If you wish to become a successful accountant, you’re going to have to dedicate years of your life to learning the craft and getting formally certified. All the hard work will be worth it, though, when you’re sitting pretty atop of your chosen career ladder.
To find out what you need to do specifically to become an accountant, and what challenges you are likely to face along the way, make sure to read on.
Earn the right degrees
Although formal education is not deemed to be a requirement in some fields of accounting, you should learn the difference between finance and accounting as you will benefit from going to college and earning the right degrees no matter which specific path you wish to go down.
To begin with, you should get yourself a bachelor’s degree in a subject relating to finance — subjects such as taxes, auditing, financial reporting, and accounting itself are all viable options in this instance. If it’s your goal to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), this is a necessity.
In order to truly make your resume stand out from the crowd, however, you’re going to have to go one step further. To the point, you’re going to have to increase your professional value by taking yet another degree… a master’s degree. By taking such a course, you will learn a spectrum of skills that will be sure to make potential employers take notice of you whenever you apply for jobs with them. More importantly, you will gain the hands-on experience needed to truly understand the strategic and regulatory tasks that professional accountants face day in, day out.
If you’re worried about the impact taking an advanced degree could potentially have on your ability to work, rest assured that there are ways to balance your life as both a student and as an accounting professional. One way is to take a web-based course, rather than heading down the traditional route and physically going to college. By taking the Master of Science in Accounting Online offered by Suffolk Online, for example, you will be able to learn in your own time, in your space, and at your own pace. The end result? You get the exact same education that you would if you went to college in a traditional sense, only you wouldn’t have to bend your schedule to accommodate your learning.
Hone in on your specialty
Pretty much every accountant that you will come across as you embark on your career path will specialize in one or two specific subject areas; as soon as you possibly can, you need to hone in on your specialty as well. This will give you focus with regards to your learning, and it will help you to decide which general area of accounting you are best suited to — the two general areas in question are public accounting and corporate/business accounting.
There are a number of sub-specializations you can hone in on. A few of them include:
- Environmental accounting
- Managerial accounting
- Internal auditing
Land your entry-level job
No matter how lofty your aspirations may be, you need to start your career by landing yourself an entry-level job. In this instance, as touched upon, it will be beneficial to you if you increase your professional value and bolster up your resume — by having more to talk about in the interview process, you will stand a far greater chance of obtaining the entry-level role that is perfect for you and your aspirations.
To better your chances of landing your dream first job, you should seek to enrol on an internship program while you are still in education. As well as this, you should make sure that you are signed up to LinkedIn, the career-focused social platform that will allow you to showcase your abilities online and get into contact with a plethora of influential professionals in the accounting field.
Keep moving forward
In order to become the successful accountant you’ve always dreamed of being, you can’t ever rest on your laurels. You have to constantly look for ways to move forward and broaden your understanding of the accounting field. If this means devoting more of your time to the world of education, then so be it. Or, if you’d prefer to spend time shadowing your manager in order to garner a better understanding of what it is they do day in, day out, do that instead. Whatever you do, just refuse to stagnate.
If you wish to become a successful accountant, it is imperative that you heed all of the advice and information laid out above.