Advice for New Accountants Just Starting Out

Starting your first job is stressful enough. Now add in the challenge of beginning your accounting career remotely, meeting colleagues and maybe your boss virtually, in an economic environment roiled by a pandemic and wild market gyrations.

In the understated words of Wes Bricker, PwC vice chair and assurance leader for the U.S. and Mexico, “an already milestone-level experience becomes inherently more complicated.”

While no accountant – or, for that matter, anyone just beginning their career – has ever faced a world like ours today, Bricker says in an article for Accounting Today that there are opportunities to make a difference.

“As a new accountant, setting yourself up for success amid uncertainty may seem like an uphill battle, but it’s really a pivotal opportunity,” he counsels.

Drawing on his own experiences, Bricker offers four “key guidelines” to help new accountants navigate today’s uncharted waters.

  1. Adopt a people-first mindset – Accounting, says Bricker, is a people-focused profession. “The importance of investing in the people around you and building strong relationships cannot be overlooked,” he writes. “Building strong relationships with all your stakeholders is paramount. Practice mutual respect with everyone at all times.”
  2. Seek out learning opportunities – Continue to learn, especially by being open to the help from senior accountants. “On-the-job counsel from others can teach you things you won’t be able to learn elsewhere.”
  3. Use technology to your advantage – Acknowledging that developing relationships remotely is not easy, Bricker says new accountants must use technology to do virtually what predecessors did in person. He counsels embracing technology to “make once time-consuming tasks faster and easier. Become an advocate for efficiency and lead by example.”
  4. Hold true to your purpose – “Respect the privilege and power of accounting. Honor commitments and deadlines. Have integrity. Be ethical. Tell the truth always. Practice objectivity and professional skepticism. Be a steward of accountability. Remember that trust is foundational to quality financial reporting; it underpins the entire financial ecosystem.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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