How to Make Progress in Your Accounting Career By Matthew Milstead

If you think that accounting is a dying career that is soon to be replaced with computers and smart devices, think again. While computers can deal with large numbers and recording financial transactions, they can never have such a thoughtful insight in taxation or present and analyze crucial information for businesses. That’s why studying for an accounting career still makes a lot of sense. However, accounting requires constant improvement and keeping up with the trends in the branch. If you are still studying to get your accounting diploma, here are a few things you can do at the same time to make sure that after college, you will be already the best accountant you can be.

Be an intern

There is some knowledge you can’t find between the book covers, and while accounting subjects at college are great and necessary, they can never replace the real-deal tangible knowledge that can be acquired while doing that job or watching other people doing it. Taking up an internship in a good accounting firm will give you the opportunity to gain the necessary experience and get an insight into the nature of the very work.

Improve your organizational skills

Accountants have a lot of responsibilities and they need to be alert and have a system that enables them to keep track of all the pending tasks. If you have trouble memorizing important dates and information, try to find a system that works for you. It can be color-coding your calendar or using some of the many planner apps. Also, it wouldn’t be bad to take up a time-management and organizational skills course to learn how to be in better control.

Learn to communicate effectively

Every job requires some level of communication. Accounting especially can benefit from well-developed interpersonal skills that can help you get employment, obtain new clients and communicate with them in a way that will ensure you maintain a long and productive relationship. Of course, this is a skill that can be practiced, so don’t take it lightly.

Take up certification exams

As we mentioned at the beginning, accounting is a career that requires constant improving, and certification exams will surely help you with that. Besides, they will give you the needed edge over your competition in getting the job offer you want. For example, with a certificate IV in accounting, you will get a better insight into financial analysis, accrual system, payroll processes and small business issues, to name a few. With the current expansion of small businesses, such a certificate can prove to be a very valuable asset.

Obtain a master’s degree

Although you can find employment with only a bachelor’s degree, obtaining a master’s degree can serve the same purpose as accounting certificates, but it can also provide you with the knowledge and professional background you need to improve your salary and job prospects. A master’s degree requires you to pick a specialization, so you will be able to tackle some areas more thoroughly and become more visible on the job market.

Write a great resume

Finally, to be a great accountant, you have to be able to find a job and actually start working. To get there, you will have to write a really good CV that showcases your qualities, skills and experience. Here are some important things to include when writing a resume for an accounting job:

  • First, present your accounting skills (the ones you gained as a student, such as taxation, budgeting and cost accounting);
  • Summarize your job experience (even if you haven’t worked in accounting, but you have gained significant experience that can be translated into accounting, e.g. you worked as a store manager where your organizational skills really stood out);
  • Include technical skills (e.g. Microsoft Office);
  • Note leadership abilities and honors (e.g. president of the student’s debate club);
  • List relevant hobbies (e.g. volunteering).

In a work field such as this one, it is never too early to start expanding your knowledge. If you begin “sharpening” your skills while still at college, you will not only swim with the sharks, you’ll be one.