Looking for a career in the accounting industry begins with an interest in numbers. While most aspiring accountants are students themselves, there’s a bit more involved in becoming an accountant than simply earning a degree.
Becoming an Accountant
Accounting is an industry that is never without work. Wherever you are and whenever you are, there will always be a need for an accountant. If you are an aspiring accountant looking to kickstart your career, read on for a few helpful tips to prepare you for your future in accounting.
1. Take the CPA when you are ready
Take the CPA as soon as you’re ready. With the wonders of computerized testing, the CPA exam is a lot more complicated than it has been in past years. Take your time to be sure you are fully prepared before you sit down to take the CPA.
2. Take classes to help study for the CPA
Try taking a CPA prep course online or in person that can help structure your study methods. With these prep courses, you’ll be able to study with the added milestones and guided study of Xero courses.
3. Interested in changing your career to accounting? Start by researching accounting positions
Even if you have an affinity for numbers, finding the right accounting position for you will take time. With accounting, there are really two different types of work. Industry work or client service work. With industry accounting, you can work for larger companies like McDonald’s, Sprint, Pepsi, and the like as part of an accounting team. With client service, you can find your way to advisory and consulting work, accounting for taxes, or assurance and auditing work.
As you cross over into an accounting career, you’ll need to return to school for a business or accounting degree. Prepare yourself to take the CPA exam eventually, specifically if you hope to work in client service.
4. You don’t need a masters in accounting, but it doesn’t hurt
While you don’t need to return to school for your masters, it may be in your best interest to do so. Many states will require that you complete 150 educational hours in order to get a CPA license, so returning for your masters can kill two birds with one stone.
If you are not ready or willing to get a masters, consider taking online courses to fill the educational requirement. If you do in fact go for your masters, make sure you take the CPA as well.
5. Earning your CPA is more important than the name of the school you attended
Some accounting students worry that because they didn’t go to a big name school, they won’t be able to work in their dream accounting firm. However, you earning a CPA is far more important than the school that you attended. Typically, most schools have relationships with local companies in the area that pull from the accounting talent after graduation.
6. Choose your accounting path sooner rather than later
When considering the industry accounting route, accountants must understand the differences between its two tracks. The first, financial planning focuses on planning for the future. The analysis focuses on sifting through data and research in that particular industry.
With consulting, you’ll find that there’s more variation in your roles at work. If you are interested in switching up your daily routine and taking part in work-related travel, working in consulting may be your niche.
In accounting, school, experience, and your CPA are all very important. Take the time now to understand what you want in the future and apply it to your life today.