A career in accounting comes with a few major perks, like plenty of job openings and a relatively high rate of pay, but before you get there, it’s important to consider the direction you might like to take. It can be difficult, as a recent university graduate or an experienced worker searching for a career change, to know exactly where you want to land within the accounting ballpark, but with these tips, you’ll be moving towards your ideal position in no time.
Check your personality fit
Like any other career, some people are better suited to accounting than others, and it often comes down to basic likes and dislikes. Start by making sure you aren’t allergic to mathematics, since, although accounting maths isn’t overly difficult, it is a huge component of the job. No matter what kind of accountant you want to become, you can expect to spend a fair portion of each day crunching numbers, and you’ll also need fairly strong organizational skills to deal with clients and numbers alike. Certain personality traits such as adaptability and logical thinking are at the core of the profession, so if you’re as adaptable as they come and love a good logic puzzle, you have the makings of a solid accountant.
Follow the yellow brick road
Once you’re confident that a career in accounting will be a good fit for you, it’s time to check a few boxes. Most accounting jobs require a university qualification, with almost 60% of accountants holding a Bachelor’s degree, but if you’re jumping ship from another related industry, make sure to check the relevance of any qualifications you already have. If you are still employed in another industry, learning all about accounting in an online environment is a great way to simplify your schedule, according to this article. Once you complete your degree, there is a range of certifications you can earn which involve further examinations and a range of other criteria, and what you need will depend on where you want to end up.
Research the fields you can enter
You may have heard of public accountants or tax accountants before, as these are the disciplines most commonly used by the average person, but accounting has applications in almost any area of interest you can imagine. Public accountants tend to collect a wide array of experiences in their work and typically deal with everyone from individuals and business owners to governments, while tax accountants are mainly focussed on the ins and outs of the humble tax return. Other popular alternatives include forensic, managerial, and environmental accountants, spanning everything from crimes like fraud and embezzlement to investigating and analyzing a business’ environmental impact.
Investigate prospective employers
There are plenty of companies in need of someone with an accounting background to help manage tax returns, complete audits, or provide consultations on improving projected financial outcomes. The fields you’re interested in will ultimately determine the best place for you to work, since large corporations, small businesses, and sole traders each have different needs, so put some thought into the tasks you want to do on a daily basis before setting your sights on a prospective employer.
Do some work experience
If you’re still unsure as to which pathway will be your best fit, consider volunteering for some unpaid work experience in the field. You’ll get to know about the requirements of the job, have the opportunity to ask all of your pressing questions about the industry, and add to your resume in the process. Impress your supervisor, and it may even lead to a job offer in the focus area of your choice.
Plan your ideal career path
Studying accounting doesn’t necessarily mean you will be an accountant for the rest of your days; in fact, the things you’ll learn as an accountant are transferrable into a range of other career options. If you like the idea of taking on your next challenge as an investment banker, an entrepreneur, or even a lawyer, these pathways are all open to someone with an accounting background. You can create a career that allows for a great deal of autonomy, as an individual trader, or take on as much new knowledge and experience as possible from within a larger company – the choice is yours.
Enjoy the perks
Accounting is a field full of opportunity and potential, which means you can look forward to strong employment prospects after graduating with a degree, and once you have a job, stable employment is very likely. Even with this as the case, some potential accountants are turned away by the prospect of a monotonous daily existence crunching numbers, but the truth is there are plenty of exciting avenues and opportunities in the field. Businesses and individuals in almost any field can find themselves in need of an accountant or financial advisor, creating the potential for plenty of variety in your work, and you’ll have the chance to make a significant difference in your clients’ daily lives, whether by saving them money or time.
Accounting is an exciting field offering plenty of opportunities for those who are willing to take them, with as much scope or specificity as you prefer. For those willing to put in the work, the right career path promises plenty of rewards.