fellow professionals through social media or networking platforms like LinkedIn (LinkedIn Learning, n.d.).

5. Stay Informed: The dynamic nature of the accounting field requires you to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments. This could involve reading industry-specific publications, participating in conferences and seminars, and enrolling in continuing education courses (AICPA & IMA, n.d.).

References:

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants & Institute of Management Accountants: “Certification Programs” www.aicpa-cima.com
Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Accountants and Auditors” www.bls.gov
National Association of Accountants: “Student Resources” www.naa-hq.org

May God bless you in your endeavors, Maxwell!
JC.
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May’s Answer

Networking is key! I'd suggest attending networking events related to Accounting. It's a great way to meet new people and become familiar with recruiters. This can be a golden opportunity for them to get to know you better. Nowadays, many companies use Artificial Intelligence to sift through the heaps of resumes they receive online. So, making personal connections can really give you an edge!
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Dillia’s Answer

Hello Maxwell! The world of accounting can be an exciting and fulfilling journey. You might consider pursuing a degree in accounting or perhaps some specialized certificates, depending on your specific interests within the accounting field. For example, there are certificates available in areas like bookkeeping, payroll, and accounts payable, among others. If you're aiming for the prestigious Certified Public Accountant (CPA) status, it's entirely within your reach! All you need to do is fulfill the CPA requirements and successfully pass all four exams. Additionally, I highly recommend engaging in networking activities and attending career fairs. These are fantastic opportunities to connect with other professionals in the field and broaden your horizons. Keep going, Maxwell! Your future in accounting looks bright!

Dillia recommends the following next steps:

Explore on Access Your Potential’s site potential career opportunities like internships and paid consulting externships for nonprofits. Visit http://accessyourpotential.pwc.com/.
Whether you’re starting college or finishing up your studies, Access Your Potential Career Readiness and Digital Skills curricula are available to help you grow and discover what you want for your career. Visit http://accessyourpotential.pwc.com/.
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Ericka’s Answer

Having knowledge in accounting is essential; seek an internship in this field to gain experience and insight, which will help you formulate a career plan.
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Harry’s Answer

Hi Tracy. A career in Accounting can be very rewarding (both personally and financially). There are many, many areas to find a career in. However, know that you may start out in one direction and end up in a completely different place.

First I suggest that you review all the different areas of accountancy; not only the public sector, but the private sector or even the government sector. You might like working for the IRS or the GAO. My whole career has been in manufacturing. I spent the last 18 years working in Mexico, with experience in Canada and China.

Don't be afraid to seek different experiences. However, be aware that getting your first job may be your biggest challenge. Try for an internship, which might possibly get you in that door. After that, keep developing contacts. You might be surprised to learn that most of your "next job" opportunities come from acquaintances.

Good luck Tracy!
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Damion’s Answer

Hello Maxwell,

Embarking on an accounting career is an exciting journey, and the first step is to identify your preferred area within this vast field. Consider the long-term prospects of each specialty, then chart your path backwards to where you are now.

A bachelor's degree in accounting is typically essential, so it's advisable to choose a reputable school offering substantial financial aid. This way, you'll graduate with minimal debt. If Public Accounting is your chosen path, you'll need an additional year of study to qualify for the C.P.A. exam. Many accountants find that, at this stage, they're just a few classes away from a master's degree - a route I personally took.

Accounting offers a plethora of opportunities where you can truly excel:

- Audit
- Tax
- Consulting
- Managerial/Cost Accounting
- Technology
- Data Analysis
- Forensic Accounting

Invest time in exploring each of these areas to gain a clear understanding of what you want to achieve as an accountant.

Here's to a bright and successful future in your chosen career!
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Terry’s Answer

Hello!

It's beneficial to start your journey towards becoming an accountant by pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. After this, gear up to take and pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

While enrolled in college, seize opportunities for internships in the accounting or finance sectors. Remember, the accounting field is diverse, with professionals specializing in various areas such as record keeping/bookkeeping, auditing, taxes, and corporate accounting. Your college professors can be a valuable resource, offering insights into these specialties to help steer your career path.

