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6 Tips For a Successful Start to an Accounting Career

April 25th, 2017
With college graduation right around the corner, the Journal of Accountancy has some advice for accounting majors about to enter the profession.

We'll sum it up in four words: You're not done learning.

"You are going to be learning so much in your first few years, and the more questions you ask, the more you will develop not only your technical knowledge base, but also your people skills," Liz Niemczura told Journal writer Dawn Wotapka. Niemczura a recent grad herself, is an accountant with UHY International.

The Journal article lists six specific tips that will help new accountants achieve success in their profession.
  1. Sharpen your soft skills. There may be no Soft Skills 201 course on your transcript, but the ability to interact comfortably with peers, your firm's leaders and clients is even more important than a perfect 4.0. The higher your emotional quotient, the more quickly you will fit in with your new employer and the more likely you are to be noticed and move ahead.
  2. Make time to study. Don't delay taking the CPA exam, counsels the Journal. Though it's tempting to take a break, especially while you transition into your new job, waiting makes it more difficult to get back into a learning routine. Set aside time to tackle the CPA elements, even if it's only an hour a day.
  3. Use your time wisely. Wasting time is never a good idea; save those cat videos and Facebook posts until you're on your time. At work, especially where clients are billed hourly, make the time count.
  4. Keep learning. This isn't a repeat of #2. What this means is that you should welcome company training opportunities and offers from your colleagues to help you. Don't hesitate to ask questions.
  5. Prepare yourself for busy season. Every accounting firm has a busy season. It could be preparing year-end reports, or tax season; some firms that handle monthly financials experience a busy period every month. Most firms have more than one busy time. Find out when your busy season is and ask what it's like so you can be sure you aren't scheduling anything else during that time.
  6. Take care of yourself. Starting a new job is always stressful. Starting a new job in a new occupation is particularly so. It's important, therefore, that you set aside time for yourself. Don't skip exercising; it's one of the best stress relievers. Fast food may be tempting when you have a tight deadline, but don't yield. Pack a lunch instead. Take breaks. There's no shortage of evidence showing a healthy, rested employee is far more productive than one who's nose is always to the grindstone.
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