14 accounting tips and advice for students

14 Tips and Accounting Advice for Students Just Entering the Field

If you’re a seasoned accountant, what’s one piece of advice you would give someone just entering the field after graduation?

To help new accountants kick-start their careers, Stukent asked CEOs, career coaches, and business leaders for their best tips. From staying up-to-date on current industry trends to joining a company that invests in its employees’ professional development, there are several ways accounting graduates can start their careers on the right foot.

Here are 14 pieces of advice for graduates in the accounting field!

1. Stay Up-to-date on Current Trends and Changes
2. Continue Learning Past Graduation
3. Choose Your Employer Wisely
4. Find Volunteer Work to Boost Your Resume
5. Enroll in a Communications Course
6. Maintain Appropriate Social Media
7. Get Involved in Accounting Organizations
8. Don’t Get Stuck in Public Accounting
9. Network, Network, Network
10. Take Your CPA Exam Early
11. Develop Excellent Analytical Skills
12. Have a Proactive Attitude and Learn Popular Tech
13. Receive Valuable Wisdom by Getting a Mentor
14. Look for a Company that Will Invest in You

1. Stay Up-to-date on Current Trends and Changes

One of the most important things you can do as an accountant is to stay up-to-date on current trends and changes within the industry. As technology has rapidly progressed over the past few years, so too have the tools and techniques that accountants use to perform their jobs. 

To be successful in this field, it is critical that you stay current on emerging trends and best practices so that you can adapt to new technologies and remain competitive in the workplace.

Additionally, it is important to build strong relationships with your colleagues and clients, as this will help you develop a network of support and expertise that can be invaluable as you navigate your career.

Amira Irfan, Founder and CEO, A Self Guru

2. Continue Learning Past Graduation

Don’t stop learning post-graduation. Recent graduates may possess plenty of relevant knowledge, but you should keep learning throughout your career — starting now. Look at job postings to see which accounting software skills are in demand and look into further certifications. 

Do you want to be a CPA, CFA, CIA, CISA, or something else? Having a loose plan for the next five years will help you find the right job and work towards your goal!

Jeffrey Zhou, Cofounder and CEO, Fig Loans

3. Choose Your Employer Wisely

Qualified accountants are in demand in many businesses, and you shouldn’t have any significant problems finding vacancies after graduating. 

Before accepting any position, however, I would advise that fresh graduates should take some time to investigate the company they are interested in joining. 

The businesses that are going to thrive in the coming years are those with strong ethical and moral policies. You don’t want to join a company with a dubious reputation, as that will do your career prospects no good at all. 

Look for one that embraces diversity and is prepared to invest in its people. If you find the right company to work for, you could be with them for a very long time. Make sure that they appreciate you as much as you appreciate the chance you have been given.

Colin Toh, CEO, Headphonesty

4. Find Volunteer Work to Boost Your Resume

After graduation, one might find themselves in less ideal situations — such as the company they applied for taking a long time to respond, or at worst, not accepting you at all.

In such cases, I advise fresh grads to find volunteer work. Some charity institutions may need accountants for their bookkeeping, and you can present yourself. This is an excellent way to boost your resume while also giving back to the community.

You don’t have to quit volunteering once you get accepted at a job. There’s a distinct satisfaction that volunteerism provides, which will help you cope while being on a mentally exhausting regular job.

Debbie Meeuws, Owner and CEO, Nature’s Arc Organic

5. Enroll in a Communications Course

I highly suggest new accountants enroll in a communications course after graduation. As an accountant, your people skills are as important as your ability to crunch the numbers. This is because you’re communicating and selling all the time, whether it’s with clients, employers, or colleagues.

For example, during a job interview, you’ll sell your skill set and knowledge to an employer, showing how you can benefit the company. Or, if you’re working at a firm for a few years and want a raise or promotion, you must sell the value you bring.

By taking a communications course, you’ll be able to communicate your ideas compellingly, which sets you apart from the rest of the workforce. It also allows you to advance your career faster because you’ll ask for promotions and raises more often.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money

6. Maintain Appropriate Social Media

One piece of advice for someone about to enter the accounting field after graduating is to maintain an appropriate social media presence. Be sure that your personal social media accounts like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok do not include content that would dissuade a manager from hiring you. 

Personal social media accounts are not the only social media platforms that need maintenance. It is also important to maintain a professional social media presence on websites like LinkedIn. 

Update your professional social media accounts before applying to new positions to ensure your best chances of landing an interview and getting hired. Try refining your social media presence on both personal and professional sites before completing applications to increase your chance of getting the job.