To gain a real-world perspective, consider reaching out to a local Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Ask them about their daily work life to get a clear picture of what practicing accounting entails.

Best of luck on your journey!
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Camille’s Answer

Hi Maxwell,

Here are some ideas on how to start a career in accounting:

-Take accounting courses in high school to learn the basics.
-Consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field.
-Look for internships or part-time jobs in accounting firms or finance departments to gain practical experience.
-Join accounting clubs or organizations to network with professionals and learn more about the field.
-Develop strong problem-solving skills through activities like puzzles or math competitions.
-Stay updated with industry trends by following accounting publications or websites.
-Consider obtaining certifications like CPA or CMA after completing your education.
-Attend career fairs or networking events to connect with professionals in the field.
-Focus on developing communication, teamwork, and leadership skills.
-Stay committed, adaptable, and open to new opportunities.

Remember, starting a career in accounting takes time and effort, but with dedication and continuous learning, you can achieve your goals. Good luck!
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Sandeep’s Answer

Get your fundamentals right as this is the key
Practice, Practice and Practice
Look for some unpaid internships as the Big 4 accounting firms
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Ann’s Answer

I'd also suggest you consider programs that encourage exploration and early discovery, which can help you get a feel for different industries and professions. Here are a few programs that could be beneficial for you:

Job Shadowing: Consider connecting with professionals in various accounting-related fields and see if you could accompany them for a day or a week. This will offer you a firsthand look and understanding of their daily work.

Internships: Try to find internships at accounting firms, financial institutions, or corporate finance departments. Internships offer wonderful practical experience and the chance to build connections with professionals in the industry.

Mentorship Programs: Search for mentorship programs that link students with seasoned professionals in the accounting field. Mentors can offer guidance, advice, and support as you steer your career path.

Remember, it's crucial to stay open-minded and explore various opportunities to discover the career that matches your interests, skills, and values. Don't be shy to connect with career counselors, professors, or professionals in the accounting field for more guidance and advice.

Wishing you the best of luck on your career exploration journey!
Ann
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Qian’s Answer

Hello Maxwell,

I would recommend starting your journey with an accounting degree. This is a crucial step in gaining a solid understanding of the accounting field and acquiring professional expertise. Once you've embarked on this path, you'll have the opportunity to participate in career fairs and secure internships.

Internships are a valuable part of this process. They allow you to explore different areas of accounting, identify your interests, and discover where your strengths lie. This hands-on experience can lead to significant accomplishments and guide you towards your preferred accounting direction.

Once you've figured out your interests and strengths, and gained the necessary knowledge and experience, you'll be well-prepared for the job market upon graduation. The chances of landing your dream job will be significantly high. So, start this exciting journey with confidence and enthusiasm, Maxwell. Your dream job awaits!
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Brandon’s Answer

Hey Maxwell,

I'd recommend you start reading the Wall Street Journal, etc., to understand what's going on with businesses and the economy. If you are in school, you can take accounting courses, and free/paid online learning platforms.

To get more hands-on, you can go into bookkeeping, and try to become a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisors for free. QuickBooks offer free certifications and trainings to help (check links below). This way you can add it to your resume, and gain real-world experience working with various clients and build your brand, while learn accounting.

If you're interested in receiving assistance with real-world upskilling, mentoring, or exploring career opportunities, I recommend checking out PwC's resources for college students and recent graduates. You can find these resources at http://accessyourpotential.pwc.com/.

Brandon recommends the following next steps:

https://quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/training-certification/accountant-university/
https://quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/training-certification/certification/
http://accessyourpotential.pwc.com/
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Abhishek’s Answer

Starting a career in accounting is a structured process that involves education, certification, and gaining practical experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you, Maxwell, begin your journey in the field of accounting:

Education: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. This will provide you with a solid foundation in accounting principles and practices.

