So, you want to become an accountant.
However, you can’t just get a job as an accountant straight away. Working as an accountant requires advanced education, a formal certification and firm commitment to learning the relevant skills. Take heed of the following 6 steps if you’re thinking about becoming an accountant.
1. Earn the right degree.
Most commonly, in order to get a job in accounting you will have to earn the right degree.
Most jobs allow for that to be a degree in accounting or a related field, such as commerce. Sometimes, jobs will require further education, such as advanced coursework, to be undertaken as well. Students who are interested in become a Chartered Accountant or the like should ensure that they check the specific education requirements in their jurisdictions.
2. Pick a specialty.
Unless you’re working in a small firm, where you’ll have to become familiar with all areas of accounting, you’ll most likely have to think about specialising in one or more areas of practice. For example, there is public accounting and corporate accounting, and sub-specialisation within these such as accounting and taxes, auditing and environmental accounting. Usually, your speciality will depend on the particular degree you earned, also.
3. Decide on your career path.
After this stage, there is also more areas you can further specialise in or extend your knowledge in. There are many post-study programs, such as a chartered financial analyst program, CPA and CA, that can ensure you are well prepared for the accounting role of your dreams. Take the time to research your possible career paths to make sure that you are on a journey that is well suited to your goals, wants and needs.
4. Pass your exams.
If you do decide to undertake further study, which is more common than not, you have to make sure that you pass your exams! Usually, Chartered Accountants exams or the like will have several parts that you are required to pass in order to gain the accreditation. Given the degree of difficulty and breadth of subject matter, most of the post-university accounting certification candidates enrol in private test preparation courses.
5. Land an entry level job.
Now you’ve got your qualifications under your belt, it’s time to apply, apply, apply!
A great way to ensure you land a role is to, before you graduate, try to get an accounting internship or find another way to get some experience to pump up your resume. Of course, you need to know the skills to be a successful accountant, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few inside contacts, as well!
6. Look for continuing education opportunities.
Once you land your first job, it’s tempting to sit back and enjoy the ride after all the hard work of college. Now is the time, however, when you should be thinking about the next moves you’ll need to move up the career ladder. Earning a certification in an accounting specialization or a master’s degree in accounting could help boost career climbing.
Hopefully, this six step guide can be a resource for any individuals interested in a career as an accountant. There are many fields you can work in regarding accounting, the only limit is your imagination! Happy studying.