Tips for students who want to become accountants

As students study the current landscape of careers and jobs after graduation, there are many reasons to be happy. Unemployment claims have fallen to their lowest level in 50 years, as businesses across all industries struggle to attract and retain employees. But the job market will always see ups and downs, so even in this favorable environment, students seek career paths that will provide long-term stability and opportunities for growth and success. One of those avenues is accounting. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to increase by seven percent from 2020 to 2030, reflecting the fact that despite the impact of automation in recent years and the Subsequent change in the role of the accountant (more later), the demand for this profession is still palpable.

This is driven by a simple truth: Everyone needs an accountant. From supply chain disruption to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to tax and compliance changes, organizations need to rely on the expertise of professionals who can master the numbers for the purpose to obtain information and design concrete strategies for success. An accountant can fill a variety of roles and take several career paths. Accountants can be CPAs and work in public accounting as well as CMAs (Certified Management Accountants), which help businesses use accounting information in decision making and provide a better understanding of business numbers. Ultimately, they can be controllers, business owners or entrepreneurs. Accounting skills are generally transferable from one profession to another, as accountancy is the universal language of business.

What are your next steps as a student if you want to become an accountant? Here are my recommendations as someone who works closely with university accounting programs for Becker Professional Education, a leading provider of educational resources in the accounting field.

Take accounting courses. The first thing to do is find out what accounting courses are available at your school. If you are very committed to a career in accounting, you may want to consider majoring in the field. Find out about your college’s specializations in the profession and talk to professors about your academic path. If you have a different specialization or are not sure whether accounting is what you want to do, you can still be an accountant without having an accounting degree. However, you should research the accounting courses that are available to you and take at least one introductory financial or management accounting course. Additionally, students should research the specific educational requirements for the accounting degrees they wish to acquire to ensure they will be eligible. Speak with the professors and do your research to decide which path you want to take in the field.

Invest in after-school accounting. In addition to taking courses or making accounting your specialty, you should look for extracurricular activities related to the profession. Many colleges have accounting clubs where you can get to know other students who are studying in this field. As well as getting advice on courses and career paths, these links can also help you once you’ve graduated and started looking for a job.

Differentiate yourself by taking technology and analytics courses. While basic accounting courses are necessary for a career in the field, you should try to differentiate yourself by taking courses that introduce you to the evolving technology that increasingly defines the profession. In addition, the ever-growing power of “big data” to provide information means that accountants must develop skills related to data analysis. Looking for courses in these areas will be a big boost to your employability after graduation.

Consider obtaining proof of identity. The ultimate differentiator in the field of accounting is having a professional certification, and you don’t have to wait until you finish your studies to get one. The most common title is CPA for those who want to work in public accounting. But the CMA is also an option if you gravitate towards the corporate sector. Additionally, there are various professional development courses in a variety of relevant topics, including emerging technologies, data analysis, and proficiency in Excel. These credentials are an option throughout your accounting career, but getting them sooner is sure to set you apart when you start applying for jobs.

Use your college career resources. This is good advice, whatever profession you want to practice. Using your university’s career resources – such as career centers and recruiting events – is key to securing internships that will allow you to familiarize yourself with your field of work, stand out from potential employers, and, in turn. ultimately, getting a job after you graduate.

Cultivate and maintain a lifelong learning mindset. Due in large part to technology, the role of the accountant is changing – from a traditional role of “accountant” to one in which accountants will need to contribute more to company strategy. This not only requires a change in skills, but also in mindset. Don’t think of accounting as something you “learn” in college and then be ready for life; it is a profession which evolves gradually and rapidly, so it will be necessary to have a mentality of adaptation. Fortunately, you can continually learn and improve your skills throughout your career with ongoing professional development courses and certifications like the ones described above.

Accounting is a promising field that offers opportunities to actively contribute to the success of an organization. By following these tips and taking these steps, students can kickstart their accounting careers and gain valuable long-term skills.

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