Before you change your career, you must ask yourself, “Why do I want to make a career move into accounting?” Whether you want to have a more lucrative career, work in a steady job market, work in a different setting, or utilize your mathematical skills, there are many options available to you in the accounting world.
Also, consider your strengths. Accountants aren’t just math-minded. Good accountants also have excellent communication and organizational skills in order to be successful. If this sounds like you, here are the ways you can make a career change into accounting.
Top 4 Ways to Start Your Accounting Career
- Go Back to School. Unless you already have an accounting or finance degree, you will have to go back to school. Almost any accredited college or university will offer an accounting major, so pick one that suits you best. Can’t afford to be a full-time student? You are not alone. There are many programs that offer part-time student classes, and still others who offer online variations. If you are a working professional or have other obligations that keep you from attending a typical four year school, then do not hesitate to research online institutions that will give you what you need in the time you can accommodate.
- Network ASAP. Whether you take classes on campus, a satellite campus, or online, it is essential that you network with your peers. Attend all of the events that you can, and be sure to develop your interpersonal relations. You and your colleagues can assist each other by helping each other study in the classroom and beyond. You never know who will have the job that has an opening, or someone who may want to open a firm with you in the future. Get the best advice from your peers, who are all in the same boat as you. Likewise, networking events may be a good opportunity to talk to visiting accountants who are there to speak with you and share their experience. Networking at these events is a valuable asset, and what is best is that they are included in your tuition.
- Land a Full-Time Job or Internship. Whether it’s a job or an internship, get experience that pays. It may be inconvenient to take on a job that pays you less money than your current job at first, but in the long run, it is more advantageous to gain the experience necessary to get the next job. In addition, many internships will pay you for the hours you put in, and at the end of your term, your boss can write you a fantastic letter of recommendation. If you’re fully committed to a career change in Accounting, apply to the Big 4 Accounting firms internship programs. That experience on your resume will open doors to you for the rest of your life
- Pass the CPA Exam. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended that you pass the CPA exam and become a certified public accountant. Not all successful accountants are CPAs, but you will afford yourself broader job opportunities if you do. Unless you want to pursue the career of a CFO—which does not require even a master’s degree—you may want to become a CPA to give yourself better job prospects. As a CPA, you are empowered to do much more than a typical accountant can do. In addition to the basic bookkeeping and reporting tasks of an accountant, a CPA has the ability to create and manage accounts, oversee budgets, audit accounts for mistakes or fraud, and take on managerial positions. If you want to expand your skillset and capabilities, then you will want to become a CPA. To become a CPA, you will first have to pass the arduous CPA exam. Do not hesitate to try to take the exam perhaps a year out of college.
Give yourself at least several months to study. Most candidates study for hundreds of hours in order to pass all four sections of the exam. What’s more, the exam has about a 50% pass rate, which implies that many people do not pass on their first try, let alone their second or third. Invest in recommended CPA materials, and give yourself the best chance to dominate that exam!
Making a career change doesn’t need to be scary; consider taking on accountancy and take advantage of the numerous benefits of this career.