5 Pieces of Advice for New Accountants
- Maintain Appropriate Social Media Presence
- Look for Volunteer Opportunities
- Find a Senior Mentor
- Start With a Flexible Job Positions
- Take the CPA Early
Even after years of study and examination, there are still many things accounting graduates should do as they prepare to launch their career. The lifestyle transition from college to working professional brings big changes, but also new challenges and opportunities. For many graduates, passing the uniform certified public accountant (CPA) exam is the next big step in their career path. There are many job options for non-certified professionals, but passing the CPA is essential for those who have ambitious goals or want expand their professional scope.
1. Maintain Appropriate Social Media Presence
Many employers conduct research on job candidates by examining their web presence, particularly on social media channels. Ideally, accounting graduates should start preparing their profiles for professional life before they even finish school. Personal accounts should be set to private and cleaned up to resemble the professional lifestyle that a job seeker would want to exhibit to their potential boss. New accountants should also consider establishing a presence on LinkedIn or other career-oriented social media outlets.
2. Look for Volunteer Opportunities
Working full-time as a fresh accountant can certainly be exhausting and overwhelming at times, but it’s still a good idea to find opportunities to contribute to other causes or organizations. Many non-profits and other charitable institutions are always in need of free or low-cost professional services, especially regarding tax and finance. Volunteering can be a great way to give back to the community while gaining experience and doing some vital networking.
3. Find a Senior Mentor
Most new or entry level accountants have moderate oversight while they are at work, but this isn’t quite the same as a career mentor. Building a relationship with a more experienced professional creates a source of personalized information, wisdom and guidance. It can take a while for networking to yield a viable connection, but finding a senior friend and advisor in the profession is well worth the time investment. Making connections through a university alumni network is also great tip for any graduate, according to Forbes.
4. Start With a Flexible Job Positions
There are plenty of niche career opportunities across the accounting discipline, and many practitioners find specialized roles very rewarding. However, it’s generally a good idea for fresh accountants to find jobs that allow them to use a broad range of skills and knowledge. This gives them a chance to gain experience in a variety of roles so they can find the ones that hold their interest and best fit their skills.
5. Take the CPA Early
Any accountant who intends to take the CPA exam during their career should seriously consider doing it within a year or two of graduation. It can be mentally and physically exhausting to prepare for the exam as a recent entry to the workforce, but it’s also a lot more convenient. Many accountant find it easier to approach the exam with the details of their college study still fresh in their minds. Waiting to take the exam could make it that much more difficult down the road.
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Established accountants are needed in virtually every industry and sector, ranging from government departments to private business. Many professionals eventually offer their services as independent contractors or as part of a larger firm. Following these tips helps accounting graduates create a solid foundation to launch a successful and fulfilling career.