Bryor Mosley, Career Coach, Southern New Hampshire University

7. Get Involved in Accounting Organizations

One piece of advice I would give to someone just entering the accounting field after graduation is to get involved in as many professional organizations as possible. 

There are many organizations out there that can help you network with other professionals, learn about different areas of accounting, and keep up with changes in the field. 

Getting involved in these organizations will help you stand out when you are looking for a job and will make you a more well-rounded accountant. The more connected you are, the better your chances of success.

Erik Pham, CEO, Health Canal

8. Don’t Get Stuck in Public Accounting

You are not required to begin or advance your career in public accounting. Although having expertise in public accounting is regarded as the gold standard in the accounting industry, I never worked in public accounting and it never hurt me. 

If you do not engage in public accounting, I will advise that you choose a job with a company that has a wide range of business activities so that you can gain as much experience as you can. Amazon or one of the private defense contractors with a broad range of operations, like General Dynamics, are good examples of this. 

Just make sure you are working under a CPA, which you will almost always be doing in order to have the necessary experience to apply for your CPA license (if you do not already have one).

Brandon Perton, Owner, TheOldSchoolGameVault

9. Network, Network, Network

Those entering the accounting field should always focus on improving their communication and networking skills. As an accountant, you must know how to communicate effectively with industry professionals and clients in order to become a reputable, trustworthy accountant.

While the idea of networking with other, more seasoned professionals may seem intimidating, networking will help you gain new clients and meet influential people. This is the key to career advancement.

There are different ways a new accountant can network, starting with joining online communities. There is no shortage of platforms where one can brand themselves. LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack, and Twitter all host professional accountant communities that converse on different topics. 

Always look for new ways to tackle financial challenges and build your client base. Networking through online communities can help a junior accountant do that.

Henry Abenaim, CEO, Fundingo

10. Take Your CPA Exam Early

My advice for fresh graduates who just enter the accounting field is to take the CPA test as early as possible. Most of the graduates wait for three or four years to take the CPA exam, which makes the test difficult for them. Right after graduation, your mind is full of knowledge and there will be maximum chances that you pass the exam.

James Anderson, CEO, Veritas Buyers

11. Develop Excellent Analytical Skills

Accounting is a fundamental and critical component of any business. Formulating and augmenting critical skills for finding remedies to the challenges that prevailed during the work is substantial. 

One piece of career advice I would give to a recently joined graduate while entering the accounting field is to develop analytical skills. As we all know, better analysis and estimation lead to better management and administration. It helps to minimize fallacies and maintain the progression of the workforce. Proper analysis of data ensures better accounting. This enhances your professional skills and experiences. This would stimulate you to deal with complicated data more easily.

Shay Berman, President, YourDigitalResource

12. Have a Proactive Attitude and Learn Popular Tech

Recent graduates entering the accounting field should learn the software in demand by accounting leaders. Excel and Microsoft Visual Basic are two popular pieces of software in high demand. 

Learning such software increases your chance to excel in your career. The chances of getting a better job increase with having knowledge of the said software. You must keep learning to have professional development. Having a proactive attitude toward your career can help you reach new heights.

Sergei Lugovskoy, President, Luxury Pianos Inc

13. Receive Valuable Wisdom by Getting a Mentor

As a CEO, I’ve had a lot of experience dealing with accounting and my one piece of advice for recent graduates entering the accounting field is to get a mentor so you can always have someone to call when you get stumped — because you will get stumped. 

For example, your education is great; it’s very necessary, but it doesn’t give you the answers to everything. The real world always has something up its sleeve that no classroom could have prepared you for, and that only someone who has worked in the field for decades knows how to handle. 

So enlist the help of a mentor. With your new accounting education and a mentor’s wisdom, you will set yourself up for a long and successful career.

Gabriel de la Serna, CEO and Founder, On Post

14. Look for a Company that Will Invest in You

Some companies put a lot of thought into developing people and providing them with opportunities to learn new skills. And such companies prove to be better for students in the accounting field. 

Finding such companies will help you improve your skills and get more data and information. Remember that the more data and information you have in the accounting field, the more successful you will become. So, look for a company that invests in new tools and training programs to polish you for the future.

Bram Jansen, Cofounder, vpnAlert

Staying up to date with the accounting industry can be a daunting task, but Stukent can help! Whether you’re looking to help your employees stay current with accounting trends or to give your students real-world experiences, Stukent’s immersive simulations and engaging courseware can help you prepare yourself or others for success.

To learn more about Stukent’s accounting products for education, visit our website.

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