Certifications: Consider pursuing certifications such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. This requires passing the CPA exam and, in most states, completing 150 semester hours of college coursework.

Internships: Gain hands-on experience through internships or entry-level positions. This will give you insight into the daily responsibilities of an accountant and help you build a professional network.

Skill Development: Develop technical proficiency in accounting software and systems, as well as soft skills like communication and collaboration.

Resume and Interviews: Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills and experiences. Prepare for interviews by practicing common accounting-related questions.

Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest accounting standards and technologies. Consider additional courses or a master’s degree for further specialization.

Networking: Attend industry events and connect with professionals in the field. This can lead to mentorship opportunities and job referrals.

Remember, accounting is a diverse field with various specializations, so explore different areas to find what suits your interests best. Good luck on your path to becoming an accountant!
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Olga’s Answer

Starting a career in accounting can be an exciting and rewarding path. Here are some steps to help you get started:

1. Education and Qualifications: Obtain a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. This will provide you with a strong foundation in accounting principles, financial analysis, taxation, and auditing. Consider pursuing a master's degree or obtaining professional certifications like Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) to enhance your credentials.

2. Gain Practical Experience: Seek internships or entry-level positions in accounting firms, corporations, or government agencies. This will allow you to apply your theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, develop practical skills, and build a professional network.

3. Networking: Attend industry events, join professional organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and connect with professionals in the field. Networking can provide valuable insights, mentorship opportunities, and potential job leads.

4. Specialize: Consider specializing in a specific area of accounting such as tax, auditing, forensic accounting, or management accounting. Specialization can help you stand out in the job market and open up more career opportunities.

5. Stay Updated: Accounting standards and regulations are constantly evolving. Stay updated with the latest developments in the field by reading industry publications, attending seminars, and participating in continuing professional education programs. This will demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and ensure you stay relevant in the industry.

6. Develop Soft Skills: In addition to technical skills, employers value strong communication, analytical, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Work on developing these soft skills through practice, workshops, and by taking on leadership roles in extracurricular activities.

7. Build a Professional Resume: Create a well-crafted resume that highlights your education, relevant coursework, internships, and any other accounting-related experience. Tailor your resume to match the requirements of the positions you are applying for.

8. Job Search: Utilize online job portals, company websites, and professional networking platforms to search for accounting job opportunities. Leverage your network and consider reaching out to professionals for informational interviews or job referrals.

9. Prepare for Interviews: Research the company, review common interview questions, and practice your responses. Be prepared to discuss your technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and how you can contribute to the organization.

10. Continuous Learning: Accounting is a dynamic field, and continuous learning is crucial for career growth. Stay updated with industry trends, new technologies, and regulatory changes. Consider pursuing advanced certifications or further education to enhance your skills and increase your career prospects.

Remember, starting a career in accounting requires dedication, continuous learning, and a strong work ethic. With the right education, experience, and networking, you can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in accounting.
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Daniel’s Answer

The first step in high school would be to try and get involved in any and all business related courses and extracurriculars that are offered. I went to a great high school, however even they didn't offer any business classes. Thus, i was forced to really take advantage of the economic classes offered. Although not everyone considers economics to be a business focus, it certainly has a lot of overlap. This, as well as a future business leaders of america club that was offered were my two chances to get involved in business in high school. Additionally, when and if you are taking up a summer job, try to work one that has a business/customer focus. Even if its not directly a business focus, if you work with customers it can be helpful in interviews down the line. The next thing i would do is apply to the best value business schools you can find. Its not always just about the best business schools, its also important to go to one that is worth the $$. If you can go to a very similar school for 20,000$ cheaper, even if its not as well known, it is likely going to pay off for you down the line.

Once you find the best school for you, its important to try and gain an internship or externship during your time at the school. This will set you up nicely, if not directly, for a career in accounting. I personally got an offer during my sophomore year of college and i accepted it. This allowed me to enjoy the rest of my college experience with the safety of a career in my back pocket.
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