How to get a job as an accountant
Are you good with math, computers, and details? Accounting may be for you! Pretty much every sector of the economy has demand for accountants: large corporations, smaller organizations, and individuals all need to manage their money. Accountants help these organizations and individuals track and manage their money and assets over time. Let’s take a look at how you can get a job as an accountant.
What Do Accountants Do?
Not all accountants do the same type of work. The main types of accounting are audit, budget analysis, tax, management and financial accounting. When individuals hire an accountant to help with their personal finances, they usually need a tax accountant with a CPA degree. Businesses may hire a variety of accountants for budget management and financial analysis.
What Are the Job Requirements?
Just like in any other field, top accounting jobs require more education. A four-year degree can help you get a job in entry-level accounting, but sometimes it’s not necessary. Some candidates have been hired with two-year degrees and lots of initiative. But if you want to find a job in business analysis or management accounting, you’ll need a four-year degree in business or accounting, and probably a Master’s, as well.
If you want to work for a public accounting firm, you must also pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. To find out your state’s requirements, visit the American Institute of CPAs website.
What kind of person makes a good accountant?
Accountants need strong mathematical, analytical and problem-solving skills. Accountants also spend considerable time working alone so you should be comfortable in that type of environment.
Interviewing for an Accounting Job
Besides the expected accounting-related questions, interviewers will typically ask you more open-ended questions to ascertain if you’re a good fit for the role. Examples include “Why do you want to be an accountant?” or “What type of accounting role are you interested in?” To prepare for these types of questions, take advantage of mentoring programs and student organizations while pursing your degree. By talking to accounting professionals, you can find out why they chose the field, what an average day on the job is like, and what they like about their work—and then match those findings with your own interests and goals.
You’ll also likely be asked what qualities will make you a good accountant. Think of at least five strengths that will help you to succeed in the field. Prepare examples of how you have applied those strengths and skills—whether it’s through part-time work, internships, academic work or extra-curricular activities.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in accounting, these tips can get you started! And if you’re in the Charlotte area, the career experts at TalentBridge can help you figure out your next step, so reach out today!