Accounting is a widely growing industry. Accountants are everywhere in every business, as consultants, tax preparers and more. They are not just people that deal with columns of expenses and income. Controllers, Purchasing Agents, Chief Financial Officers are all high-end professional accountants. Becoming an accountant is not an easy task, but the rewards can be worth the long hours and hard work.
If you are looking to become a professional accountant as a change of careers or wish to go further with your accounting career, then you should carefully consider the following.
- Get your training. There are all different types of professional accountants, from bookkeepers to controllers of multi-national corporations. You must decide what it is you are looking to do. Are you going to start with basic certifications? Will you get into an accounting firm, or with a company in their accounting office? Are you going to go for your degree then go look for the career? There is no right or wrong answer, simply a matter of preference.
Two-year community colleges offer an associate's degree in business that includes accounting. These are often enough to get you into the door as a bookkeeper in most companies. The program can prepare you to take your CPA (Certified Public Accounting) certification. This involves a great deal more knowledge and is a professional certification that ensures the employer that you have certain skill sets that they may be looking for.
Four-year colleges and graduate schools offer accounting degrees. Normally they are not simply accounting degrees. The people that go after the advanced degree, typically specialize. Tax accounting, Corporate Accounting and Banking (international or domestic) are different specialties that a student can go into. These fields demand a much higher skill level than a typical CPA.
- Finance your training. Becoming a professional accountant is an expensive investment. There are ways to limit your costs. Work on getting your basic accounting degree, either two or four year degrees will prepare you for getting your CPA. With a CPA, you can get a good rewarding job started, and work on furthering your education. Most employers will help compensate for tuition if you are working on a major in a related field. This time also gives you a chance to see where you want to go to further your career. Some people discover that they have a talent towards one type of accounting and not another. But they would not know that until they have spent some time in the work force.
- Looking for jobs. Networking is important for any career, but it is especially true for accountants. Accountants can use networking to keep in touch with other professionals that may have job openings, or keep in touch with current trends in demands. Networking should never be undervalued. Keep your resume updated and available online or through an agency. Agencies typically try to get you top dollar for your job, because they are paid a portion of that salary. Keep your skills and your education up to date, and you can find a rewarding career in accounting.