If you’re ready to begin a career in accounting but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you! We’ll break down everything – from different types of positions and skills needed to how to prepare your resume and negotiate salary. Read on to learn how to kickstart your accounting career!
What do accountants do?
Much like all the wild variations of pumpkin spice treats, there are all sorts of accounting jobs out there. The first step to getting one is to know what accountants actually do. In general, they are responsible for maintaining financial records and ensuring that taxes are paid on time. They may also be involved in preparing financial statements, forecasting future revenues and expenses, and providing advice to clients on financial matters.
While this is a broad overview, keep in mind that there is a lot of variation within the field. Depending on specific job duties, accountants may work for individuals, small businesses, or large corporations. They may also specialize in areas like auditing, tax preparation, or management consulting.
Types of accounting jobs
Now let’s take a look at some of the different types of jobs that are out there.
- Bookkeepers are responsible for recording financial transactions and keeping track of Accounts Receivable (money that is owed to the company) and Accounts Payable (money that the company owes to others).
- Auditors examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations.
- Tax preparers help individuals and businesses file their taxes on time.
- Management consultants provide advice to clients on how to improve their operations and bottom line.
- Financial analysts provide insights into investments and other financial decisions.
What skills do accountants possess?
While each type of accounting job requires its own specific set of skills, there are some general skills that all accountants need to be successful.
- Analytical skills to make sense of large amounts of data. They must be able to identify trends, solve problems, and spot errors quickly and efficiently.
- Excellent math skills because accountants constantly work with numbers. This includes being able to calculate equations accurately and quickly as well as knowing how to use spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel.
- Communication skills are essential for accountants as they often have to present complex information in a clear and concise manner both verbally and in writing.
- Good organizational skills are vital for to keep track of a lot of different details at any given time. This includes being able to prioritize tasks, manage deadlines, and maintain accurate financial records.
How to find an entry level job
First, know what you’re looking for. Before you start your job search, you should have a good understanding of what type of accounting position you want. It’s important to do your research and figure out which area(s) interest you most, and to also research the market you’re entering. Follow trends in hiring and know which industries are hot. Once you have a good idea, you can start tailoring your job search.
Second, brush up on your skills. Even if you have taken accounting courses in school, it is always a good idea to reinvigorate those skills before applying for jobs. In today’s competitive job market, employers are looking for candidates with strong technical skills and knowledge. Consider taking casual courses or studying for professional exams such as the CPA or CIA exam. Then, update your LinkedIn page with recent accomplishments and a recent photo.
Third, network! Get connected with people in the accounting field, whether it’s through friends, family, or professional organizations. Attend industry events and meetups and follow relevant companies and influencers on social media. The more people you know in the field, the greater your chances of hearing about job openings that may not be publicly advertised.
Finally, don’t forget about online resources such as job boards and LinkedIn. Many companies post their open positions, so be sure to check sites regularly for new opportunities.
What jobs are in demand?
Ready for some great news? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 136,400 jobs will open up each year for accountants and auditors through 2031. These positions are in high demand, allowing you to find one that really suits you. Below, jobs are listed from entry level to senior level. These salaries are based on national averages and may vary in Kansas City and the surrounding region.
- Auditor – average base salary of $49,289 per year and 7% projected job growth
- Accountant – average base salary of $57,680 per year and 7% projected job growth
- Credit analyst – average base salary of $62,367 per year and 6% projected job growth
- Financial examiner – average base salary of $63,084 per year and 18% projected job growth
- Financial analyst – average base salary of $70,289 per year and 6% projected job growth
- Treasury analyst – average base salary of $74,281 per year and 6% projected job growth
- Treasurer – average base salary of $76,864 per year and 17% projected job growth
- Risk analyst – average base salary of $79,496 per year and 17% projected job growth
- Senior tax accountant – average base salary of $80,821 per year and 7% projected job growth
- Management consultant – average base salary of $81,180 per year and 14% projected job growth
- Accounting manager – average base salary of $81,486 per year
- Financial manager – average base salary of $95,947 per year and 17% projected job growth
- Controller – average base salary of $101,016 per year and 17% projected job growth
How to prepare your resume
Your resume is your first chance to stand out. It’s important to take time to ensure that it is accurate, well-written, and tailored to the specific position you are applying for. Some of the most important skills and experiences to include are:
- References from past employers who can speak to your experience and abilities in an accounting or finance role.
- Relevant coursework, such as classes in accounting, finance, taxation, or auditing.
- Internships or other professional experience working in an accounting or finance role.
- Proficiency in QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel, and other financial software programs.
- The ability to maintain confidentiality with sensitive financial information.
- Excellent attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
Resume do’s and don’ts:
- Arrange your resume in chronological order with your most recent job/internship listed at the top.
- Provide accurate dates of employment with the month and year included.
- Use the same font throughout.
- Include contact information – email, phone number, and mailing address.
- Include GPA (as long as it’s good), your major, and the school you attended.
- Include any volunteer work, leadership, or team collaborations.
- Use too many words. Keep it clear and concise.
- Use blocky formatting. It jumbles up the resume and makes it confusing.
- Use color. Black and white is more professional.
- Make it longer than two pages. The reader will get bored.
You’ve landed an interview! Now what?
It’s time to put your best foot forward and make sure you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Complete these two steps to get the job.
- Prepare for your interview – This means practicing answers to common interview questions, researching the company, and dressing for success on interview day.
- Ace the interview – The interview is where you really have a chance to sell yourself as the best candidate. In addition to being prepared with answers to common questions, be sure to ask thoughtful questions of your own about the company and role. This shows that you are truly interested in the position.
If you’re looking for a stable career with good pay and plenty of room for advancement, then a career in accounting may be the perfect fit for you! With the right mix of hard work and dedication, you can find yourself on the path to a successful career in no time at all. And don’t forget to contact our team of recruiters for any help!