Accounting is among the most popular career options for all the right reasons. As an accountant, you will never have to worry about your job going redundant or your skills becoming expendable. You will also have many employment opportunities, attractive salaries, and the internal satisfaction of knowing just how important you are to every business and organization!
However, your pay will greatly vary based on your seniority level and job functions. Two individuals performing the same duties could earn completely different salaries. So how do you make your way to the top of the corporate ladder and ensure you’re an in-demand and well-paid accountant? What steps do you need to take to earn your dream position?
Here are seven tips for becoming a pro at accounting and boosting your career prospects and salary.
Become a Certified Public Account (CPA)
Although you may consider skipping the hassle of becoming a CPA, the lucrative salary packages, high demand, and flexibility to choose advanced roles according to your preference may change your mind.
A CPA has a license to provide professional accounting and financial management services. They are responsible for audits, preparing tax returns and financial statements, and advising clients on making the right financial decisions.
Getting a CPA certification requires you to put in a little elbow grease. Although you only need a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 150 credit hours of coursework, it is recommended to add a master’s degree. Research shows that professionals with a master’s degree have a higher chance of passing the extremely challenging four-section CPA examination than those without one. It is now easier than ever to get your master’s degree through an online master of accounting program. After passing the exam, you will need two years of professional accounting experience to obtain your license.
Find a good mentor and role model
A mentor is an older individual with several years of experience in their field of work. Throughout their careers, they overcame many problems and conflicts. Thus, they offer valuable insights and can share some of their pearls of wisdom with you.
Finding a mentor will give you an extra edge as you can learn from their experience. Their advice and knowledge can help you avoid making huge mistakes that have the potential to derail your career! Moreover, you can opt to have several mentors. Be sure they all have sufficient experience and good reputations within their organizations. This way, you will always have someone to reach out to when you are stuck in a bad situation.
While choosing a good mentor is important, it is essential to also be a good mentee. Always try and make your mentor feel appreciated. Repay them in whatever way you can. Most of the time, even something as small as a “Thank you” is sufficient.
Work on your networking skills
Networking with a wide variety of people and making new contacts is going to help boost your career growth. They can come in handy when you need advice or guidance regarding a business-related issue. You will need to invest time and effort in socializing with your contacts and strengthening your relationships.
Although there are several advantages to networking, the most significant one is finding jobs with better positions and salary packages. A recent survey of 3000 people revealed the importance of networking to find a job. The revelation wasn’t too surprising as we are all aware of hidden jobs that aren’t even on the market! The only way of getting them is through referrals.
Apart from finding jobs, you will learn several new skills by mingling with the right people. Your communication skills will improve, and you may find fresh new ideas and inspiration.
Keep yourself updated with the latest accounting tech
As an accountant, your education will never end. The field is constantly evolving, and you must evolve with it. This includes keeping yourself up-to-date with technological advancements like using the latest accounting software and tools. You can also familiarize yourself with the different accounting systems (like Microsoft Dynamics and SAP) and their updates.
Moreover, learning the correct usage of business intelligence tools such as Crystal Reports and Cognos will aid you in becoming a pro at your work. Being a tech-savvy accountant will help you analyze data, and predicting patterns for work/clients will become considerably easier.
Expand your area of expertise
Flexibility is an essential skill to develop for growth. Thus, you should keep expanding your areas of expertise and gain experience in the different fields of accounting.
Instead of limiting your skills to just your assigned duties, you can learn about bookkeeping, taxation, compliance reporting, internal auditing, and financial documentation, which are all different areas of accounting. By doing this, you can keep your options open and strengthen your resume.
Nurture your soft skills
Technical competence isn’t always sufficient to keep you ahead of everybody else in the game. You will also need to utilize your soft skills. And what are soft skills exactly? These personal attributes and interpersonal skills help you interact effectively with your team members, employers, and clients. This includes communication, creativity, problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills.
These skills are not limited to accounting and apply to all other careers. Developing your soft skills will require time and commitment, and the best way to nurture them is through constant use in your daily life.
Always be on the lookout for promotions
Your hard work will speak for itself. Your experience and good reputation will open several doors for you. However, it is up to you to recognize your opportunities and utilize them.
Building your reputation will require you to obtain qualities like reliability, effective communication, trustworthiness, and admirable work. You should also focus on being solution-oriented rather than challenge-oriented. Organizations prefer to promote people with bright and positive outlooks rather than complainers and pessimists.
To sum it up, your success in accounting does not solely depend on your technical knowledge. You will constantly have to put in the effort to manage your career and take all the necessary steps for its advancement. Furthermore, you must also focus on enhancing your current skills while learning new ones to boost your career.