Your First Accounting Job

September 18, 2019

How To Get A Job As An Accountant 

Work experience under the supervision of a CPA is required before you can practice as a CPA, and the AICPA offers “essential wisdom” for gaining that experience.

Know What Accounting Employers Look For

Integrity is top on the list of character traits required in the accounting industry. Employers also want to see excellence in achievements, such as a double major, leadership activities or volunteer positions. Polite respect, the ability to handle challenges and passion for your potential new job are also important characteristics to convey in your interview.

Get (and Use) a LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn makes connections to professional individuals, to businesses, to industry-specific information and to activities and events “that could lead to a first job, career advancement and even a higher salary.” LinkedIn allows greater visibility for you, including the ability for your name, blog or website to show up in search engine results.

How to stand out as an accountant

Differentiate Yourself

Your customized resume is a great place to showcase your unique experiences and relevant skills, while professional networking builds a group of people who can attest to your work quality and personal character.

Consider a Summer Internship

Many companies find that their internship programs are their “main pipeline for full time hires,” viewing the internship program as a “test-run.” The value of becoming an intern should not be underestimated, and peak performance during the internship can advance your career. While there, take notes on current technology and practices and make some valuable professional connections.

Hiring An Accountant from a recruiter

Understand the Recruitment Process

Research the companies that interest you, talk to your professors and be prepared for the “Meet and Greet” when company representatives visit your college campus. If your credentials meet their requirements, the initial interview may happen immediately. If you are a good fit for the position, a second and longer interview will be arranged at their company’s location within two or three weeks. If that goes well, you will soon be starting your new job!

Plan Your Career

Research the types of work available with differing sizes of companies, types of industries and specialized fields. Determine what education, experience and skills are expected and which jobs are foundational for the career you desire.

Flower representing how to thrive as an accountant

Don’t Just Survive, Thrive: How to Succeed As An Accountant

The Journal of Accountancy provides insights for the transition from “backpack to briefcase” as students move from academics and late-night exam preparations to their first accounting job, where “A-level work becomes the norm.”

  • Sharpen “Soft Skills”: Professional communication, eye contact and other “soft skills” can be improved via mock interviews and individualized feedback. Some employers value soft skills and personalities as much as (or even more than) academic achievements.
  • Keep Learning: Your first job provides the opportunity to learn company culture and procedures, new technology and software, and greater people skills.
  • Successfully Navigate Busy Season: Physical and mental exhaustion, reduced personal time, and lack of sleep can be balanced with more frequent stretch breaks, catered meals and other stress reducers to make the busy season manageable.
  • Use Time Wisely: CPAs often bill their work by the hour or portion of an hour, so be mindful of distractions that prevent you from working efficiently.
  • Plan to Study: While working in your first accounting position, take time to prepare for the CPA exam. Sacrificing vacation time and getting support from friends and family can help you pass the exam earlier and advance your career sooner.
  • Practice Self-Care: With all the changes and pressures of a full-time accounting job plus studying for the CPA exam, it’s easy to ignore personal needs and it’s easy to experience burnout. Take time for exercise, sleep and a healthy diet. “The little things can make a huge difference in the long run.”

Are you ready to prepare for the CPA exam? Check out the resources and services at MDS CPA Review!